Rex Ryan called Buffalo Bills fans on Sunday “awesome,” so much so that from now on he’ll need to adjust the way he prepares his defenses to deal with the noise.
Bills safety Aaron Williams credited fans for making a direct impact in the 27-14 season-opening victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
“Oh, my god,” cornerback Nickell Robey said. “Shout out to all the fans that sat out there. Y’all did a great job making it loud for them.”
Bills fans are a passionate bunch, and they’re a significant reason why I have so much fun interacting with them on Twitter. Yes, even the hammerheads.
Those who aren’t active on social media might not be aware of Twitter’s charms. It can be educational, poignant and downright absurd. I go there to exchange opinions, learn the latest news updates, share my work and kill time.
Because of my presence there, The Buffalo News’ infinitely wise editors have decided to bring the flavor of my @ByTimGraham feed into the paper. After every Bills game – my bosses swear this is a good idea – I will break down the game in Twitter parlance while not being limited to 140 characters.
So it’s moot whether or not you think this column is a good idea. This is happening.
Followers of my Twitter account have known for months Tyrod Taylor has a big fan in former Bills receiver Lee Evans, who insisted in the spring Taylor had all the tools to be a starting NFL quarterback.
Evans and Taylor played together with the Baltimore Ravens. Evans saw great potential in Taylor, and while we shouldn’t start sculpting any Hall of Fame busts, let’s note how impressive Taylor was in his Bills debut.
Against the first NFL defense to have game-planned to stop him, Taylor completed 14 of his first 16 passes for 195 yards. He delivered a deep-strike, on-the-dot touchdown to Percy Harvin. Taylor also ran six times for 45 yards, not counting victory-formation kneeldowns to end the game. He fumbled once but didn’t commit any turnovers.
“It’s only a matter of time,” Bills running back LeSean McCoy said, “before the NFL knows about him.”
Buffalo safety Aaron Williams’ fondness for ex-teammate Fred Jackson is deep. Williams said after throttling Indianapolis the only missing element was Jackson not being there to enjoy it with him.
Williams got the key code to Jackson’s garage and drove the running back’s “Hulk green” 2013 Chevy Camaro to the stadium to feel closer to Jackson.
Williams also delivered a special tribute after his fourth-quarter interception sealed Buffalo’s victory. After going out of bounds, Williams dashed down the sideline and into the end zone, where he twirled the ball on the turf and did Jackson’s Incredible Hulk touchdown pose.
This sarcastic sentiment gets tweeted when something outlandish happens for the first – and probably last – time. A sample headline: “Man in iron lung wins Iditarod with help from Yeti and Wu-Tang Clan.”
In this case, however, something unusual actually did repeat itself.
With McCoy banging his head against the wall (seven carries for 7 yards at that point), rookie running back Karlos Williams took his first NFL handoff 26 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Williams scored a touchdown on his first rushing attempt at Florida State. Williams went 65 yards as a junior against Nevada after being converted from safety.
Big if true
Before kickoff, retired all-world tight end Tony Gonzalez, now an analyst for CBS Sports, declared the Bills his pick to represent the AFC in this season’s Super Bowl.
Gonzalez is looking savvy after Buffalo dominated the reigning AFC South champ, but let’s not start booking reservations for the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 in Levi’s Stadium. Buffalo needs to get used to consistently avoiding the Toughskins and Gordon Gartrell performances to which we’ve grown accustomed over 15 playoff-less seasons.
Bigger if untrue
Bills fans should hope the chunk plays we saw Sunday are indicative of what’s to come.
Last year’s team didn’t register many long gains. Taylor’s 51-yard heave to Harvin would have been their fourth-longest pass play of 2014 and the longest gain in all but two games all year. Two of the Bills’ runs – Taylor’s 31-yard scramble and Williams’ 26-yard touchdown – would have been their fifth-longest and seventh-longest of 2014.
The Bills had 27 runs of at least 10 yards last season. They had four Sunday. A 12-yard McCoy touchdown run was erased by a holding penalty in the third quarter.
This note is in honor of old pal Donte Whitner, who blocked me about a year ago after he tweeted some incredibly classless things about Wall of Fame linebacker Darryl Talley and his family.
What a loss it has been not to be able to breathe in Donte’s deepest Twitter thoughts.
Anyway, here’s something cool. Bills cornerback Ronald Darby picked off Andrew Luck in the second quarter. Darby was the first rookie to snag an interception in his Bills debut since Whitner in 2006.
Since the President is to blame for everything, let’s go ahead and make the Bills’ first offensive play his fault, too.
Taylor still is waiting to make his first NFL start at quarterback after Obama made Rex Ryan open the season with a trick play. Matt Cassel took the inaugural snap with Taylor playing receiver. Cassel gave the ball to McCoy, and the Colts dropped him for a 6-yard loss.
Even so, Cassel is now 1-0 as Bills starter. And now, technically, Taylor will be the 16th quarterback to start for the Bills since Jim Kelly retired.
When I’ve had about enough of somebody on Twitter, they get muted. This way, they can yell into the cybervoid. I’ll never see what they’re so desperate for me to hear. I don’t block people anymore, but I’ve muted more accounts than Brian Moorman had punting yards.
So what could Bills fans do without hearing anymore?
Wasted timeouts, letting an opponent move the chains 53 percent of the time on third down, dubious run blocking and McCoy getting tackled behind the line of scrimmage, zero passes to Sammy Watkins until the fourth quarter and Matt Cassel trick plays.
We good here?
Hell, yeah. The Bills are 1-0 with a bang. Ryan’s debut was nearly perfect. He said the only way he could fantasize a better opener was with a shutout.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman was impeccable. Ryan’s defense was entertaining and aggressive, with five quarterback hits and 12 pass breakups. Danny Crossman’s special teams added a takeaway. Beleaguered kicker Dan Carpenter made two field goals in wet and blustery conditions.
Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and the New England Patriots are next, but Bills fans must be as excited as they’ve been in a long time about this matchup.