So are we starting to get a little giddy yet? Have you caught yourself drifting ahead to Week 4 and beyond? Yea, me too. This is surely NOT part of the “process” so hopefully the team doesn’t do it.
It’s tough after all these years of mediocrity to see what looks like a talented team with bright, creative coordinators and a franchise QB in the making. The improvement in Allen has been palpable. When it’s 3rd and 7 the Bills don’t throw it 3 yards, hope the receiver breaks tackles, fail and punt.
Do I wish he was perfect? Of course, but he hasn’t played a full 16 games yet and the O line is still getting to know each other and the wideouts and tight ends are new. All I know is he is exciting (some times both good and bad).
So should we take Cincinnati seriously? They’ve had a strange start. They played Seattle really tough and Andy Dalton threw for over 400 yards on the road against them. Dalton has thrown for 729 yards in 2 games and has a quarterback rating of 99, which is very good.
Their running game has been horrible. Giovanni Bernard and Joe Mixon have carried for 54 yards (TOTAL!!!) on 30 carries. UGH! Both players are good running backs (not Barkley and Bell good but certainly good, solid NFL backs) which tells me the Bengal O line might be dreadful so far.
Stop the run and make Dalton throw vs the Bills top Bills pass defense seems to be in order. Attention is going to have to be paid to John Ross (11 catches for 270 yards, a fantastic 24.5 yard per catch average) and Tyler Boyd (another old friend from a few years ago) who has been productive catching 18 passes for 182 yards.
The Bills catch a major break with AJ Green, who has killed the Bills in the past, being injured and out. Even without him, the Bills will need to score points because the Bengals can be explosive.
As good as they were against the Seahawks though, they got whacked in their home opener against the 49ers. The 49ers had an astounding 572 yards of total offense!!! That is truly some stinky defense, folks. The 49ers out-rushed them 259 to 25 yards. Yeesh! I am wishing Singletary makes it for this game but have my doubts.
What I’d like to see:
- Focus. Do not look ahead to the Patriots. Dalton is a good enough QB to hurt you and he has weapons. Coming off a pounding in their last game, I expect the Bengals to be motivated. They’ve shown they can hang tough on the road at a difficult place to play in Seattle. This is not the time to let the mind wander. (Fans can: players cannot).
- I expect the atmosphere at New Era to be electric on Sunday. I certainly hope it is. This is a team to get excited about and a great crowd like the old days might give the Bills a true example of what the home field is like in Buffalo when the crowd truly believes in a team. It’s been a while and I don’t think there are any players on this team that have experienced a full throttle Bills crowd when they sense an entertaining, winning team.
- I’d like to see the Bills D line dominate and pressure Dalton all day long like they did Darnold. The rush wasn’t as prolific vs Manning but they did bat balls down and were concentrating on not letting Barkley go off. Cincinnati doesn’t pose that type of running game threat.
- If Andre Roberts, the Bills kick returner, dresses for the game for the 1st time this year, it will be interesting to see if Robert Foster will be inactive. It’s been a precipitous drop on the depth chart for him.
- I want to see a well executed screen pass by the Bills! It’s been so long….
- The offensive line to clean up the false start penalties and be more consistent in their pick up of stunts and blitzes. From the middle of the 2nd quarter through the 3rd quarter of the Giants game I thought they lost focus and allowed too many quick pressures on Allen. I’m not sure Cody Ford is cut out to be a tackle. Speed rushers are a problem for him but with Feliciano playing so well, I can’t see him moving to right guard any time soon. Cincinnati has a sneaky good defensive line with Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Sam Hubbard and Carl Lawson. They can get pressure and are athletic as well. It’s their linebackers and secondary that rate a big “meh” and can be exploited in coverage and in running against them.
The Bengals have beaten the Bills 4 of the last 5 times they’ve played, including 2 games in Buffalo. They always seem to be a tough game, regardless of record. 0-2 teams are playing for their season and I expect the Bengals to be no different.
3-0 sounds a whole lot better than 2-1 with the Patriots coming in. The Bills need to focus and take care of business. If they need any help in that regard, remember: last year the 0-2 Bills, outscored 78 to 23 in the first two games went in to Minnesota and thoroughly beat the Vikings 27-6.
It’s the NFL, anything can happen if the effort isn’t all out.
Editor’s babble: Thanks, as always to Joe Tauriello for his contributions to our blog. Every blog needs an ‘Old Geezer’! You can find Joe on Twitter @Joe_Tauriello.