It looked like Kelvin Benjamin was going to have himself a day.
The Buffalo Bills’ new receiver caught a 9-yard pass on the second play from scrimmage Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. Twice more on the opening drive, Benjamin was targeted by quarterback Tyrod Taylor, although those passes fell incomplete.
Things changed dramatically from that point, though, for both Benjamin and the Bills in what turned into an ugly 47-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints at New Era Field.
Benjamin wasn’t targeted again until Nathan Peterman replaced Taylor late in the fourth quarter.
“I think we came out there on that first drive, they was kind of more man” coverages, Benjamin said. “They switched up the coverages … rolling more to my side, I guess. I think we tried to come out fast and we did. It just kind of slowed down for us.”
So what the heck happened?
"We couldn't get into a rhythm after that," coach Sean McDermott said.
"The defense started rolling toward him," Taylor said. "Just a lack of execution across the board. Passing game, running game. That starts with me."
Benjamin finished the game with three catches for 42 yards, which led the team.
“I felt good. I felt very comfortable with the playbook,” he said. “Just trying to play fast, man. Unfortunately it didn't go our way. We'll get the film, find out the mistakes, fix them and move on.”
With the Bills trailing by as much as they were, the team was forced to go into its hurry-up offense. When it did, Benjamin was still on the field, which is a good sign, because those plays are relayed by signals.
“For my first game, I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty happy as far as … learning the playbook,” he said. “I’m here to play football and help the team win. I'm not trying to take all the targets. I'm not trying to do that. We have other receivers that can make plays, too. It just wasn’t going our way today.”
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The Saints became the first team since the Chicago Bears in 1941 to have six rushing touchdowns and no punts in a game.
That prompted New Orleans punter Thomas Morstead to have some fun on Twitter, as he wrote “Huge TEAM win! Went ahead and added myself to today’s INACTIVE list …”
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The Bills were again without starting cornerback E.J. Gaines because of a hamstring injury. Listed as questionable leading up to the game, Gaines missed his third straight game and fourth this season. Shareece Wright once again got the start in his place. Wright was briefly hurt in the second half, which led to Lafayette Pitts seeing his first snap on defense as a member of the Bills.
Wide receiver Zay Jones (ankle), left tackle Cordy Glenn (ankle/foot), running back Travaris Cadet, offensive tackle Conor McDermott, guard John Miller and tight end Khari Lee joined Gaines as the Bills’ inactives. Rookie Dion Dawkins started in Glenn's place for the fourth time this season.
Tight end Charles Clay, who missed the team's last three games with a knee injury, was back in the lineup. He finished with two catches for 13 yards on three targets. A 25-yard completion to Clay in the third quarter was wiped out by offsetting penalties, including a holding call against Bills receiver Deonte Thompson.
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Bills owner Terry Pegula surprised Master Sgt. James Kozma of the U.S. Marines with a service dog – a pit bull named Rebel – during a break in play before the start of the second quarter. Kozma, who retired in 2014, has been on the waiting list for a dog for two years.
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The game was delayed briefly in the fourth quarter as fans and players watched an unusual scene unfold.
A male fan wearing nothing but a smile bolted from the scoreboard end of the stadium all the way to the other end zone near the tunnel. After a short, uh, touchdown dance, he tried to evade security personnel, but was quickly surrounded and tackled. One of the security guards removed his jacket and wrapped it around the streaker’s waist, thus ending his impression of Will Ferrell in "Old School."