After a tumultuous week at One Bills Drive, the Buffalo Bills finally made their fans want to shout -- and in the good way.
I couldn't care less how the second half looked. The most important part of the evening is how the first team looked, and ****SPOILER ALERT!!!**** -- they looked great.
Not average, not good. Great. Let's get to the game that was:
- A big point of emphasis was put on the offensive line throughout the week, and they actually looked competent. It is fair to note that three of Jacksonville's top pass rushers were not in the lineup as noted by Jaguars beat reporters (Aaron Kampman, Tyson Alualu and Jeremy Mincey), but watching Levitre and Bell hold their ground and give Ryan Fitzpatrick time enough to throw inflates the optimism balloon just a bit more. Kudos to Bell playing like his job was on the line. Now, to try and get him to think his job is on the line each and every week.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick looked incredible tonight. Just when you think you've seen everything from this guy, he always has that one game to remind you how good he can look once every few Sundays. In the team's first two drives, the Bills had 10 first downs. Orchestrating the first team offense to 17 points is great. Getting the football to everyone on the field is even better.
- Speaking of Fitzpatrick, the phrase 'Fear the Beard' now has a new connotation. The normally grizzly looking quarterback went with a completely shaved face and had his best showing of the preseason. Maybe 'Fear the Beard' now means Bills fans should be worried if Fitzpatrick has facial hair? Who knows... but tonight, he was the Baby Faced Killer.
- Time to toss in a negative -- they'll be short and sweet tonight. Despite a bogus pass interefence call on him down the sideline, Drayton Florence struggled bringing down the ball carrier especially at the end of the first half. He's good enough to start, but bad enough to make you realize you can do better at cornerback.
- How about the emergence of Marcus Easley this evening? Seven targets, five catches, 51 yards and a touchdown to help the Bills break the preseason anti-TD campaign by the first-team offense. He dropped his first pass, but he didn't let it affect him. Easley came back on the very next drive and roped in four passes, including the touchdown reception. I think the Bills want Easley to take the number two wide receiver spot, they're just waiting until he's ready. His performance Saturday mixed with the injury to Donald Jones may just mean Easley's chance to start is coming earlier than expected.
- Spencer Johnson continued his fantastic play over training camp, practices and the preseason. He may be a highly paid backup player, but he's worth every penny. At least I think so. What happens on cut down day may suggest otherwise. Hopefully we don't get to that point.
- Fred Jackson looked like a runner possessed on Saturday evening. He was running like he was mad at the world, cutting runs up field and taking defenders head on. It was a great night for Jackson. 33 yards total for the Bills top runner.
- Brad Smith sure is slippery as a runner with the football. He's able to escape contact and get down the field with a smooth running style. I liked the reverse call to Smith in the first half, but why show their hand with that? However, he's not good at throwing the football farther than 10 yards. But you take what you can get.
- On Jacksonville's first touchdown, David Garrard turned in a ridiculous run to give the Jaguars their first first-team offensive touchdown of the preseason. A lot of folks on Twitter said the Jaguars got away with multiple holding calls. My take? Who cares. Dwan Edwards had him stopped in the backfield and even got a shot at him. The play should have been dead right there had Edwards tackled him. He needs to make that play.
- CJ Spiller is improving on pass protection. He correctly diagnosed a blitz this week, anchored in and stood up his man as best he could. He gave Fitzpatrick just enough time to get the football out. It's a work in progress, but progress showed tonight.
- It feels really good that Kyle Williams is signed here for the long, long-term. Watching him close in on Garrard for a sack after coverage gave Jacksonville nothing is just a reminder of what to expect from him on a weekly basis. He's their best player, it's about time he was paid like it. Good for him.
- The new field, new end zones and new home jerseys look spectacular. Full marks on that front for finally getting the aesthetic features right.
- How fitting was it that on Paul Posluszny's very first play against the Bills as a member of the Jaguars, his former team went right at him with a pass to Scott Chandler? Of course, Chandler caught the ball, with Posluszny trailing two yards behind. But hey, at least he got the tackle. Yeah. I'm glad he's gone.
- I wanted 17 points, I got 17 points. Thanks, Bills.
Bills' MVP: Ryan 'Baby Faced Killer' Fitzpatrick - 11-for-12, 165 yards, 2 touchdowns sans beard. Bills' LVP: Drayton Florence - Not too much to complain about tonight, but have to wrap up tackles.
Up Next: Thursday, September 1 vs. Detroit at Ralph Wilson Stadium at 6:30 pm. Final Thoughts: I held them responsible for the first two games despite it only being preseason, so I won't say this is a fluke. They have the ability to have a good game every once in a while. At least hope isn't all completely gone. Thanks for that, Bills.