The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from Buffalo’s 34-14 win over Oakland
The last time Buffalo welcomed the Oakland Raiders to Orchard Park was in 2011. Their 38-35 shootout win in Week 2 that season was part of a 5-2 start, which was their best opening to a season since 1999. Ironically enough, a win over the Raiders became part of an identical 5-2 start to the season in 2017.
Here is this week’s edition of the good, the bad and the ugly from Buffalo’s win over Oakland:
Matt Milano – For the second consecutive week rookie Matt Milano was part of a turnover, this time having a hand on two of the four turnovers Buffalo forced. First came his scoop and score late in the second quarter. CB Leonard Johnson popped the ball out of the hands of Raiders RB Jalen Richard with his helmet and Milano came racing over to pluck the ball out of the air and return it forty yards for a touchdown. Then on the punt that followed a Bills three-and-out to start the second half, Milano tracked down Richard on the return and ripped the ball out of his grasp where Mike Tolbert dove on it at the Oakland 17. Two big plays from an impressive day for Milano.
The Defense – While their banged up secondary showed some give – make that three straight games where an opposing QB threw for 300-plus yards – overall they lived up to their standard bend but don’t break mentality. After Oakland methodically moved the ball down the field for a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, they kept them off the scoreboard until the fourth quarter, forcing three turnovers in the process which resulted directly in 13 points.
LeSean McCoy – Buffalo’s star running back said the touchdowns come in bunches, and he was right, scoring for a second consecutive week thanks to a 48-yard run — his longest of the season. He recorded 151 yards on the ground, his second 100-yard rushing performance this season and first since Week 1.
Points off turnovers – Last week Buffalo managed just three points off turnovers in their win over Tampa Bay. This week, while they twice had to settle for field goals, they mustered up 13 points off Raiders giveaways.
Home Cooking – Sunday’s win makes the Bills 4-0 at home this season. The last time Buffalo began a season 4-0 at home was 1995, a campaign that ended in a 40-21 loss to Pittsburgh in the divisional round of the playoffs.
No Sacks – Buffalo began the season by notching 11 sacks in three games. Over the last four games, however, they’ve recorded just three sacks. There’s some room for improvement there.
The Seconday – With E.J. Gaines and Jordan Poyer nursing injuries, the back end of the Bills defense was down two key starters and had some struggles, particularly early on. For the third straight week, an opposing quarterback threw for 300-plus yards. Fortunately, their ability to force turnovers trumped their deficiencies for a second consecutive week.
Red Zone Defense – Oakland was a perfect two-for-two in the red zone on Sunday, which is an area the Bills defense has generally dominated.
Jordan Matthews phantom pushoff – Following a touchdown drive from Oakland on the first possession of the game, Buffalo’s offense was rolling towards the end zone looking for an answer. That is until Ed Hochuli and his cast of officiating cohorts killed their momentum with a phantom offensive pass interference call on Jordan Matthews, who picked up a first down inside the Raiders red zone on the play. Matthews did give a slight push to the defensive back at the top of his break a few yards downfield, but it wasn’t what left the defender flailing to the turf as he tried to stay with Matthews. In fact, the defensive back didn’t even fall until a couple steps after the push. A total botch job that killed the Bills momentum on their first drive.
Penalties – Buffalo tallied 11 penalties on the day for 95 yards, and a number of them were on offense when they were gaining some steam. They were able to overcome those miscues, which speaks to how well they respond to adversity, but that won’t always be the case. Certainly an area they need to clean up.