Joe Flacco hit Mike Wallace for a 66 yard touchdown in the second quarter and that was about all the fireworks in this defensive struggle as the Ravens beat the Bills 13-7 on opening day in Baltimore. That score gave them a 10-0 lead that would hold up. The Bills lone touchdown was a half yard plunge on a fourth down run by LeSean McCoy. Justin Tucker hit field goals from 50 and 37 yards out while Dan Carpenter missed his only attempt from 49 yards out. Tyrod Taylor had a rough homecoming throwing for just 111 yards on 15 of 22 passes thrown.
The Turning Point:
Wallace Bomb: On a 3rd and 1 play instead of handing it off Flacco went deep as he had Mike Wallace in a mismatch against Duke Williams he beat him easily and then Williams attempt at a tackle was futile. The 66 yard touchdown gave the Ravens a 10-0 lead.
The Big Drive:
The 2nd FG: The Ravens took 5:59 off the fourth quarter clock on a 13 play drive that went 59 yards that included a weird leverage penalty on Jerel Worthy that kept the drive alive another two minutes. Flacco completed a pass to Dennis Pitta for 27 yards on the drive that overcame two sacks.
Stat I Did Like:
Turnovers: The Bills didn't turn the ball over at all and forced one turnover and had one fourth down stop.
Stat I Didn't Like:
First Quarter Total Yards: 114-2 in favor of Baltimore and no Buffalo first downs.
Scene Setters: -Jerry Hughes and Zach Brown missed the first players bus to the stadium. Instead of waiting for the next bus, which would have been fine, they jumped in an uber and recorded their trip on instagram. - Adam Schefter reported before the game that Sammy Watkins isn't 100% recovered from his foot surgery. - Today's team captains were Tyrod Taylor, Corey Graham, Ronald Darby, Zach Brown, and Cyrus Kouandjio. - The 911 pregame ceremony included the fans chanting USA, a message from President Obama. Lorenzo Alexander wore a fireman's hat. -Duke Williams got the surprise start in place of Aaron Williams who missed a lot of time in the preseason with a concussion.
Key Matchup Results:
The winners of the battles highlighted in our preview article: LB Preston Brown vs. QB Joe Flacco: Winner: Brown. The defense communicated great and were the reason they were still in the game at the end. RB LeSean McCoy vs. LB C.J. Mosley: Winner: Mosley. McCoy flashed on the touchdown drive but did little the rest of the game. WR Sammy Watkins vs. CB Jimmy Smith: Winner: Smith. Watkins was held to four catches for 43 yards. LB Jerry Hughes vs. RT Rick Wagner: Winner: Hughes. He was all over the field and had two sacks.
Keys To The Game Results:
How the keys highlighted in our preview article turned out: 1. Survive The Wave: Failure! The Ravens took a 10-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter and dominated most of the first half. 2. Play Disciplined Football: Failure! Four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties are unacceptable. 3. Tyrod's Emotions: Failure! On the surface he wasn't rattled but he never is. His nerves seemed to come out with some very high throws in the first half.
This game was there for the taking the entire second half but the Bills just wouldn't or couldn't take it. It was a horrible performance by the offense while the defense had a valant effort to keep them in this game. It's a tough opener to lose considering they will look at the tape and know they had their chance to win it. One of Taylor's issues heading into this year was the failure to pull out games in the fourth quarter. He didn't help his cause by going three and out when they had their final chance to drive for a go ahead score.
The Bills season gets off to a fast start as they have their second game in five days coming up. They will host the Jets in their home opener under the lights on Thursday night. If that isn't enough they will be retiring Bruce Smith's number at the game.
Jerry Hughes - He had two sacks and was all over the field.
Colton Schmidt - Three of his six punts ended up inside the 20. He helped the defense out more than the offense did.
Tyrod Taylor - Just couldn't get anything going in this game. Several overthrows and penalties didn't help.
Reggie Bush - Three carries, -4 yards. I rest my case.
Duke Williams - Shouldn't have been one on one with Wallace but he wasn't even in the same zip code of him when he caught the ball.
Greg Roman - His offense seemed out of sync and lack of communication with wasted timeouts and a delay of game penalty.
Dan Carpenter - Was great in the summer but not when it counted. He missed his only field goal attempt.
Ronald Darby - Dropped a pick six and struggled in coverage.
Player Of The Week
Jerry Hughes - Was the best player on the team in this game.