Grading Buffalo Bills Win Over Chicago Bears in 2014 NFL Season Opener

The Bills are going to the Super Bowl… Just kidding, I’m not one of those fans. However, I am very excited by the Bills week one OT win over the Bears. Just ask my neighbors that heard me yell about the Fred Jackson 38-yard-almost TD run that made victory basically inevitable. After the preseason woes, all Bills fans were understandably on edge going into the game on Sunday. Well the naysayers have to bite their tongues for at least one week now, after the team answered a lot of the questions that were left by the 1-4 mark in pseudo-games.

(Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)
Manuel played an efficient game against the Bears. (Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)

First, the offense looked good. Way better than I expected, but still only grades out at a B-. Here’s why. The line kept EJ Manuel clean most of the game, giving up only one sack. EJ looked calm not having to face a lot of pressure, was accurate and made good throws all game – aside from the interception. Buffalo’s WRs made good catches, especially on vertical seam throws, which is an element of the offense we didn’t see enough of in the preseason. Additionally, the Bills kept the Bears defense off-balance by running the ball with success all game. Nearly 200 yards on the ground is not an easy task to accomplish.

The defense, which is the strength of this team, made enough plays to allow them to get the win, coming up with two INTs and two sacks. The turnovers they created atoned for the 349 passing yards they surrendered. That being said, Corey Graham had himself a game filling in for Gilmore. It won’t jump out in the box score the way Leodis McKelvin’s 13 tackles will, but he had two huge pass deflections to hold the Bears from scoring. Their run defense wasn’t terrible, but they allowed Matt Forte to gain 82 yards on 17 carries for 4.9 ypc. If you continually allow running backs to pick up big chunks of yardage like that, you’ll find it hard to win games. All-in-all it is a solid performance by the unit to hold a potent Bears offense to only two TDs and 20 points total. My grade for the defense this week is also a B-.

Samuelson Slant Grade: B

*I gave the Bills bonus points for winning an OT game, on the road and for currently being tied for first place in the division because of it.

Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts on the Samuelson Slant grade for the Bills week one OT win?

About John Samuelson

+John Samuelson is not your typical Bills fan, raised in Generation Drought, he brings a realistically optimistic viewpoint to the #BillsMafia. Enjoy the "Samuelson Slant" - his personal spin on all things Buffalo Bills.