Was opening night blowout more about Bills' positives or Rams' negatives?

Buffalo dominated the defending Super Bowl champions in Los Angeles

The 2022 NFL season kicked off on Thursday night with a premiere matchup between the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and this year’s Super Bowl favorites, the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills came out hot with a touchdown on their first drive, but the teams traded turnovers and the Rams were able to tie the game at 10-10 in the second quarter.

However, the Bills piled it on in the second half, en route to a 31-10 victory at SoFi Stadium.

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Danny Parkins and Andrew Fillipponi of Audacy’s “1st and Pod” podcast gave their takes on both sides after opening night.

“I can give you 10 minutes on Rams negatives, and I can give you 10 minutes on Bills positives,” Parkins said.

Parkins decided to start with the defending Super Bowl champions, who had one rather important negative that stood out.

“Their offensive line’s gonna get Stafford killed. He’s not surviving the season if they don’t fix that,” he said.

Stafford completed 29-of-41 passes for 240 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions for a passer rating of 63. As if that's not bad enough, he was sacked seven times for 49 yards - Von Miller had two of them.

“I know that Buffalo adding Von Miller – Collinsworth couldn’t stop talking about him – I know it’s a good pass rush. Shaq Lawson wasn’t even active for the game, that’s how deep they are. So I understand that it’s a particularly difficult matchup, but they’ll play in road environments where the crowd is more of a factor,” Parkins continued. “They’re going to have games against good pass rushes. They’re going to play games on the road. Stafford is not surviving the season if this offensive line doesn’t get better quick. That was one of the biggest Xs and Os takeaways for me.”

The Rams won the Super Bowl with veteran tackle Andrew Whitworth anchoring the offensive line. The 40-year-old lineman announced his retirement in March and the Rams looked lost without him.

“I think that Les Snead went over to Andrew Whitworth and said ‘Are you sure about the retirement thing big boy?’ I mean that had to happen at that game,” Fillipponi said. “It was a disgrace from them. I thought Stafford looked like, to me, old Detroit Lions Stafford in terms of sloppiness and carelessness with the ball.”

While the Rams’ negatives certainly stood out, they’ll get a bit of a pass this season due to last year’s championship.

“I do think it’s more about the Bills, because when you’ve won a championship, your legacy’s defined. If the Rams take a step back this year and go 9-8, sure it’ll be a disappointment, but they’ve already taken care of business,” Fillipponi continued. “They’ve already accomplished what they set out to do. They justified the Stafford trade and all the big splashy moves that they made in terms of draft picks and stuff to win a championship.”

On the other hand, the Bills were seconds away from advancing to the AFC Championship Game last season. They’re looking to get over the hump.

“The Bills are trying to get over 13 seconds at the end of the Chiefs game. So for them to do it this impressively, where you can turn the ball over four times on the road and win in blowout fashion against at-worst a top-five team in the NFC. So I tip my cap to them,” Fillipponi said. “Now, Danny, they get like an extra bye because they don’t play again until next Monday. I thought the Bills were a really good team. They made a huge statement that makes me think they could be even better than that.”

The Rams were able to hang with the Bills in the first half, entering the second half with the game tied at 10-10. However, the Rams’ 10 points in the second quarter were all they scored, as the Bills found the end zone three more times in the second half.

Despite the surprising blowout, it felt good to have the NFL back.

“It was a shocking, shocking result for a sporting event,” Parkins said. “It was great to have the NFL back. I know it’s not Al Michaels, but Tirico and Collinsworth and Sunday Night Football and that production being there. Collinsworth just having it that Josh Allen gets the ball out in 2.2 seconds, which is ahead of the league average. That’s the type of stuff that NextGen stats normally has for you on Monday morning. They have it during the game broadcast.

“Even when it was a blowout, and sloppy, and there were a ton of turnovers, it’s still such a damn good product. I was just grinning ear to ear that the NFL was back. It was amazing.”

You can listen to the entire episode in the player below:

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Episode 3: NFL is Back!
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Featured Image Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian - Getty Images