It’s easy to see why the Buffalo Bills are considered vulnerable.
The team is coming off a disconcerting loss to the Aaron Rodgers-less New York Jets that saw its start quarterback Josh Allen have a turnover-filled evening during the Monday Night Football opener. Allen threw three interceptions, lost a fumble, and was sacked five times as the Jets turned off the afterburners late to drop the Bills 22-16 in overtime.
It was a game where everything went wrong at the most inopportune time for Buffalo but the turnover fest has some salivating at the possibilities for the Las Vegas Raiders — the Bills Week 2 opponent inside Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park.
But the Silver & Black are taking the proper approach. They don’t see a wounded animal in the Bills. To hear head coach Josh McDaniels tell it, the Raiders see Buffalo as a well-oiled machine that’s built a quality roster that can content for titles.
“No. I mean, I just look at them as one of the best football teams in the league,” McDaniels said when specifically asked if he’s looking at Buffalo as a wounded animal kind of thing. “I mean, I don’t have any idea about all the other stuff. The National Football League, you just play the game on Sunday or Monday, and you move on to the next game, and you get ready to go and you put your best performance out there, and that’s what we expect them to do, 100 percent.”
And that’s why a rebound game from Allen and the Bills is the top area of concern for McDaniels’ Raiders.
Buffalo’s quarterback may have given the Jets the ball on four separate occasions during the Monday Night debacle (for the Bills), however, Allen completed nearly 71 percent of his passes (29 of 41, 70.7 percent for 236 yards and one touchdown along with three picks). He also carried the ball six times for 36 yards (three first downs) in the defeat.
The 6-foot-5 and 237-pound 27-year-old signal caller can throw the ball all over the field and has evasiveness and fearlessness to move around the pocket and hit receiving targets or take off and lower his shoulder into defenders.
Allen was a big reason why the Bills were ahead 13-6 heading into the fourth quarter of Monday’s game, but he was also a large factor in the Jets’ surge to 10 points which resulted in overtime.
As such, McDaniels is well aware of what Allen presents to the entire Raiders defense.
“He’s not just a challenge for the linebackers. He’s a challenge for everybody. This is one of the premier players in our league,” McDaniel said. “I’ve obviously had an opportunity to compete against him a number of times. He’s an incredible competitor, really tough football player. He’s a football player, he’s not just a quarterback. I mean, he can hurt you with his mind. He can hurt you with his arm. He can hurt me with his legs. He can hurt you with his shoulder — dropping his shoulder and running through people.
“So, there’s so many challenges he presents. You try to contain him, try to limit some of the production that you can, but he’s going to make his fair share of plays, and you’ve got to just try to make it as hard as you can on him to not let that get out of hand.”
Buffalo’s defense did limit New York’s offense to 16 points — the walk off game winner being a punt return in overtime — and only yielded 289 total yards. That breaks down to 140 passing yards but a staggering 172 rushing yards.
Linebacker Matt Milano accounted for the Bills’ interception while fellow linebacker Terrel Bernard paced the team with 11 total tackles. Veteran defensive end Leonard Floyd led the team with 1.5 sacks while defensive tackle Jordan Philips accounted for one quarterback takedown.
Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams is keen on what awaits him and the offense this Sunday.
“I mean, they’ve got a really strong defense. They’ve got pretty much an impact player at every level — if not multiple,” Adams said. “They got a really strong team in general. But they rally, they’ve got guys that are really instinctive, smart players. They’ve got some ball hawk in there too with 27 (Tre’Davious White). So, it’ll be a good test seeing where we are right now, and it’ll be fun for sure.”
Quote of Note
“Really good football player, liked him a lot. I thought a lot of him. They drafted a good football player, and he’s an impactful guy. He’s already playing for them, you can see that right away. So, a very skilled player in the passing game, very tough. He’s a physical route runner, he’s aggressive at the top of his routes, does a good job of getting open and creating some space and separation for himself. So, just another dangerous weapon.” —Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels on Bills rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid.