Five Further Observations From Bills' Blowout Loss
Five observations from the Bills’ 47-3 Opening Day loss at Baltimore:
--The wideouts still stink: The Bills’ wide receivers struggled to get separation, which made it even easier for the Ravens to abuse an inferior offensive line. Kelvin Benjamin was dreadful. He had one catch for 10 yards and looked overmatched as a No. 1 receiver.
Zay Jones was invisible, at least when the issue was in doubt, continuing his regression from his rookie season. He had three catches for 26 yards. The wideouts combined for seven catches, 57 yards. Sound familiar? In last year’s road opener, a 9-3 loss at Carolina, the Bills’ wideouts combined for seven catches and 66 yards
--Brian Daboll is no genius: Granted, he has little to work with, like so many offensive coordinators who were supposed to reinvent offense. But his calls were uninspired and conservative. He ran on the first play of the day, then had Nathan Peterman checking down behind the line of scrimmage. There was little attempt to stretch the field early.
This is why they should make Allen the starter. He doesn’t have much to work with, but he’s more athletically gifted, with a big arm and better mobility than Peterman. That’ll give Daboll a better chance to express that inventive genius he acquired in New England and Alabama
--The secondary is overrated: I’ve been saying this for awhile, and they looked that way Sunday. Joe Flacco, who hasn’t justified his $100 million contract in recent seasons, looked like a Hall of Famer, Flacco completed 25 of 34 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns — his first three-TD game since the 2016 season.
The Bills have problems at the second cornerback spot. Vontae Gaines, the big offseason pickup, wasn’t even active. Philip Gaines, a journeyman, was actively exploited as the starter. The entire secondary got shredded. Their reputations were inflated after they got a lot of turnovers last season, but they were nothing special in coverage and top quarterbacks were able to attack them. Granted, a weak pass rush didn’t do them any favors.
--Special teams were awful: This is often the case in a roster thin on talent. The teams had big gaffes in every aspect Sunday. They allowed a 51-yard punt return by Janarian Grant. They failed to recover a muffed punt along the sideline. First-time punter Corey Bojorquez let a snap go through his hands, giving the Ravens the ball deep in Buffalo territory.
Stephen Hauschka missed a 52-yard field goal. It was tough going in the rain, but you worry about early-season misses getting in a kicker’s head.
--LeSean McCoy was a virtual non-factor with seven carries for 22 yards. It was no surprise, since you figured the Ravens would stack and box and dare Peterman to beat them down the field. Again, this was reminiscent of the loss in Carolina early last year, when McCoy had 12 carries for 9 yards.
The Bills ended the first quarter with 2 offensive yards to 130 for the Ravens. They did not have a first down in the first half. That might have been a franchise first, though no one had the time to research the record. I doubt the Bills’ PR staff wanted to find out.