It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
1 - Stadium Experience - Living in Baltimore made attending this game a no-brainer. I recently discovered a light rail that comes every 10-20 and is $4 round trip. Considering most parking is $40+ and traffic can be terrible, this made the experience so much better than in the past. I was well prepared with rain gear, so I didn't get noticed as a Bills fan much. Those who did notice, didn't seem to care. I was surprised to see how much the threat of rain hurt attendance. Tickets for lower bowl were $400 a week prior, but down to almost $75 on game day. The upper deck was half full, and that may be generous. In our section, we had some guys who tailgated a bit too hard, and watching the range of emotion on them as the game transpired was entertaining in itself. I do appreciate the large hallways where the food is, but can't understand how an Italian Sausage is $5 less than in Buffalo. They also do a great job of representing local restaurants in the stadium. $16 for a tall cider is a bit much though. From a game flow perspective, I was surprised when I saw the box score at home. Obviously, we shut them out in the second half and came all the way back, but it felt like Lamar had way more yards in the second half than he did. It really felt like the Ravens were going to put it away at any moment, but couldn't finish
2 - Questions - Not my normal format, but people don't typically read these whole things, so might as well ask now. On the very first drive with the INT, who's fault was that? From the replay I saw, the ball may have been tipped AND it went through Knox's hands. Is that correct? Also, on the Lamar scramble for the first down that was reviewed and called a yard short, did he not get the ball past the sticks? It was really tough to see what was going on for some of these plays and the replays in the stadium were less than stellar.
3 - Take away their favorite Toy - In typical Hoodie 🤢fashion, the Bills have done a great job of shutting down the opposing teams favorite weapon. Against the Dolphins, Hill was non-existent. In this game, you almost never heard Mark Andrews name get called. I was worried about him having a big day against us as I didn't know who was possibly going to cover him. At times, it was comical to see TJ follow him around because of the size difference. Overall, while the defense did a great job in coverage with everyone, I was surprised to see how little Lamar even targeted Andrews. I saw a lot of post game comments about how the Bills D threw out a lot of confusing looks, but still. Just a great job with making Andrews a non-factor.
4 - Lately, I've been thinking it's just someone else's job to care
Who am I to sympathize when no one gave a damn?
I've been thinking it's just someone else's job to care
Who am I to wanna try?
5 - Refs - I promise, I will get to the good stuff soon, but holy crap were these guys terrible. I'm going to have to watch the replay of this game to make sure I'm not crazy, but there were a bunch of calls I saw on the screen that looks like they missed. However, the lack of holding calls against the the Ravens OT's was insane. There were multiple times where you could see the Bills DE being dragged to the ground, holding up their other arm, and getting their jerseys spun around. It was really, REALLY bad. I don't know how these weren't called and it was beyond "letting them play."
6 - Receivers - I know the ball was wet and we cleaned it up a bunch in the second half. Seriously, Diggs, Shakir, and Knox all made beautiful sideline catches during the comeback. However, I am getting really concerned with Knox and Davis. It seems like both didn't commit to some catches, tried making body catches, or just got physically outplayed by the defender. Similar to last year, Davis appears to be hurt and he's a mere shell of himself out there. It's to the point where he might be better resting, as he doesn't seem to pose a threat at all. Knox, I have no idea what's going on there. I get that we are using him to block a lot, but still. I don't get the contract if this is how we are going to use him. I know Josh has a lot of faith in him, but from my seats, Knox killed that first drive. With injuries as they are, and I'm not a trade guy, but I wonder if Beane should be making calls. I heard someone mention DJ Moore from Carolina as a target and I think he'd be perfect here. I don't think we can rely on OBJ bouncing back, maintaining his form, and learning the offense quick enough to be a real factor this season.
7- Interior Defensive Line - Was anyone else concerned at the massive holes being opened up down the middle by the Ravens offensive line? I knew our pass rush up the middle would suffer without Oliver and Phillips, but I figured Settle and Jones would be able to take up space. There were a few plays were it was like the red sea parted. We were useless on short yardage rushing situations (again, until when it mattered in the end). Just a minor concern here, but noticeable. I can't wait to get Jordan and Ed back.
8 - Dorsey/Kromer - I know I keep going negative, and I'm sorry, but it's what I saw. Our play calling for running plays, and subsequent blocking support is getting worse each game it seems. After the first Poyer interception, Dorsey called some terrible plays and basically wasted the opportunity. Yes, Dorsey also gets credit for the winning drive, which was perfect, but the run play calling was terrible. I was hopeful after the Rams game, as we showed so many different looks. But now, it's shotgun handoffs between the G/T for no gain on second down. There's no creativity, no push up front, nothing. Where's the jet sweep? Where's the toss play? Where's anything else? The Chiefs right now are scary on offense because they are finding a rushing attack that you have to respect. Right now, I don't know if we could run the ball if the defense only had 3 in the box.
9 - The Tampa Affect - As we came back in this game, all I could think about was the Bucs game from last year. The Bills were a shell of their former selves that season and couldn't really get anything going until halftime at the Bucs game. While we didn't win that game, our offense finally woke up and we were a different team after. Granted, I thought we'd come out swinging after the Dolphins loss, but I was insta-depressed to see the same crappy execution in the first quarter of this game. The Ravens seemed faster, hit harder, and actually wanted to be on the field. We gave up another short field turnover and were down 20-3 early. However, we have Josh and that man doesn't go down easily. To see this team pull themselves back together and execute at the level they did...Wow. It wasn't an explosive performance nor all at once. It almost felt like the Patriots Superbowl comeback, slow and steady. Either way, just an amazing job by the defense to mostly keep Lamar contained (Seriously, what was the spy plan?) Poyer continues to earn more money on that extension. And many guys made the most of their opportunities; I'm looking at you Hamlin and Shakir. Hopefuly, this will carry over into our next game, we can get up by 21 so Cook can get more carries and confidence. I'm sorry, but he's just killing me right now for a 2nd round pick. He played at Georgia, this shouldn't be too much for him.
10 - The Boys - There were moments when I wanted to walk onto the field an punch Edmunds in the face for running into blocks as if he got a bonus from it. However, those moments weren't nearly as outstanding as the positive plays. For a team that doesn't blitz, we sent our guys a few times and Edmunds was able to make some great plays in the backfield, solo even. The blitzing didn't always hit home, and Lamar had way too much time and escape routes sometimes, but you can't argue with the end result. Edmunds made some great tackles, covered the middle of the field well, and really is turning in some nice consecutive games. Milano was just a stud. I don't think he was fully healthy last year, because he was FAST out there. Milano was a wrecking ball out there at times and should have had another interception on a really bizarre play. I can't give enough credit to what this defense did, and the linebackers were a huge part of it.
11 - Bonus Random thoughts:
The Ravens played mainly man cover-2 against us in the first half. In the second, they adjusted to more of a Cover 1 at times. While they had more guys in the box, that's when we started moving the ball a lot more. It shouldn't work that way, but it did. I love being able to see the whole field when at games, just to watch the coverages. For the Bills, Lamar has proven he likes to throw deep down the middle, and we didn't give him that chance all game. It was impressive how much we kept them to short field plays
Holding aside, Von and Groot were non-stop in this game and I expect more 7 sack games once Ed and Jordan are back. Watching Lamar get swarmed at times felt great. On Lamar's last interception, it was like a wall of defenders coming at him that only allowed him to back peddle and make a poor throw.
I was able to see the replay when I got home, but it didn't do this play justice. The sideline throw to Knox in the 4th was absolutely amazing. Josh was on his back foot and put that ball on a perfect trajectory to Knox. Seeing it live, my mouth dropped open. For those there, please tell me you saw the same thing
Special teams has to get a game ball for all facets of their play. In wet conditions, they were perfect and a difference maker
Before you gang up on me, Josh is Josh. He doesn't need a thought every single week. He was a little off again on crossing routes, but really pulled it together on the comeback. Seeing the Ravens fans get quieted by some of Josh's runs was hysterical. The Bills fans in my section kept saying "Yeah, we got one of them too."
The conversation of when it's appropriate to stand really hit in this game. In the lower section, we were the only area standing almost the entire game. Why? Because of 5 Bills fans. A pair of 2 in one row, and a group of 3 in another refused to sit down, making everyone behind them have to stand to see the field. I was embarrassed by them, as they didn't seem to care about their surroundings at all. I get big plays and whatnot, but when you are literally the only people standing around you, read the room.