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Sometimes you just need to take a step back, clear the mechanism, and watch your team with a fresh perspective. As I think about the last few years, the waiting for the bad thing to happen syndrome made it really difficult to enjoy the success of the players and the team because I was always waiting for the next shoe to drop. As this game approached, I thought more about what losing on the national stage and waiting ten days for Week 2 would feel like. The anxiety was palpable. However, as the game started and I debated taking notes to potentially write these thoughts, I put my phone away and just watched the game with as fresh a perspective as possible. I tried not to worry when the score was tied at the half, and I did my best to drown out CC on the air. The result was nothing short of amazing.
1 - McD
I've never started one of these talking about McD, and I really struggled with where I wanted to start these. But at the end of the day, I've always said the coach owns the players' focus and drive on the field. To say that this team showed up ready would be an understatement. McClappy looked as focused and riled up as I've ever seen him, and this team showed it on the field. In a game where we just put our best 11 guys out there against their best 11, we imposed our will in every facet of the game. I don't even know how to describe the transformation fully I saw during this game, but this is not the same team we saw in the playoffs last year. Previous teams would possibly fold after allowing a team like the Rams to stay in the game up until halftime. Not these Bills. These Bills came out of the tunnel angry and laid the wood even harder in the second half. This team is overpowering and can beat anyone in this league. I am truly in awe of the physicality and sheer dominance from this game. McD started his campaign for coach of the year on a high note, and I have nothing but faith he is going to address the slippery hands for some of our guys.
2 - Jordan
It would be very easy to put Allen number two here, but Jordan Phillips deserves this spot based on results versus expectations. His best play won't even show up on the stat sheet, as Stafford barely got the ball away. But I tell you this, no amount of bleach is going to clean those pants because Phillips took him out at full speed before the release. Phillips was an absolute terror up the middle and played at the speed of a guy 100 pounds lighter. If I'm an opposing quarterback with a less than competent offensive line, I might call out sick before playing the Bills.
© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
3 - Allen
We have the best quarterback in the league. This is no longer an opinion. We have the absolute best quarterback in the league. Let that sink in for a second. Not only did he start 10 for 10. Not only did he have a perfect QB rating in the second half. But the guy is out there laughing after he gets his. Literally, Josh looks like a kid at Christmas after he ripped the soul from opposing defenders like a total psychopath. Now, I'm not a fan of the hits he took in the fourth quarter, and Ken needs to tell him to calm down a bit there, but Allen was everything you want to see in a quarterback. Of everything I loved from this game, being able just to watch the beauty in how Allen handled this game was almost euphoric. His first int. was all on the muscle hamster, and the second was on Josh a good bit. But honestly, when those are pretty much your only incomplete passes, you can flick the ball 50 yards downfield while running full speed, and you can stiff-arm a safety into China; what do you have to complain about? Opposing defenses better pray Allen gets sick or hurt because he is coming for all of them.
Smiles from a stranger, seem to change your day when
You were just about to go and throw your towel in
Lately I've been thinking about making changes
It's been on my mind for some time and I'm anxious
5 - Dorsey
Without any real trickery or gadget plays, this might have been one of the most beautifully called games I can remember seeing. Not only did we not punt, but I have zero doubt that we would have scored on every single possession if not for the turnovers. Even on the field goal, Josh had multiple options for the first down. The Gabe Davis touchdown was perfectly drawn up and executed. The run/pass ratio was solid. The rotation of players was healthy while still keeping Diggs and Davis on the field. Everyone got a chance to contribute. In a game where it was Ken's first chance to call the plays, this guy gets an A+, and I look forward to seeing him evolve over the season. I'm also very curious to see how he handles the runningback rotations going forward. Motor seemed like the hot hand, but Moss got a good portion of carries. With Cook's fumbles, I feel like we may be waiting a bit to see him unleashed.
© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
6 - Von
Before we signed Von, I got caught talking about him to a friend about how I thought he was too old to really be a force and probably didn't deserve a ton of money. An hour later, the Bills signed him. Since then, I've hoped for the best but realistically expected an average season of maybe seven sacks because how much difference can one guy make? Apparently, a lot. I was super wrong. Holy ***** was this defensive line transformed. Seven sacks and zero blitzes. Von pulled in two sacks where he showed both speed and power. Not only that but whatever he's teaching AJ and Boogie, keep it going. Everyone showed up for this game, and I have to believe this is due to the leadership and support of Von. If Von and company can even repeat half of this performance for the rest of the season, a lot of records are going to be in jeopardy.
7 - Special Teams
Big shout out to Martin for handling some errand snaps and Bass for connecting on each of his kicks. The kick-off out of bounds was inexcusable, but nothing I would worry about going forward. Did anyone else think the camera angles were strange for the field goals and extra points? They were just off-center enough to throw off my perspective of their accuracy. We had fantastic coverage on both kick teams and another no-punt game.
8 - Secondary
When you run a zone defense against a guy like Kupp who makes his living finding space, you know you're going to give up some yardage. Kupp's was a beautiful touch throw and toe tap, where Poyer left a little too much space. Beyond that, our secondary was lights out in this game. I was incredibly worried about Robinson eating us up in this game, and you barely heard his name. I wasn't completely shocked to see Elam play back-up, but I think that's a huge testament to best man plays and the depth Beane has created. For a Rams team that went one-dimensional in the second half and still didn't score a touchdown, it's hard not to be incredibly excited for this season against the pass. Besides the Dolphins, we don't really face many receiving threat teams before Tre comes back. I would argue that with our new pass rush and the depth of our secondary, we could easily be the best pass-defending team in the league.
© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
9 - The Duo
I'm going to have to think of a better name for Davis and Diggs, but my dear lord, were they on point. Time will tell if this will be the new norm, but we clearly have a 1st and 2nd WR with a supporting cast to surround them. Under Daboll, it seemed like Diggs was the only constant, and different receivers would step up from week to week. In this game, Diggs and Davis were the guys, and they rewarded Ken and Josh for it. These guys were basically uncoverable in showing straight-line speed, possession catches, and great route running. If I'm an opposing defense, I don't know who you put your best corner on, but ask Ramsey how that went for him. I think I saw a stat that Ramsey gave up a perfect QB rating to anyone he covered last night, and Josh made some comments to him after the Diggs touchdown. You know that felt good.
10 - Knox
I know he didn't show up on the stat sheet much, but he and Gilly both did a great job with chip blocks and other supporting roles. He didn't go out often, but with how everyone else played, he didn't need to. I almost like the fact that he didn't get a lot of exposure, so other teams have something else to plan for. But with everything going on in his life, earning the contract extension, I'm just glad to see him on the field and part of the win.
Have a great ten days off, everyone! I will be at the Titans game, so not sure if there will be thoughts next week or not. Either way, it's going to be a great season.