At the start of the NFL season, the Rams took out their banner of champions to underline their supremacy in 2021. The Bills, on the other hand, preferred the steamroller, a question of recalling that the 2022 season is off to a good start.
This battle at the top in Los Angeles between two teams that many saw at Super Bowl 57 in February, ended up being one-sided in favor of the Bills, on behalf of 31-10.
Still, it's not because the Bills played a perfect game. They simply struck hard at opportune times.
In the first half, the attack committed three turnovers. Two interceptions were credited to quarterback Josh Allen, but on the first the ball flew through the hands of receiver Isaiah McKenzie to land in those of linebacker Terrell Lewis. On the second, fellow receiver Jamison Crowder slowed down too early and cornerback Troy Hill grabbed the offering. The point in common? Either way, the Bills' two insert wingers erred.
Not as much as James Cook, though! The rookie rusher, on his first career NFL run (and only in the game), fumbled the ball.
Despite this sloppy football from the Bills, the Rams drew just three meager points for these gifts. The Bills were not to be given such a chance and both teams retreated to the locker room in a 10-10 stalemate at the half.
Productive third quarter < /p>
It was in the second half that the Bills took control, in every way imaginable. On their first streak, it was the physical aspect of their game that took the Rams by surprise, with eight carries for 41 yards. Josh Allen set the tone by wildly shoving defensive back Nick Scott, throwing him to the ground with his arm like a rag doll. When we say that the quarterback has the power to influence his teammates; on subsequent plays, runner Devin Singletary ran like a possessed player, a talent he has rarely seen in the past. It was finally McKenzie who restored the lead to his team by capturing a seven-yard pass, good for a touchdown.
When the Bills took the ball back, it was a bomb from Allen to Gabriel Davis who set the tone. The 47-yard long play led to a run from Allen that earned him a touchdown.
The final bazooka hit came from another missile from Allen, this time 53 yards to ace receiver Stefon Diggs, in the end zone. Suddenly, it was 31-10 and the throne hopefuls were looking pretty much like champions.
Allen finished the game with 297 yards through the air and three touchdowns, in addition to lead with 56 rushing yards and a touchdown. The routine for him, what! All kidding aside, the Bills, when they really got going in the second half, showed they could dominate in both power and finesse.
The impact of Miller
Despite Allen's inspiring play, the Bills' defensive work has probably been even more impressive. This unit limited the Rams' formidable offense to just 243 yards, for an anemic 3.7 yards per play.
During the offseason, the organization acquired the veteran Von Miller, who certainly didn't look like he was turning 33 against the Rams, the team with which he won a second Super Bowl last February.
Miller twice got his hands on former teammate Matthew Stafford by knocking him down for two quarterback sacks. He finished the game with three tackles for a loss.
A player's impact isn't just measured by their stats. The Bills finished the game with seven sacks. Everyone around Miller looked better than last year and Miller will be the perfect mentor for youngsters AJ Epenesa (1.5 sacks), Boogie Basham (1 sack) and Greg Rousseau (1 sack).
It was the first time the Rams, in the Sean McVay era, had suffered seven quarterback sacks. Worse still, the Bills' defensive front hit Stafford 15 times. The veteran pivot seemed bruised, he who is nursing an elbow injury. It should be remembered that last season, the Rams were limited to less than 20 points only twice. The Bills therefore sent a serious message, both on offense and defense.
The Rams stunned
With three interceptions, the Rams for their part were unrecognizable. Aerially, they relied heavily on star receiver Cooper Kupp, who recorded 13 receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown. The big acquisition of the offseason, Allen Robinson, caught only one assist. We will definitely have to develop a better chemistry and involve him more. Stafford's eyes seem to be drawn towards Kupp.
On the ground, the Rams have been limited to 2.9 yards per carry and Cam Akers has only touched the ball three times, suggesting he is still unhealthy.
Defensively, without Von Miller, very little pressure was applied to Josh Allen. Far from his sidekick, Leonard Floyd seemed invisible.
A game doesn't make a season, but even in a context where the Bills' offense has suffered a few failures, the Rams do not failed to take advantage of the largesse. For the very first time under Sean McVay, the team finds itself under the .500 mark. The 21-point gap in loss is the second-largest in history for a champion team in its first game of the season (the Ravens were down by 22 points after their 2012 win).
As for the Bills, no need to crown them too quickly. Everyone knew they were serious suitors. They simply recalled after this first effort that when they start the machine, they are even dangerously serious.