The Buffalo Bills were due for a breakout game on offense and they found the perfect opponent to help their cause.
The Bills' 33-point explosion Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals was the result of outstanding blocking by the offensive line, some strong running by rookie running back Marshawn Lynch and an aggressive passing attack spearheaded by quarterback J.P. Losman. The Bills also got an assist from a feeble Bengals defense, which played undisciplined, missed tackles and couldn't cover receivers in space.
But give credit where it's due. Other than one special-teams mistake, the Bills overall executed a good game plan. Here's a sampling of the big plays:
>Lynch's greatest hits
Run for 10 yards in first quarter on second-and-9 from Bengals' 17-yard line: Lynch is lone man in backfield as Bills have three receivers (Lee Evans wide left, Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish on right side) with TE Robert Royal on right side of line. On snap, Bengals' defensive line slants toward right side of Bills' formation and linebackers overcommit to that side as well. Lynch starts right and then cuts back left, where LT Jason Peters has sealed off backside. Another block by Evans gives Lynch a few extra yards before he's brought down.
Run for 12 yards in second quarter on second-and-3 from Bills' 32: TE Michael Gaines is on right side with Royal lined up beside him, but off line of scrimmage. Reed, who is wide right, motions left and stops next to Royal just as ball is snapped. Gaines, Royal and Reed collapse left side of Bengals' line. CB Deltha O'Neal and MLB Anthony Schlegel are in position to make tackle at line of scrimmage, but Lynch cuts inside of them and runs through Schlegel's weak arm tackle. OLB Dhani Jones tries to corral Lynch, but Royal stays engaged and drives Jones to turf and Lynch stumbles forward for 6 extra yards before going down.
Run for 10 yards in third quarter on first-and-10 from Bengals' 41: Bills have Gaines in right slot and TE Derek Schouman in slot on left side. Evans is wide right and Reed is wide left. Peters kicks out DE Justin Smith and Schouman drives Jones backward. C Melvin Fowler seals off Domata Peko and LG Derrick Dockery shields Schlegel. Lynch hits hole and runs through FS Madieu Williams' tackle attempt before Smith drags him down.
Run for 56-yard touchdown in fourth quarter on first-and-10: Gaines and TE Ryan Neufeld are on right side. Reed motions from right and lines up next to Neufeld. RT Langston Walker, Gaines, Neufeld and Reed block down, collapsing Bengals' line. OLB Rashad Jeanty gets by Peters on backside and has Lynch wrapped up in backfield. O'Neal and Smith also converge and are in position to assist on tackle. But all three defenders whiff as Lynch spins away, gets around corner and sprints toward end zone.
>Losman attacks downfield
Pass to Evans for 38 yards in first quarter on second-and-10 from Bills' 25: Buffalo is in a single-back, three-receiver formation. Evans is wide left. Reed is wide right with Parrish beside him in slot position. Bengals rush four but three other defenders come toward line of scrimmage. Single covered by CB Johnathan Joseph, Evans releases inside and outruns him down sideline. S Madieu Williams is late getting over.
Pass to Royal for 27 yards in first quarter on third-and-1 from Bills' 34: Buffalo is in power formation with three tight ends and one wide receiver. Royal is lined up on right side. Gaines is on left side with Reed off his hip. Schouman motions left to right. Bengals have seven men on line with three more just 4 yards off ball. Schouman runs into right flat and draws two defenders, but Bengals SS Dexter Jackson ignores Royal and runs toward line of scrimmage. CB Leon Hall is in deep coverage, but is late coming over to cover Royal. Losman fires throw to a wide-open Royal, who settles in a hole between Hall and Jackson.
Pass to Evans for 30 yards in second quarter on third-and-10 from Bills' 44: Losman lines up in shotgun with RB Anthony Thomas in backfield. On left side, Evans is outside of slot WR Justin Jenkins. Reed is wide right. Evans charges upfield and quickly eats up cushion given to him by Joseph. Joseph apparently thinks he has safety help. Jenkins' deep route clears out remaining coverage and Evans runs into vacated area.
Pass to Evans for 23 yards in second quarter on third-and-4 from Bengals' 44: Thomas and Royal are in backfield with Losman, who is in shotgun. Jenkins is on line to right on same side but 3 yards behind Jenkins. Evans is lone receiver on right side. Joseph runs stride for stride with Evans, but Evans outfights Joseph for jump ball.
>Special teams suffer a letdown
Glenn Holt's 100-yard kickoff return: Kiwaukee Thomas, John Wendling, Anthony Hargrove, Mario Haggan and Coy Wire are on right side Bills' coverage unit. As Holt heads upfield, Hargrove is taken down immediately. Thomas, who has outside lane, cuts in front of Wendling but gets picked off by FB Jeremi Johnson. Wendling comes around Thomas, but can't get a hand on Holt as he runs by. Wire and Bryan Scott are sealed off to inside while Haggan tries to fight off a double team outside. Holt reads blocks, cuts outside through huge hole. K Rian Lindell is out of position at 25-yard line to tackle Holt, who outruns Jerametrius Butler to end zone.
It was another outstanding day for the Bills' defense, which downed the run and fenced in a potent Bengals passing game. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell continues to draw up unique schemes to keep opponents off balance. His "sugar rushes" with defensive linemen in stand-up positions have been most effective.
The Bills should continue roll Sunday as they visit the hapless Miami Dolphins.