The Buffalo Bills earned their first victory of the 2012 season, destroying the Kansas City Chiefs 35-17 in the team’s home opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Like last week against the New York Jets, running back C.J. Spiller proved to be the real deal carrying the ball 15 times for 123 yards, scoring two touchdowns,m and adding another 47 yards on three receptions.
This week, the Bills take on the Cleveland Browns who are coming off of a close loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, despite playing quite well. Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden bounced back from his four interception game against the Philadelphia Eagles, passing for 322 yards and two touchdowns, while fellow rookie running back Trent Richardson rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
Bills Pass Offense Vs. Browns Pass Defense
After having 32 passing attempts against the Jets, Bills’ head coach Chan Gailey dialed up just 19 pass plays for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Chiefs, throwing for 178 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson caught his second touchdown of the season, and should be able to have a solid outing this week against a depleted Browns’ secondary that will be without cornerback Joe Haden. With Donald Jones used primarily in the slot, we got to see our first glance at rookie wide receiver T.J. Graham on the outside, but he didn’t have any big plays of notice. The Bills’ wideouts will be lined up with Dimitri Patterson and Buster Skrine, who allowed Andy Dalton of the Bengals to pass for 318 yards.
Tight end Scott Chandler also proved his worth in the passing game with the absence of wideout David Nelson, catching two passes for 53 yards and a score. However, Browns’ safety T.J. Ward, who leads the team with 17 tackles, is an adequate defender that will provide a mismatch for one of Fitzpatrick’s favorite red-zone targets.
The Browns utilize a base 4-3 defense featuring middle linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who had an incredible game against the Bengals, recording five tackles, three sacks, and an interception. If the Bills want to move the ball through the air, Ryan Fitzpatrick needs to keep an eye on Jackson at all times. The versatile linebacker is often used as a quarterback spy, and has great play-making ability.
Browns Pass Offense Vs. Bills Pass Defense
Just like the game against the New York Jets, rookie cornerback Stephon Gilmore was targeted early and often by Chiefs’ quarterback Matt Cassel. However, Gilmore recorded seven tackles and defended three passes despite allowing wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to grab eight passes for 102 yards and two scores. Gilmore needs to tighten up his coverage, and will have that chance this week against a lackluster group of receivers headlined by Mohammed Massaquoi, Greg Little, and Josh Gordon. Fellow cornerback Aaron Williams was also beaten pretty badly on some plays, and lost snaps to Terrence McGee by mid-game.
Nonetheless, the Browns are playing with a rookie quarterback in Brandon Weeden, and let’s face it: rookies make mistakes. The Bills’ defensive line wreaked havoc on the Chiefs’ offensive line Sunday afternoon, with defensive tackles Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams combining for three sacks. Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, along with Chris Kelsay still haven’t really made an impact on the stat sheet, but with the double teams on Mario Williams, it has opened up gaps for the interior line to make plays.
If the Bills’ defensive line can continue to create pressure with a four man rush, expect the rookie to make some mistakes and maybe make some costly turnovers.
Bills Rush Offense Vs. Browns Rush Defense
Ever since Fred Jackson got injured against the Jets, the Bills’ running attack has been enigmatic. C.J. Spiller rushed for 163 yards last week, and is the first player since the Browns’ running back Jim Brown to average 10+ yards per carry over the first two games of the season. Led by a strong offensive line, Spiller has learned to be patient while waiting for lanes to develop and has been showing his breakaway speed almost every time he touches the ball. Left guard Andy Levitre has been a focal point of the running game, as he is often seen getting to the second level making key blocks. The Browns are allowing 115.0 yards per game on the ground through their first two contests, and there isn’t any reason to believe that trend won’t continue on Sunday.
Browns Rush Defense Vs. Bills Rush Defense
Rookie running back Trent Richardson had his breakout game last week, rushing for over 100 yards and a touchdown, but this week he faces a stingy Buffalo defensive front. The Bills have allowed 268 yards on 60 carries through the first two games of the year, but Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams should be able to clog the middle, and force Richardson to go for the home run, rather than running in between the tackles. Defensive end Chris Kelsay has been playing well against the run, and will be a key cog to the puzzle. It’s highly unlikely that the Browns pass 37 times again, so expect to see a heavy dose of Richardson, who was a Heisman Trophy candidate at Alabama last year.