The Buffalo Bills were the most hyped team in the NFL coming into the 2022 season. And in Week 1 on Thursday night against the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, Josh Allen, Von Miller, and the Bills lived up to that hype.
The game was 10-10 at halftime, but Buffalo came out in the second half and put on a clinic, outscoring the Rams 21-0 in the final two quarters. As impressive as the Bills were on both sides of the ball Thursday, one defensive stat stood out more than any other, and the rest of the NFL should be terrified after seeing it.
Buffalo didn’t blitz once
Despite three first-half turnovers, the Buffalo Bills offense looked sharp overall. Josh Allen was 26-of-31 for 297 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Stefon Diggs made eight catches for 122 yards and scored, while Gabriel Davis added four grabs for 88 yards and a TD.
On the ground, Allen had 10 carries for 56 yards and a TD, and Devin Singletary had eight carries for 48 yards.
As good as the Bills offense was, the defense was even more impressive.
The Bills D held Matt Stafford and the Super Bowl champs just 10 points, and the field goal resulted from an Allen interception that created the short field. Von Miller and company sacked Stafford seven times and forced him into three interceptions.
The most impressive stat of all, though, is that the Bills didn’t blitz once the entire game.
Buffalo held the LA to just 243 total offensive yards, which worked out to a measly 3.7 yards per play and just 4.0 yards per pass. The unit also stepped up big when it mattered most, stopping the Rams on 7-of-13 third downs.
The whole game was impressive for the Bills on Thursday, but the seven sacks without a single blitz is what should make the rest of the NFL seriously worried.
The Bills defensive line
The Buffalo Bills defensive line might be the deepest and most talented unit on the entire roster. And that’s really saying something on a team with Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, Isaiah McKenzie, and Jamison Crowder at wide receiver.
Head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane have been building the defensive line for the last few seasons. Third-year defensive end A.J. Epenesa and second-year pass-rushers Gregory Rousseau and Boogie Basham are all promising players.
With the young core in place, McDermott and Beane added some veteran spice to the mix this offseason, signing future Hall of Famer Von Miller and bringing back veteran defensive tackle Jordan Phillips from Arizona.
All these players played a significant role on Thursday in the Bills D-line’s domination of the Rams offensive line. Miller had 2.0 sacks against his former mates, Phillips and Epenesa each added 1.5 sacks, and Rousseau and Basham had 1.0.
Basham also tipped a Matthew Stafford pass in the fourth quarter, intercepted it, and returned it 21 yards the other way.
If the Bills defensive line can continue to pressure NFL quarterbacks like this without having to blitz, the Buffalo D might be even scarier than the offense this season. And that is a thought that should send chills down the collective spines of the rest of the league.
Stats courtesy of ESPN