Share this article

print logo

Vic Carucci's Take Five: Bills got physical from the start

LOS ANGELES -- Here are how my five takes before the Buffalo Bills' 30-19 victory against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday worked out:

1. Get physical right away. Check-plus! The Bills knew they could capitalize on the fact the Rams were missing three starters from their defensive line: Ends Robert Quinn and William Hayes, and tackle Michael Brockers.

Sure, dominant tackle Aaron Donald was still in the lineup, but as great as he is, he couldn't make up for all of the absences.

So the Bills proceeded to pound the ball to the tune of 193 yards on 27 carries, an average of 7.1 yards per rush. Their offensive line opened massive holes for LeSean McCoy, who ran for 150 yards, including a 53-yarder.

The Rams rely on aggressive, fast-flowing to the ball, making them susceptible to get caught upfield and open the door to big gains on the ground. The Bills' offensive game plan was similar to the one they used in their Week 3 victory against the Arizona Cardinals -- who also have a fast-flowing defense -- and the result was even better.

2. Another week, another opponent the defense can dominate. Check. OK, the Rams did have more yards (345) than one would have expected from an offense that had struggled enough to make their 3-1 start a contradiction of sorts.

But most of the production came between the 20s. When it really counted, the Bills' defense buckled down with key stops or, in the case of Nickell Robey-Coleman's decisive pick-six, a game-changing play.

The Rams were in the red zone four times. They only came away with one touchdown and three field goals. That made all the difference on a day when the Bills' offense wasn't making any explosive plays through the air.

3. Take advantage of weak cornerbacks. Not even close.

Tyrod Taylor threw for only 124 yards. He did have a pair of touchdown passes, but they weren't of a the game-breaking variety: a four-yarder to Justin Hunter, on his first reception after the Bills claimed him off waivers, and a six-yarder to Marquise Goodwin.

Frankly, the Bills should have been able to do a better job of moving the ball through the air against a team whose defensive front was gutted and whose corners aren't known for exceptional coverage.

Taylor is going to take the brunt of the heat for that, but with Sammy Watkins on the injured-reserve list, the Bills don't exactly have a whole lot in the way of difference-making receivers.

4. Stay as disciplined as possible. Half-check. The Bills had seven penalties for 60 yards to the Rams' six for 40 yards.

That was one more penalty than the Bills had against the Patriots, and there were a couple of less-than-bright ones taken.

But in the end, the Bills didn't suffer from any real self-destruction.

5. Match the Rams' resilience. Check-plus! The Bills hung in with the Rams, who specialize in playing the type of game that keeps the score close and relies on the opponent to either suffer costly lapses or simply screw up.

The Bills came close to having some hurtful lulls. One of them came when the score was tied at 16-16 late in the third quarter. But Robey-Coleman came through with his 41-yard pick-six to provide the winning points.

Overall, the Bills showed a good deal of mental toughness. They didn't allow their two-game winning streak, or the fact they beat the Patriots in Foxborough, Mass., to take away their focus. They weren't bothered by their cross-country flight or the three-hour time change. They didn't seem the least big fazed by the fact big defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who was supposed to return from his substance-abuse suspension, couldn't play because of a pulled hamstring.

They got down to business and came away with their third straight win. That's resilience.

There are no comments - be the first to comment