The Buffalo Bills had the better game plan, the better motivation and for sure, the better quarterback.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen carved up the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams Thursday night 31-10 in the NFL Kickoff game at SoFi Stadium. He threw ropes. He ran the ball in the second half when the Rams sat back. He stiff-armed poor Nick Scott into next week. Allen finished with 297 yards and three touchdowns passing and ran for 56.
It was an incredible performance.
The good news for the Rams is they don’t see Allen and the Bills again this season unless it’s in the Super Bowl. The bad news is the Bills may have exposed some of the concerns about the Rams, most notably a lack of a running game, Jalen Ramsey suddenly looks lost and the only wide receiver Matthew Stafford looks like he counts on is Cooper Kupp.
Yes, its only one week, one game, but the Bills made a statement. All the hype about them in the off-season looks legit.
Were the Bills Good or the Rams Bad?
The Bills never punted. I think that’s the most incredible stat from the game. I’d look up who the Bills punter is, but you know that’s a bad story.
Football, at every level, is about the quarterback. Having a quarterback who can throw and run changes the math for a defense. They need to dedicate a player to someone like Josh Allen, who can run past the linebackers if a crease develops. This puts so much pressure on all 11 guys on the defense to stay focused on their assignments. If you play zone, good quarterbacks will carve that up.
The Bills pretty much did whatever they wanted on offense. Some of the throws Allen made were ridiculous. He was throwing fastballs out there. There were times the Rams had good coverage, but Allen just zipped it.
Buffalo started with short, quick passes on their opening drive to negate Aaron Donald and then when the Rams’ defensive line got tired, they gashed them running the ball.
Were the Bills that good? Yes.
I think the biggest worry about the Rams was the offense never clicked. 10 points in a first half? As we were worried about tackle Joseph Noteboom didn’t play perfectly against Von Miller. He was solid. I’d grade him a C-plus. We never saw Cam Akers….we never saw Allen Robinson II, Tutu Atwell dropped a catchable ball. The Bills had multiple players making plays, the Rams did not.
It’s the Nature of the Beast
I don’t want to come across as someone who hates football, I love football, and always will, but it’s hard to deny that the game has evolved heavily toward the quarterback. You can’t hit them. You can’t cover wide receivers, so if a quarterback is accurate and tough, like Josh Allen, you just have to hope they make a few mistakes.
It’s just the game’s evolution. I remember when the game was running back-based, and you could get away with a game manager style of quarterback because all he did was hand the ball off 30 times. I’m not pining for those days – those games were dull, run, run, pass, punt – but we should acknowledge what it is. If you don’t have an elite quarterback, you won’t win in today’s NFL.
Where do the Rams go from here?
It’s the first time in Sean McVay’s tenure that the Rams are below .500, which is another amazing stat. Next week the Rams get the Atlanta Falcons and they don’t have Josh Allen, but the Rams will see good quarterbacks as they go along this season.
If I am McVay, I think I have to try to run the ball a bit more than I did against the Bills. Getting turnovers was a great sign. Turnovers are the ultimate variable in a football game. It’s kind of concerning that the Rams won the turnover battle 4-3, but lost the game by 21 points.
Expect the national media to dismiss the Rams right away, that’s what they do and crown the Bills. The Bills look built for the NFL in 2022, stud quarterback, opportunistic defense, good wide receivers (Stefon Diggs was an unsung hero Thursday night).
But it’s a long season. Expect the Rams to contend.
Did You Notice?
The Rams dropped their Super Bowl banner in a brief pre-game ceremony with former tackle Andrew Whitworth yelling something about a Hollywood story coming true. Is it just me or do Super Bowl rings look ridiculous when they’re worn? Like, they’re way too big. It’s also interesting how the two Super Bowl banners have different Ram logos on them. One is from the Rams’ time in St. Louis, but the NFL doesn’t want you to know that.
Odell Beckham Jr. was also in the house for the game. It was noted quickly that he had on a white shirt and yellow pants just like the Rams had out on the field. The Rams could have used him Thursday as another weapon on offense.
Cam Akers, three carries, no yards. That’s not good.
Leonard Floyd is a player on defense for the Rams. Bobby Wagner looked overmatched at times. He wasn’t athletic enough to match what the Bills were doing.