The Bills' season opener in Baltimore was as bad as it seemed

September 10, 2018 - 9:54 am

Photo: Tommy Gilligan - USA TODAY Sports


As season openers go, this game in Baltimore on Sunday was a doozy.

It started bad and pretty much got worse. Kind of like falling down the stairs. Halftime came and went and the Bills continued tumbling down the stairs.

How bad was it?

The Ravens took the opening kick off and marched down the field to a 7-0 lead. The drive was highlighted by a 2nd-and-26, Joe Flacco to John Brown pass for 28 yards. Phillip Gaines lost Brown so badly in coverage that he wasn’t even on the screen when the ball got to Brown.

In the first quarter, the Bills had six yards rushing and negative-4 yards passing.

There were numerous penalties, including one for jumping offsides on a Baltimore punt that gave the Ravens a first down.

The Bills did get a fumble recovery off a nice play by Tremaine Edmunds, but, yet again, could not even get a single first down and ended up trying a 52-yard field goal which Stephen Hauschka promptly nubbed.

With seven minutes to go in the first half, the Bills had 13 total yards and 63 yards against them in penalties.

Also, zero first downs. Zero. 0. Zed.

About the best you could do for a positive was feel relieved that Nathan Peterman had not thrown any picks yet. Welp, so much for that after sailing one down the middle way over the head of Kelvin Benjamin. Benjamin was open and Peterman had lots of time and missed badly.

The Bills had a great chance to recover a muffed punt deep in Baltimore territory, but both Taiwan Jones and Andre Holmes failed to corral the loose ball before ultimately pushing it out of bounds.

Finally, the first half ended and yes, the Bills failed to get a single first down.

But hey, LeSean McCoy ran for a first down on the first play of the second half, so there’s that. The Bills then went three-and-out right after that. Rookie punter Corey Bojorquez fumbled the snap on the ensuing punt attempt and Baltimore was in business deep in Bills territory and just like that it was 33-0 with almost all of the second half still to play.

3:38 into the third quarter, the score was 40-0 and in came Josh Allen. His first series was a running play for three yards, an incompletion and a sack. Then the Bills punted again because that’s what you do when you can’t get first downs.

You punt. A lot. The Bills punted, I’d have to check the box score on this, but I think it was like 100 punts. By midway through the third quarter, I had become obsessed with how many yards Bojorquez would end up punting for. I don’t think that’s a stat I’ve ever paid any attention to. Bojorquez was at 300 yards punting through three quarters. Is there a record for yards punted in a single game? I could look that up but I’m not going to. Really I’m just killing time here.

Anyways, Bojorquez ended up punting eight times for 397 yards. A number of listeners tweeted to me that the punt yardage record for a single game is 709 yards, so the Bills guy didn’t really get close.

The big takeaway here is what the Bills will do at quarterback now that Peterman struggled to do anything with the Bills offense.

I’ve been generally supportive of the notion that Allen sits until he’s really ready to play, and that was lining up nicely for Sean McDermott before Sunday. Peterman was horrendous in Baltimore. The plan to be patient with Allen may have to be junked after only one week. I think it, at least, has to be challenging to put Peterman back out there, to put it mildly.

So a not so ideal way to start the 2018 season, to put it one way. Already we’re going to be left to wonder when the rookie quarterback gets the gig. Not at all what the Bills had to be hoping for as they start out.

My best guess is that Allen gets the start in the home opener against the Los Angeles Chargers.

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