This week, the Bills came out and did what they needed to do to the Jets; punch them in the mouth. Things were not perfect for the Bills early on. But things don't need to be perfect for them to get going. C.J. Spiller (15 carries, 123 yards, 2 TD, 3 catches, 47 yards) was an absolute beast for the Bills, gashing the Chiefs time and time again, crushing them beneath his runs. It more than made up for a lackluster start for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (10 of 19, 178 yards, 2 TD) who struggled early in the passing game before finally capping off a solid drive that started in Chiefs territory after a Matt Cassel fumble with a sharp touchdown reception by Scott Chandler. In Fitz's defense, while he wasn't as sharp as we'd like him to be, the important spot on that stat-line is what's not there; No interceptions.
The defensive line was much improved as well. Free agent acquisitions Mark Anderson and Mario Williams both came up large when the game was still in question, Anderson (3 Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 QB Hit) with a big early tackle for a loss while Williams (2 Tackles, Fumble Recovery) capitalized on an Alex Carrington sack, turning into the Bills third touchdown. But it was a complete game by the front line, as Kyle Williams (3 tackles, 2 sacks) had a great game and Marcell Dareus (2 tackles, sack) had a tremendous performance, especially considering the tragic loss of his little brother in a shooting during the week.
But, the defensive line doesn't get that push at all if Cassel can keep moving the ball fast enough to counteract them. The secondary, which was picked apart by Mark Sanchez in week one had a solid game, not giving up very much at all until the game was already decided. The best drive the Chiefs were able to muster in the first half, near the end of it, was spurred forward by a big (and ridiculous) penalty on Da'Norris Searcy on a nasty but unintentional jolt he gave Kevin Boss, knocking him out of the game. It sustained the drive, which finally fell apart with the lone useful Chiefs weapon, Peyton Hillis, getting stripped on his way into the end zone, effectively finishing the half and the Chief's chances of getting back into it.
This was not a perfect game for the Bills. Fitz's early play left quite a lot to be desired and will do nothing to stop the voices who were calling for Barkley watch to begin during the week. The tremendous chemistry that he developed with Stevie Johnson (2 catches, 56 yards, TD) seemed sorely lacking. Stevie was targeted five times on the day, but there were a couple bad passes by Fitz and a bad route by Stevie on what would be the second TD drive (Spiller) with Stevie freelancing on a quick-hit play, making Fitz look bad. Spiller's touchdown certainly makes that seem less villainous, but it's one of those performances where you wonder what would happen against a better team.
All and all, it's a much better outcome this week for the Bills. Sure, it's easy to say that a win is better than a loss, but just as the 48-28 score was not nearly as close as it looks, so too was the Bills 35-17 win this week a lot more of a rout than it seems. But there were still a number of warts on the Bills performance. Fitz needs to improve and sit down with Stevie and figure out how they're both going to do what they need to do. But, a win is a win and (with the 1-0 Jets still yet to play) the rest of the AFC East is also at 1-1. It means statistically we're all in the same boat. It's just a matter of performing.
Bring on the Cleveland Browns.
- Leodis McKelvin had an impressive 88 yard punt return for a touchdown, making a lot of people remark on how much this was a mirror image of last week's game. Second longest in team history.
- C.J. Spiller's 2012 campaing marks the fifth time a running back in Bills history has run over 100 yards in the first two games of the season. The other four were Fred Jackson, Thurman Thomas and O.J. Simpson twice.
- Bills defense recorded 5 sacks (Dareus, Carrington, Sheppard and K. Williams ) is the most in a game for the Bills since playing the Redskins in TO last year.