LOS ANGELES – Marcell Dareus’ 2016 debut with the Buffalo Bills was put on hold Sunday.
Dareus was held out of Buffalo’s game against the Los Angeles Rams because of a hamstring injury suffered in Friday’s practice.
“He was looking fantastic guys,” coach Rex Ryan said. “I mean, absolutely fantastic, and then he’s chasing the quarterback … full speed and he pulled his hamstring. It was like, ‘you’ve gotta be kidding me. We’ve already missed him for four games, now we’re going to miss him against Todd Gurley and company.
“But you know what? We did the right thing. We weren’t putting him out there. We need him. We need him healthy, and we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully he gets back on the field.”
Dareus watched the game from the Bills’ sideline in a tank top and sweat pants. His absence robbed fans of an opportunity to see two of the game’s best defensive tackles on the field in the same game. Los Angeles’ Aaron Donald finished with two tackles, both of which went for a loss, and a half-sack of quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
“You have this Donald kid out there who I’ve said from Day One is the best tackle in football, but our tackle is pretty darn good, too,” Ryan said. “He’s right there with them, and I think he wanted to show everybody, you know, ‘let’s see how good this guy is.’
“It’s unfortunate he never got the opportunity today, but hopefully he’ll be out there this coming up week.”
While the Bills were without one starter up front, the Rams were without three. Defensive ends Robert Quinn and William Hayes, as well as defensive tackle Michael Brockers, all missed the game because of injuries.
Ryan made the four former Southern California Trojans on his roster captains for Sunday’s game: running back Reggie Bush, wide receiver Robert Woods and cornerbacks Kevon Seymour and Nickell Robey-Coleman.
“It was a great experience, being out there with all my Trojans,” Woods said. “We talked about it: We can’t wait to make a play back in the Coliseum.”
Woods nearly opened the scoring for the Bills in the first quarter, but couldn’t keep his feet inbounds on a would-be touchdown catch.
“I gotta see that first play again,” he said. “I may claim one.”
After not playing last week, Bush got one carry, which came from the Wildcat formation, and made a couple tacklers miss for a 3-yard gain. That gave him exactly 9,000 yards from scrimmage for his career.
“It was a very surreal feeling,” he said of playing in the Coliseum again. “Walking out of that tunnel … it was great. I really enjoyed it. This’ll be one that I’ll remember forever, being able to come back here and play football in the stadium where it all began.”
Receiver Justin Hunter made his Bills debut a memorable one by scoring a touchdown on his first and only catch of the game.
Hunter got open in the back-left corner of the end zone and hauled in a 4-yard scoring pass after Taylor scrambled away from trouble to put the Bills up, 7-0, in the first quarter after Dan Carpenter’s extra point.
Hunter became the first member of the Bills to score a touchdown on his first catch with the team since Woods did it in his first career game on Sept. 8, 2013 against New England.
Carpenter, meanwhile, has scored in 53 consecutive games with the Bills – the fifth-longest scoring streak in team history – and with six total points became the sixth player in team history score 400 points with the franchise.
Bills owner Terry Pegula did not attend Sunday's game because he was unable to travel from his South Florida home due to Hurricane Matthew. Pegula's home was not damaged because of the storm, but travel to and from the area has been delayed. His wife, co-owner Kim Pegula, was at the game.
Safety Colt Anderson left the game with an arm injury and did not return. Ryan did not have an update on his condition afterward. Fellow safety Aaron Williams left in the second half with a shoulder injury, but was able to get back into the game. He had his shoulder wrapped in the locker room after the game.
The Bills also sat center Patrick Lewis (knee), left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle), cornerback Corey White (shoulder), running back Jonathan Williams, guard Gabe Ikard and quarterback Cardale Jones.
The Rams' other inactives were running back Benny Cunningham, wide receiver Nelson Spruce, quarterback Sean Mannion and offensive tackle Pace Murphy.