Quick thoughts on Bills/Chiefs

The 2011 season certainly started off with a bang for the Buffalo Bills.  Whether it will carry over for the remainder of the season still remains to be seen.  They’ve seen this before in Buffalo over the past ten years (2003 against New England, 2008 when they went 4-0 to start the year) but they always seem to fizzle out as the season wore on.  Will a new attitude brought on by Chan Gailey and his overturned roster (only 21 players from the current 53 man roster remain from before Chan Gailey was hired before the 2010 season) bring new success?  Time will tell but they certainly got off to a fast start on Sunday in Kansas City.  Here are my thoughts:

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick had a a great day but it could have been even better if he made some more accurate throws to open receivers early in the game.  Still he executed as well as you could in the red zone, a sign of very good QB play.  What I noticed most is that on all of the touchdowns he put the ball where only his receiver was able to catch it.  As a matter of fact I don’t think he threw a near pick during the entire game.  I can’t remember a game in his previous two seasons in Buffalo where he didn’t make you cringe at least a few times a game with an ill-advised near pick.  Last Sunday almost everything was crisp and what wasn’t was near the ground.  One final note on Fitzpatrick – experience seems to be doing him good.  Obviously being Harvard educated he is a very intelligent guy and I think absorbing the game experiences of the past few years has made him an even better player.
  • I could watch Fred Jackson run the football all day long.
  • The Bills front 7 didn’t do anything flashy but they held their ground.  They barely blitzed, instead keeping Merriman, Kelsay and company on the edges to prevent Jamaal Charles from getting to the outside.  It worked.  Despite a few runs to the outside in the no huddle Jamaal Charles was kept between the tackles all day.  Expect a simlar gameplan next week against the Raiders.  Like they did with Matt Cassell, the Bills will force Jason Campbell to beat them.
  • From all accounts Paul Poszluzny is a great guy and a hard worker but I can’t say that Nick Barnett didn’t look like a huge upgrade in the middle of the Bills defense.  I think he defends both the run and the pass better than Poz.
  • If Chan Gailey was trying to send a message by demoting Demetrius Bell and Andy Levitre during the pre-season, consider the message received.  They were road graters all day for Freddie Jackson and Bell absolutely man-handled sackmaster Tamba Hali all day.
  • Another pre-season scapegoat, Leodis McKelvin, had himself a strong day in coverage.  With the game in Matt Cassell’s hands him and Drayton Florence shut down his receiver all day.  Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston were held to two catches each.  I also was impressed by the play of 2nd round pick Aaron Williams who was pressed into action early by the injury to Terrence McGee.  He is raw, but very talented.  He looks to see more playing time with Terrence McGee hurt.
  • Speaking of the secondary, I think that’s the first Bills game I watche din ten years where not one D-Back missed a tackle.  Jairus Byrd and Bryan Scott were particularly solid.
  • Finally, props to Chain Gailey and staff for having their gang ready to play.  They had a game plan and they executed it and they were far more prepared than last season’s AFC West division winners in their own stadium.

All in all it was a good day for the Buffalo Bills but it doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things if they can’t follow up their performance in the weeks ahead.  One thing is for sure, you can expect a lot of excitement and noise from the home crowd this Sunday in Buffalo for the home opener against the Raiders.  This weeks game will tell you some about the Bills going forward but the game in two Sundays at home against the Patriots will tell you lots more.  Until then the Buffalo Bills faithful can sit back and ride the wave, whether it lasts for one more week or sixteen more.

Twitter @ErikVenskus

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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