After a seemingly effortless Week 1 victory in Kansas City, the Bills displayed their ability to battle for 4 quarters and rally against a relentless Raiders squad in Week 2. Ryan Fitzpatrick completed a 6-yard touchdown to David Nelson with 14 seconds left to lead the Buffalo Bills to a 38-35 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Buffalo scored touchdowns on all five of their second-half possessions to overcome a 21-3 first-half deficit. Buffalo and Oakland exchanged the lead five times of the final 14:10 of the game.
After a forgettable first half, the Bills managed to string together a notable effort to storm back and win the home opener. The Bills offense was untouchable in the second half as Fitzpatrick threw for three touchdowns while Fred Jackson managed to run for two touchdowns. Buffalo displayed a tremendous ability to respond to a poor, first half performance and eventually have fans forget how bad the first half truly was. After the Jekyll and Hyde performance was over, Fitzpatrick ended the day completing 28 of 46 passes for 264 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Fred Jackson continued to display his dominance as the team’s starting running back with 15 carries for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns.
In a day that was peppered with offense, there were a few shining moments for this young, but talented, Buffalo defense. Perhaps the offseason acquisition of Nick Barnett proved to be worth every penny of his 3 year, $12 million contract that he signed in July. Barnett continuously made plays that displayed the solidification of a feeble run defense from a year ago. Barnett finished the game with 14 tackles and helped contain Oakland’s ground game to 131 total yards on 30 carries.
Sunday’s Bills vs. Raiders game not only produced a second half that was saturated with entertainment, but it also provided a game for the Bills’ record books. In Sunday’s contest, Buffalo and Oakland combined for 60 total first downs. The previous Bills record for the most total first downs in a game was held by the 1983 Bills vs. Dolphins game that yielded 59 total first downs. The lack of defensive support aided to a shootout that will be remembered for a long time.
1. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: 28/46, 264 yards, 3TDs, and 1INT. Fitzpatrick continued to display his red-hot arm by dissecting Oakland’s defense. By successfully putting his sub-par first half performance behind him, it enabled Fitzpatrick to make the plays he was capable of making and ultimately produce some 4th quarter Fitzmagic!
2. WR Stevie Johnson: 8 receptions, 96 yards, 1TD. Johnson continued to display why he is one of the superior route runners in the NFL on Sunday with his ability to find the soft spots within Oakland’s defense. Playing with a nagging groin injury proved his toughness and determination to play through pain. After the first 2 weeks in this new NFL season, “SJ13” has proven that he is talented enough to have an advantage over the opposing team’s starting cornerback.
3. WR David Nelson: 10 receptions, 83 yards, 1TD. David Nelson appeared all over the field for the Bills victory on Sunday. Nelson provided to be a constant for Fitzpatrick in the passing game. Nelson flashed his soft hands by continuing to make clutch receptions late in the game, including catching the game-winning touchdown with 14 seconds left. With performances like today, Nelson can establish himself as a true possession receiver for the Bills, and create a reliable target for Ryan Fitzpatrick.