After an overhaul of the team, the Buffalo Bills hoped to bring a new, revamped way of life to this season, but failed to do so after losing their week one matchup with the New England Patriots in familiar fashion.
Fans were eager to see if Buffalo would live up to its hype after an offseason that had plenty of changed. What fans got was a team with a new scheme, new coaching staff, new players and same results. The Bills were unable to keep a fourth-quarter lead and allowed the Patriots to steal the win from them in the final seconds of the game. However, it was evident that this is a new Bills team that may not be as far away from winning as most experts project.
The Good News:
- EJ Manuel was impressive in his first regular season game. Sure, his numbers were modest at 18 completions for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. But he showed poise and will likely be able to open the game up more as the season progresses.
- Buffalo's defense looked to be improved from a year ago, despite New England's ability to win the game on their final drive. Tom Brady looked uncomfortable for most of the game and the Bills forced turnovers. Mario Williams was noticeable in the pressure aspect, although he was unable to record a sack. Also, this was a defense without Stephon Gilmore and Jairus Byrd
- Fred Jackson is still Fred Jackson. The offensive captain produced in a game where standout running back CJ Spiller seemed to struggle. Jackson rushed for 67 yards and also had 4 catches for another 41 yards. Jackson's powerful running style proved to be effective against the Patriots, and his production shows that the Bills need him to compliment the flashy Spiller.
The Bad News:
- Penalties were a killer for Buffalo. Buffalo had 10 penalties for 75 yards, including two penalties on defense for too many men on the field. If Buffalo would have been more disciplined, the outcome of the game may have been different.
- CJ Spiller looked lost. He fumbled on the first possession which turned into New England's first touchdown of the game and he looked afraid to hit the holes and elected, to instead, dance around and lose yardage. Spiller had a bad game, but his potential is still sky-high.
- It's still another loss against New England.
- Every other AFC East team started the season with a win. The Miami Dolphins disposed of the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets edged the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not only does Buffalo begin the season with a loss against a division opponent, but they will also occupy the basement of their division by themselves.
The frustrating thing for Buffalo is that they were in a game, and held a lead in a game deep in the fourth quarter when they were expected to be blown out. This Buffalo team is still young, however, and showed plenty of promise. Still, the loss is no easier to swallow.
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