'The Bills walked out on the field as a group and about a quarter of the roster — McCoy, Marcell Dareus, Shaq Lawson, Ryan Davis, Lorenzo Alexander, Jordan Matthews, Shareece Wright, and Mike Tolbert among others — and some coaches knelt. Those who stood, locked arms. The Broncos, meanwhile, lined up on the sideline and about half the players and some coaches took a knee.'
Archives for September 25, 2017
'Stephen Hauschka became the first placekicker in Bills history to kick two field goals of 53 yards-or-longer in the same game. He finished with four: 49, 55, 53 and 27 yards. The 55-yarder was the Bills’ longest since Dan Carpenter hit a 58-yarder to beat the Lions in 2014.'
'"Absolutely," Tyrod Taylor said, "(offensive coordinator) Rick Dennison always has an open ear even from my time working with him in Baltimore (when Taylor was a backup and Dennison was quarterbacks coach). This week, I talked with him about the things I have seen and that I liked, the things I felt we were good at."'
'Tyrod Taylor said after the game that he didn't take offense to Miller's gesture. But was he laughing because of the joke or because Miller was flagged for it? "Both," Taylor said.'
'Don't look now, but the Bills are 2-1, tied with the Patriots atop the AFC East. They've allowed the fewest points per game (12.3) in the conference, and are looking like a team that should play meaningful games in December.'
'No Bill made any overtly political gestures that week, or later in the season. The issue faded as the year went on. But with Kaepernick unemployed, it regained steam this season. And when President Trump inflamed the NFL by suggesting players be fired for taking a knee, the Bills players finally took a stand.'
'But they're better than I thought when I picked them to go 4-12 this season. That prediction suggested they were a bad team, one of the worst half dozen in the NFL. They're not a bad team, because they have a good defense. And when they play good D in front of their home crowd, they're hard to beat.'
'The penalty also gave Taylor what he craves more than anything while trying to prove he's a franchise quarterback: time and space. The Bills were awarded a critical first down, allowing them to continue their march, burn another 4½ minutes off the clock and set up Stephen Hauschka for a chip shot and the final score.'
'The Bills showed up to play Sunday, as they have in all three games under first-year coach Sean McDermott. If their win over the Jets came was dismissed based on the opponent, and their loss to the Panthers signified trouble for the offense, their 26-16 win over the Broncos confirmed they can play with anybody.'
'The Bills kicker connected on four field goals — from 49, 55, 53 and 27 yards — to pace the team to a 26-16 win and a surprising 2-1 record. Hauschka also nailed both of his PATs to cap his perfect afternoon.'
'With the national anthem serving as their backdrop, Bills players formed a wall far different than the one President Trump still boasts about building. It was their personal statement — derived from a lengthy and emotional team meeting Saturday night — and their collective response to hate, bigotry and needless division.'
'Taylor was at his best in the third quarter, when he led a four-play, 69-yard touchdown drive that took just 1:37 to complete. He made a perfect throw to tight end Nick O'Leary for a 31-yard gain down the left sideline, then two plays later hooked up with Jordan Matthews for a 25-yard gain. On the next play, Taylor rolled out and looked like he might try to run the ball into the end zone, in the process freezing the Broncos. He then found tight end Charles Clay wide open in the middle of the end zone for the go-ahead score.'
'Taylor was particularly good on the go-ahead touchdown drive in the third quarter. He made a pinpoint pass on a dead run to tight end Nick O'Leary for 31 yards. He stood in the pocket with pass rusher Shaq Barrett charging toward him and lofted a floater to Jordan Matthews for 25 yards. Then he patiently ran a bootleg near the goal line and waited for tight end Charles Clay to break wide open in the middle of the field for a 6-yard touchdown.'
'The Buffalo Bills couldn't run, but that was OK.'
'The Bills' passing game finally showed signs of life, thanks in no small part to offensive coordinator Rick Dennison incorporating more moving-pocket plays into the offense. That tapped into Tyrod Taylor's strength, which is his mobility. He finished with 20 completions in 26 attempts for 213 yards and two touchdowns, with a passer rating of 126.'
'Still, the Bills did some necessary tweaking to get more production from their offense. They incorporated more crossing routes to take advantage of the man-to-man coverage the Broncos mainly use, they occasionally had Tyrod Taylor operate from the edge with a moving pocket, they worked in quarterback keepers to help slow down the pass rush, and also changed up pass protections. That went a long way toward minimizing the impact of All-World outside linebacker Von Miller, who finished with only one sack and two quarterback hits.'
'Hauschka was good from 49, 55, 53 and 27 yards, all toward the scoreboard end of New Era Field. He became the first kicker in team history to hit two field goals of at least 53 yards in the same game.'
'“It was in response to our president’s comments, calling people who were peacefully protesting ‘SOBs,’ ” Alexander said. “For me, with the background being Charlottesville and calling neo-Nazis and KKK members fine people – making that comparison and drawing a hard line versus NFL players who were doing something peaceful really touched me.”'
'After coming out of the tunnel together as a team, the Bills gathered on the field before the anthem was performed by Abby Anderson. Running back LeSean McCoy alternated between sitting, stretching and kneeling during the anthem. Other players who took a knee included Ryan Davis, Mike Tolbert, Jordan Matthews, Lorenzo Alexander, Shareece Wright, Leonard Johnson, Cedric Thornton, Shaq Lawson, Marcell Dareus, Taiwan Jones and Kaelin Clay. On the other sideline, more than half of the Broncos took a knee. Coach Sean McDermott locked arms with linebacker Matt Milano as the song was played.'
'"Yes. It is," he said. "I mean, it's the closest you can walk up against it without saying it, because the majority of players that are kneeling are African-American. Does it make it personal? I took a knee today. Does that mean I'm an SOB now? Is my mom a B? Everybody that knows my mom knows no."'
'Ryan said on Sunday: “Everyone’s always been united. Yeah, the views are different but lemme tell you: I’m pissed off … I’ll be honest with you. Because I supported Donald Trump. When he asked me to introduce him at a rally in Buffalo, I did that. But I’m reading these comments and it’s appalling to me. Calling our players SOBs and all that kind of stuff, that's not the men that I know — the men in the locker room, I'm proud of and I'm proud to be associated with those people."'
'"We were trying to hide Jordan Matthews and get him to come out the back side," Taylor said. "The corner slow-played it and took it away, and Charles is the last option. Actually my option to run comes before Charles. But he was able to close the end down and as I was approaching the line of scrimmage he popped up."'
'In a battle of play-callers, the Bills' Dennison got the game to go the way he wanted. Denver's McCoy, however, can't feel good about the final statistics sheet. Denver entered the game with the No. 1 rushing attack in the NFL, averaging 159 yards a game. Granted, that total was inflated by the Broncos' blowout, run-out-the-clock win over Dallas last week. But Denver never gave its two quality runners – C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles – the chance to get in a groove. Denver called 25 passes and 10 runs in the first half and finished with 46 pass calls and just 23 runs. Trevor Siemian is the kind of QB who needs more help than that. Dennison, meanwhile, was not predictable with his first-down calls, preventing Denver from overplaying the run. Yet he didn't abandon the run, even though the Bills only averaged 2.3 yards a carry.'
'Give Sean McDermott credit for throwing a good challenge flag in the second quarter. The Bills’ coach saw Denver receiver Emmanuel Sanders bobble the ball as he went to the ground, and winning the challenge wiped out a 44-yard gain for the Broncos. McDermott seemed to be a little slow in using his timeouts at the end of the first half, but Hauschka bailed him out by hitting his 55-yarder. Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison called a good game in getting Taylor in position through designed rollouts to find open receivers.'
'The Buffalo Bills have a formula for winning games: Be great on defense and good enough on offense.'
'Tyrod Taylor began by rolling out left and throwing a 31-yard strike to Nick O'Leary, who made a nice catch on the sideline. LeSean McCoy gained 7 yards on a run, and then Taylor followed it up by hitting Jordan Matthews in stride on a deep crossing route for 25 yards. On the fourth play of the drive, Taylor threatened to run but then hit Charles Clay for a touchdown, giving the Bills a 20-16 lead.'
'The Bills had their highest-scoring quarter of the season to date with a 13-point second quarter that saw their touchdown-less streak end at 91 minutes and 6 seconds of game time.'
'The Bills upped their time of possession to 4:19 in the opening 15 minutes Sunday but had only 10 yards of total offense to show for it. The Bills' first two tries went three-and-out, with LeSean McCoy gaining 6 yards on two carries while Mike Tolbert ran twice for 4. Tyrod Taylor completed both of his passes for 9 yards but was sacked twice, losing 9.'
'You know, they’ve done a great job. I mean, they’re playing well. We had a couple plays today that got away from us but they are a resilient bunch. They really are. If it’s not the front getting after the quarterbacks, somebody else is making a big play for us in the back seven. They play as a team, which that’s how you play good defense in football. You play as a team and they did a good job of feeding off of one another and really just doing their job, being 1/11th of the defense.'
'Other inactives for the Bills are running back Joe Banyard, defensive tackle Deandre Coleman, guard Vlad Ducasse, tight end Khari Lee and defensive tackle Jerel Worthy (concussion). The Bills will start rookie Dion Dawkins at left tackle and Cedric Thornton in Dareus' place at defensive tackle.'
'“I decided to have my birthday party out here with everybody,” said Wilson, who turned 36 Sunday. He said he often plays clubs throughout the Buffalo area in addition to the free tailgating entertainment he provides.'
'Other incidents included car crashes, fires, fights, criminal mischief and general drunkenness.'
'The Bills defense turned in another valiant effort and in three games, has now allowed only two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Tyrod Taylor turned in a solid day of work and got the Bills’ offense on track after a mostly woeful showing last week in Carolina.'
'“We had a chance to win that game at the end and we came up short,” wide receiver Jordan Matthews said of the Bills’ 9-3 loss to the Panthers, a point I could not agree with more. “We have to capitalize on our opportunities, and in this game, we did that. We put ourselves in a position to win, and that’s all you can ask for.”'
'Look around the league; this type of thing happened all day. The Saints routed the Panthers, the Jaguars crushed the Ravens, the Jets — yes, the Jets — embarrassed the Dolphins, the Bears beat the Steelers, and the Texans very nearly shocked the Patriots before falling in the dying seconds to that guy named Tom Brady who is just never going to go away.'
'“I just wasn’t thinking,’’ said Miller, who finished with six tackles, a sack, two QB hits and two tackles for loss. “I don’t even do anything with quarterbacks but I know Tyrod and we were kind of laughing and joking through the whole game. On that play, I just made a very crucial mistake at a vital time.’’'
'Driving up to the stadium, several people who allow people to park their cars in their yards were waving fans into their driveway with American flags in their hand. Several flags were flapping in the warm breeze in the stadium parking lots, and once the fans began filing into the stadium, it is expected that there will be plenty of red, white and blue, and not just because those are the Bills’ colors.'
' “Obviously, it was in response to our president’s comments, calling people who protest SOBs," Alexander said. “For me, with the backdrop being Charlottesville and calling neo-Nazis and KKK members fine people, making that comparison and drawing a hard line on NFL players for doing something peaceful, it really touched me.’’'
'Tyrod Taylor completed 76.9 percent of his passes (20 of 26 for 213 yards), a performance that was certainly unexpected given the fact that Von Miller rushes the passer for Denver, and Aqib Talib plays cornerback. But Taylor was sharp, particularly in the second half when he was 6 of 8 and led the Bills to the final 13 points of the game. On the second TD drive, he threw dimes to Nick O’Leary and Jordan Matthews and finished it with a nice throw in the end zone to Charles Clay after he baited the defense into thinking he was running.'