Estimated reading time: 5 minute(s)
My friends ask me why I spend the entire weekend driving to sit in ugly weather and watch a football game. Bills 34, Seahawks 10, that’s why.
1. Complete victory. It was total domination. The defense imposed it’s will on the Seahawks, the offense moved the ball efficiently and made big plays at big times, and the special teams were, well, they were special. I know Bills fans everywhere kept watching the clock and imagining how the Bills could blow this lead, but the reality was that they could have played that game for three more hours and Seattle wasn’t going to get back in it. They were beaten.
2. Start with Lee Evans, the man who wants a new contract and reported for training camp every day anyway. Start with the block on Marshawn’s touchdown. That’s the play that tells what kind of player Lee Evans is. He engaged his man early and stayed with him, pushing and shifting his feet to keep his balance, blocking his man for nearly the last 20 yards of Marshawn’s run. When Marshawn hit the 10-yard line, it was clear it was a touchdown, because even if the defender slipped his block, Marshawn would find a way. It wasn’t necessary. Lee never gave the guy daylight to even TRY to make a play.
Nobody catches the deep ball better than Lee.
100-yard day to start to the season.
3. Marcus Stroud. Oh, my goodness! He’s a factor in every play. That man can MOVE. Pretty impressive how he chased Hasselbeck out of bounds. He beat his man several times and showed nice closing speed going for the sack. He was the disruptive force we all hoped he would be, and then some. Plus, he’s into the experience. He often was asking the crowd for more noise. He was talking to his teammates, one time walking into the defensive backfield to talk with Donte briefly before returning to his spot in the line.
4. If you’ve seen the replay of Roscoe Parrish’s punt return, I don’t have to say more. If you haven’t, go find it. In the postgame interviews, Roscoe agreed with a reporter that it was dangerous cutting back into the middle deep into a return, because the entire coverage team is coming down field to help, and that’s exactly what he did. Still, he cut to the middle and still managed to avoid the last wave of tacklers.
The fake field goal was a wonderful comic moment in a thoroughly enjoyable game. I didn’t see Denney standing out there until the ball was in the air. Delightful.
That play was followed immediately by the fumble and recovery on the kickoff, Lindel’s second big play on special teams, after his saving tackle earlier in the game.
Wendling nearly got the block when we jumped the line of scrimmage on the first Seahawks field goal.
Special teams bottom line: Opponents will spend more time preparing for special teams play against the Bills. The Bills sent a message – if you can imagine it, Bobby April is going to try it.
5. The rookies really weren’t a factor. Hardy got on the field for a few plays here and there but wasn’t a factor. McKelvin was in for a few dime packages.
6. The Bills defense was stifling. Schobel, Kelsay, Williams and Johnson all made plays, and all pressured the quarterback. Mitchell’s sack was simply amazing, and his tackling is gorgeous. Poz was solid. Greer and McGee had good coverage all day, and Youboty – remember that guy we all were excited about when the Bills drafted him three years ago and so many people wanted to cut after last season? – was making a lot of plays.
7. The offense, and Trent Edwards particularly, was putrid to open the game. Totally ineffective. It looked like 2007, or was it 2006? 2005? Anyway, it was bad. It might have been the rain. If I had to guess, it was simply a young quarterback and his offense needing to develop some feel for the game, and over the first 30 minutes, that’s what happened. I wouldn’t be surprised if Van Pelt was in his ear on the sidelines, calming him down and letting him know that our chances would come.
After the slow start, he showed great presence in the pocket and began delivering the ball all over the field with great accuracy. You could see it in the deep out pattern to Reed and the touchdown to Royal In both cases, he had the protection, read the play, waited and gave the receiver a ball he could catch.
8. Kirk Chambers needs a nod. I didn’t watch him a lot, but Kerney did not spend the afternoon in the Bills’ backfield, as many of us had feared.
9. The news of Brady’s injury swept the stadium like news of Achilles at Troy. Everyone knew minutes after it had happened.
Injuries are the only thing that’s wrong with this great game. Injuries are cruel. They can rip the heart out of a team and its fans. But they also can rally a team to something great. Don’t count the Pats out. I wish Brady a complete recovery.
10. Was the Bills game perfect? Far from it. Trent was ugly early, as ugly as I’ve seen him. The running game was barely adequate. The offense wasn’t a scoring machine. The coverage teams coughed up several big returns. Kawika could have been better in pass coverage. Whitner stays with his man but has trouble breaking up the completions.
Still, for a season opener, it’s hard to find much to complain about. This was a complete win against a veteran team, a win where most of the things the Bills hoped they could do they did do. The Seahawks had some injuries; it’s hard to know how much impact that had on the game. But the Bills lost their starting weakside linebacker in mid-week, and they were playing with a makeshift offensive line. They had their own adversities to overcome, and they did.
In the coming weeks, big number 71 will work his way back into the lineup, and the rookies will begin to contribute.
There’s a lot to look forward to.
Final note: The Ball Burglar had himself a fine day, too. In the days before the game, a lot of fans joined the gang. The Burglar’s bounty right now stands someplace around $250 per takeaway, and he’s only just begun. The Burglar rewarded the fans for their support with two big takeaways, the game-changing fumble recovery, and McGee’s acrobatic catch that simply was icing on the cake.
Word is that the Ball Burglar made onto the Fox pregame show, too.
If you haven’t joined, what are you waiting for? A buck a ball is all the Burglar wants from you. Join today. www.Ballburglar.com. Thanks.
I’ll see everyone at McFadden’s in Manhattan on Sunday. Can’t wait.