Entering the season as the odds on favorites to reach their first Super Bowl in over 20 years, the Buffalo Bills battled the Los Angeles Rams to open up the 2022 NFL season. Led by their star quarterback Josh Allen, Sean McDermott's group overcame four turnovers in a 31-10 victory. Opening up the contest with a 26-yard touchdown strike to Gabriel Davis, the former seventh overall pick finished 26 of 31 for 297 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He also added 56 yards on the ground while finding the end zone for the 32nd rushing score of his career. Putting the game away in the second half, the Bill's defense harassed Matthew Stafford and company all night long. They held the Ram's defense to under four yards per play while recording three interceptions and seven sacks.
Why the Buffalo Bills Won
Picking up right where they left off from a season ago, Buffalo's offense marched down the field on the game's opening possession. Mixing up the run and the pass, Allen connected with Stefon Diggs twice while also finding Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. Capping off the drive with a 26-yard strike to Davis, the signal caller received some bad luck on the next offensive series. Working the ball into the red zone once again, he would ultimately hit Isaiah Mckenzie in the hands before the veteran slot man dropped the ball, allowing Terrell Lewis to come up with the interception. After going into the break tied, the Bills were virtually unstoppable in the game's final 30 minutes. The team notched touchdowns on three straight trips to open up the second half while seeing seven different players haul in a pass.
Arguably the story of the game, Buffalo's defense made life miserable for Stafford and the Los Angeles offense all night long. Backed by a strong effort from their revamped defensive line, the group sacked the 14-year veteran seven times, the most ever under Sean Mcvay. Along with this, they also picked off the former number one overall pick three times. Highlighted by the play of their offseason acquisition Von Miller, the star pass rusher had two sacks, four pressures, and two tackles for a loss. Joining him, Jordan Phillips also made an impact in his return. According to Pro Football Focus, the 330-pound defensive tackle notched 1.5 sacks and a 90.0 pass-rush grade.
Why the Los Angeles Rams Lost
Forced to overhaul their offensive line in the offseason, the Rams had to replace two starters. The franchise lost Andrew Whitworth to retirement while also seeing Austin Corbett depart for the Carolina Panthers in free agency. Allowing Buffalo's pass rushers to wreak havoc all night long, the team saw Stafford get sacked seven times. In addition, they could not create any push on the ground, leading to just 52 yards on eight carries. While Cooper Kupp once again had a strong night for a struggling Los Angeles offense, Allen Robinson failed to make an impact in his debut. On the field for 65 snaps, the longtime Chicago Bear saw just two targets before getting his effort called out post- game.
Overmatched by Buffalo's high-powered passing attack, the Ram's secondary appeared to be in disarray. Highlighted by the play of all-pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the 27-year-old was abused by the Allen and Diggs connection throughout the game. He allowed six completions for 124 yards and two touchdowns, leading to a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Meanwhile, Buffalo was also able to keep Aaron Donald in check. Matched up across from both Ryan Bates and Rodger Saffold, the eight-time pro bowler had just two tackles, one sack, and one pressure, a quiet night for his standards.
Looking to stay atop the AFC East, Buffalo plays host to the AFC's number one seed from last year, the Tennesee Titans, in their home opener next Monday night. Aiming to avenge their loss from a year ago, the Bills fell 34-31 at Nissan Stadium after Allen fell on a quarterback sneak on fourth and one near the goal line.
Hoping to right the ship and get back in the win column, Los Angeles welcomes in the Atlanta Falcons for a four o'clock kickoff on Sunday afternoon. Knocked off in a thriller in week one, Arthur Smith's team saw the New Orleans Saints come back from a 26-10 deficit to pull out the win late.