Share this article

print logo

3 up, 3 down after Bills' season-opening win

The Buffalo Bills' season-opening victory over the Indianapolis Colts has the national media talking.

In his popular Monday Morning Quarterback column, Peter King writes "this was a revelation game for Buffalo. In a game between Tyrod Taylor and Andrew Luck, who do you think would have the 63.6 passer rating and who the 123.8 rating?"

John Breech of gives the Bills an "A" for their opener, writing that "Rex Ryan's debut in Buffalo couldn't have gone any better for the Bills."

Here is a look at three players (or units) who are up and three who are down after Week One.

3 up

1. Tyrod Taylor. The Bills' new starting quarterback gave his team exactly what it needed. Efficiency, in the form of a 14-for-19 performance for 195 yards, a whopping average of 10.3 yards per attempt. A big play, in the form of a perfect 51-yard touchdown throw to Percy Harvin. The threat of his running ability, in the form of 41 rushing yards. Mistake-free football, in the form of no turnovers and no sacks taken. It's unrealistic to expect Taylor to give the Bills this type of performance week in and week out, but if he can come close, this has the makings of a very good football team.

2. Special teams. The Bills finished No. 2 overall in the Dallas Morning News' special-teams rankings last season, and Sunday picked right back up where they left off. Maligned kicker Dan Carpenter was perfect, making two field goals of 40-plus yards and his three extra points. Colton Schmidt averaged 50.4 yards on his five punts, and a sterling 46.2 net yards. He dropped two punts inside the Colts' 20-yard line and the Bills gave up just 1 yard of punt returns. Linebacker Randell Johnson recovered a muffed punt by Colts rookie receiver Phillip Dorsett that set up a Carpenter field goal that re-established a three-possession lead in the fourth quarter. The Colts' average drive start on 10 possessions was their own 19-yard line, while the Bills' averaged drive start was their own 35-yard line.

3. Ronald Darby. The Bills' rookie cornerback knew he was going to be targeted by Andrew Luck, and he proved up to the challenge. Although he fought cramps that took him out of the lineup at times, Darby finished with two passes defensed and his first career interception. His performance Sunday, which came after a tough preseason, should be a confidence-booster moving forward.

3 down

1. Duke Williams. This has less to do with anything wrong he did on the field and is more about his spot on the depth chart. Starting safety Corey Graham got hurt on the game's first play from scrimmage and couldn't return. He was replaced in the lineup by Bacarri Rambo. Entering training camp, Williams was expected to compete with Graham for the starting job, but as Sunday showed, he's fallen to third string.

2. Sammy Watkins. Admittedly, finding negatives on offense after scoring 27 points is nit-picking. But Watkins finishing the game with no catches, and being targeted just twice, does raise an eyebrow. Simply put, the Bills traded for him to be one of the elite receivers in the NFL. The fact he was completely shut out is puzzling. After a convincing victory over an expected Super Bowl contender, Watkins' performance isn't something to get worked up over. But if the offense stalls and he's still playing such a minor role, it will be a major concern.

3. Bryce Brown. Obviously, as an inactive this has nothing to do with performance Sunday, but is again a reflection of the depth chart. The Bills' rotation at running back with starter LeSean McCoy, No. 2 Karlos Williams and short-yardage/goal-line back Boobie Dixon makes it look like Brown won't be dressed for games any time soon, barring injury.

Injury updates: Bills coach Rex Ryan said after the game Graham was in the NFL's concussion protocol. That was the only announced injury. Ryan is scheduled to meet with the media at 1 p.m. Monday to update his condition and any other injuries that may have cropped up.

There are no comments - be the first to comment