I was a bit too hard on the team during the preseason. Whether it was their gameplan coming in, the lack of talent on Kansas City or a combination of the two, I'd like to admit that maybe I didn't give this team enough credit.
The Buffalo Bills played one hell of a game on Sunday. They set the tone on the very first play, and never once looked back. For that, they deserve a lot of credit and praise, just like they would deserve to get ripped if the shoe were on the other foot.
With that said, let's start things up after an impressive 41-7 win over the Chiefs.
- The story of the day in my eyes was the commitment by the Bills offense to highlight tight end Scott Chandler. He caught all five passes thrown his way, two of which for touchdowns. The last time a tight end caught two touchdown passes was back in the Robert Royal era. And as Mike Schopp aptly put it on Twitter, the Bills have a combined two touchdowns from 2009 through 2010 from their tight ends. Hopefully they keep the new trend going.
- Fred Jackson ran with the purpose of making a statement to the Bills that said, 'You better think twice before you replace me.' Jackson ran for 112 yards on 20 carries, often times breaking many tackles before finally being brought down. Compare that to the ho-hum day by CJ Spiller, and you realize Captain Jackson isn't going anywhere, anytime soon.
- A big compliment needs to go out to the offensive line. After playing musical chairs on the left side of the line, I figured this line to be doomed. Except for one sack allowed, when Tamba Hali beat Erik Pears one-on-one, the line held up extraordinarily well. They gave Ryan Fitzpatrick plenty enough time to hit his throws, and that's all you can ask out of that unit. A job well done.
- Right at the start of the game, you could see the curse of last season seems to have lifted off of this year's group. A forced fumble on the opening kickoff bounced right in the arms of a Bills player, giving Buffalo momentum and a shortened field. That's a great omen for the rest of the season. Last year, bounces never went the Bills' way.
- I really, really liked the play of Jairus Byrd in the game. He showed great recognition as the free safety, and got up the field quickly to stop runs and quick passes before they even got started. He was tied for second on the team in tackles on the day. He's learning how to become an overall better football player. Week One was a great step.
- Shockingly, Terrence McGee and Shawne Merriman had to leave action with injury in different parts of the first quarter. Merriman returned to action, but was a non-factor. McGee wasn't as lucky, declared out with a hamstring injury. They're going to need Merriman to be more effective as the season wears on.
- I think I may need to establish a new nickname for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Maybe "Sour Patch Kid?" He frustrates you so much with a slew of very bad throws all in a row, then comes out and completes a pass that's as pretty as an Aaron Rodgers throw. With that said, his third four-touchdown day as a member of the Bills was impressive at times. He found Stevie Johnson, David Nelson and Chandler all an equal amount of times, and was able to keep the defense from keying on any one man.
- One man who looked to be in line for a big season this year was wideout Roscoe Parrish. His first game out didn't go as well as planned. Two targets, zero catches.
- C.J. Spiller didn't do that much better. Besides a touchdown run when the Chiefs were already down and out, he would have only had four carries for seven yards. Regardless, Spiller got his first rushing touchdown of his career. For that, I say congratulations.
- Many asked why the Bills would show that Brad Smith deep pass near the end of the game. My question is, why not? All they showed with Smith before that was a draw play up the middle or a stretch to the side. Put a different wrinkle in the minds of the Raiders so that way they don't creep up to the line of scrimmage. That interception didn't matter, anyway.
- Aaron Williams showed a pair of rookie mistakes on the same drive. A couple of times he went for the big play rather than the smart play and it burned him. CBS showed defensive backs coach George Catavalos calmly going over things with Williams, pointing out where he should have been. I like that a heck of a lot more than just screaming at him the whole time. That's not the tact, at least not yet. He's going to get a ton of playing time with McGee going down, so he'll be learning on the job. But I'm completely okay with that. Once he gets it, and I think he will, he's got an opportunity to be a special football player. Like all cornerbacks, they need time to adapt to the professional game.
- Quick hits: Bryan Scott was an X-factor off the bench on Sunday. Nick Barnett showed if you come over the middle, expect to get a pop even if the ball isn't completed. Oh yeah, and Marcell Dareus showed he most definitely belongs in the NFL.
Bills' MVP: TE Scott Chandler - 5 catches, 63 yards, 2 TDs - All this time I thought there was an in-house edict against utilizing the tight end. Bills' LVP: HB CJ Spiller - 5 rushes, 16 yards, 1 TD - Despite the late touchdown, Spiller didn't show anything to instill confidence in him as a running back.
Up Next: Sunday, September 18 vs. Oakland -- 1 PM EST Final Thoughts: It was a heck of a way to come out and make that kind of statement against a playoff team from a year ago. In doing so, the Bills declared they wouldn't be the walking punch line like they were last year. They may not be a playoff team, but I'll eat crow, they're way better than I gave them credit for.