Orchard Park, N.Y. (WGR 550) - It was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday when they defeated the Las Vegas Raiders, 38-10, for their first win of the 2023 season.
After evening their season record at 1-1, here are my Arrows Up and Down, starting Up for the first time this year:
Bounce back mentality
After a tough loss and a lot of criticism throughout the week, with fans and media wondering what’s wrong, the Bills did a great job to rally around each other, and just take care of business and get back on track.
That always says a lot about the leadership of the organization and inside the locker room.
QB - Josh Allen
Allen had a signature bounce-back performance, going 31-of-37 (83.7%) for 274 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions or fumbles.
The veteran quarterback started the game completing his first 13 passes.
OT - Spencer Brown
Brown did a great job on pass rusher Maxx Crosby all day. Crosby, one of the best in the league, had seven total tackles, but did not register a sack or a single quarterback hurry.
DE - Kingsley Jonathan
Why is Jonathan getting an Arrow Up when he was inactive and didn’t even play? Because Brown credited him with giving a great look all week of practice, acting as Crosby on the scout team defense.
Brown said it was one of the best scout team looks he’s ever had.
While Brown stood out because of the job he did on Crosby, the entire offensive line did a really nice job of keeping Allen protected. They did give up two sacks, but Allen had time and comfort in the pocket most of the afternoon.
Job on Jacobs and overall run defense
Raiders running back Josh Jacobs ran for over 1,600 yards last year to lead league in that category.
His stat line Sunday was unbelievable: Nine carries for minus-2 yards.
It was absolutely incredible the job the Bills run defense did on him.
Overall, the Bills only allowed 55 yards on 15 carries, an average of 3.7 yards a run for Las Vegas.
Keeping Raiders wide receivers in check
Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams caught six passes for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Outside of him, though, their wide receivers accounted for just one catch the entire game. That came courtesy of Hunter Renfrow with just 3:48 remaining in the contest.
Gabe Davis and Stefon Diggs
Bills wide receivers were the complete opposite of the Raiders.
Diggs was able to grab seven passes for 66 yards, while Davis had six catches for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, Deonte Harty had a pair of grabs for four yards and Khalil Shakir had one catch for 11 yards and a TD.
A total of 16 catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns for the group overall.
RB - James Cook
Cook ran 17 times for 123 yards on Sunday, averaging 7.2 yards per-carry.
Matt Milano’s interception
Milano made an absolutely incredible play to come over the top of Jacobs to steal the ball away from him and grab his second interception of the season.
The All-Pro linebacker finished the game with four total tackles, the interception, and another pass breakup.
Bills defensive line
Every Bills defensive lineman made an impact in some way, starting with the very first play when defensive tackle Ed Oliver tackled Jacobs for a four-yard loss.
Oliver, Greg Rousseau, Leonard Floyd, DaQuan Jones, Shaq Lawson, and A.J. Epenesa combined for 10 tackles, two for loss, two quarterback hurries, and two pass breakups on batted balls.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott elected to go for it on fourth down on three separate occasions.
One of them did not work out and the Bills turned the ball over and downs at the Raiders' one-yard line. However, the other two resulted in a touchdown pass and two first downs.
K - Tyler Bass
Bass was a perfect 6-for-6 on his kick attempts, including five extra points and a 29-yard field goal.
Damien Harris' kickoff return
After the Raiders had cut the lead to 14-10 in the second quarter, Harris returned the next kickoff 41 yards to the Bills' own 47-yard line.
To start the second half, the Bills had a 15-play, 75-yard drive that consumed 9:01 off the clock! The Raiders did not touch the ball in the second half until there was 5:59 left in the third quarter.
Red zone offense
The Bills were inside the Raiders' 20-yard line seven different times and scored five touchdowns (71%).
The Bills converted four of five (80%) goal-to-go situations into touchdowns.
First drive: Defense
The Raiders marched right down the field on the opening drive of the game, going 75 yards in just five plays, ultimately scoring a touchdown.
First drive: Offense
The Bills offense started the game by gaining just five yards and going three-and-out.
4th-and-goal play call
Leading 14-10, McDermott went for it on 4th-and-goal from the Raiders' one-yard line with 3:01 left before halftime.
However, offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey had Allen line up in shotgun and tried a long-developing play that resulted in an incomplete pass to Dawson Knox and a turnover on downs.
Damien Harris blocked into Sam Martin
The only time the Bills punted in the game resulted in punter Sam Martin getting hit and walking off the field very slowly. It happened because personal protector Damien Harris was blocked into him as his leg was in the air.
Early screen passes
Once again this week, just like last week, the Bills gave up too many yards on screen passes, especially on the very first series.
Jacobs caught a 12-yard screen pass on a 2nd-and-14, then Adams caught a wide receiver screen for a 16-yard touchdown pass.
Follow me on X: @SalSports