Bills vs. Chargers: Three keys to a Bills victory
By DJ Eberle
BuffaLowDown’s DJ Eberle breaks down the Buffalo Bills’ Week 2 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, including three keys to the game.
Well, that was not an ideal start for the Buffalo Bills.
In fact, it felt eerily familiar. Just like Nathan Peterman’s first career start a season ago against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Sure, Peterman might have only thrown two interceptions, but the result was the same. The former Pitt quarterback was pulled after halftime and the Bills lost in embarrassing fashion.
What followed also strikes the same chord as a season ago. Peterman has been benched and Josh Allen will make his first career start on Sunday.
The Bills enter the game as massive home underdogs, and, quite frankly, the laughing-stock of the league. So the pressure will be off of the rookie.
Let’s see what Allen does as the starter.
You know the drill, each week during the regular season this column will provide the three ways the Bills can secure a victory. So, without further ado, here are the Three Keys to the Game for the matchup against the Chargers, which kicks off 1 p.m. Sunday at New Era Field on CBS.
Establish the run game
For a team that is known to run the ball, the Bills didn’t do a very good job of it against the Ravens.
Heading into Week 2, Buffalo ranks 25th in the league in rushing.
That must change if the Bills are going to have any success with Josh Allen.
LeSean McCoy is the team’s most talented player and eight touches isn’t nearly enough. Obviously, game trends took away opportunities from McCoy, but to only have seven opportunities to carry the ball, that isn’t a recipe for success.
While the Chargers defense is stout, only one player sported a Pro Football Focus grade higher than 63 against the Kansas City Chiefs. That was Darius Philon, who recorded an 85.1.
With Joey Bosa out again, the Bills will have an opportunity to pick on Isaac Rochell, his replacement. Rochell graded out at a 37.9 against the Chiefs.
This could be an opportunity for a rebound game for the offensive line.
Get After Philip Rivers
The Chargers offensive line was already a weakness and now they’re down starting right tackle Joe Barksdale.
This group finished with the league’s fourth-lowest pass blocking grade a season ago, according to PFF. That trend carried into Week 1 against Kansas City.
Offensive guard Dan Feeney struggled, giving up six pressures and a sack, while Barksdale’s replacement, Sam Tevi, also gave up six pressures.
The key, however, is to cash in on these pressures. The Chiefs weren’t able to as Philip Rivers went off for 424 yards.
Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy, Kyle Williams, Lorenzo Alexander and co. need to make the most of their opportunities in the backfield.
Take some shots
Look, at this point, what do the Bills have to lose?
It’s only one game, but Buffalo is a massive underdog in its own stadium and is currently the laughing-stock of the league.
Allen’s greatest skillset is arm. He has the ability to throw the ball to areas of the field that Peterman couldn’t.
The Bills should give Allen an opportunity or two early to take a shot down field. At the very least, it’ll open up the box a bit.
Prediction: Chargers 24, Bills 17
It’s tough to pick the Bills right now after the performance they put up in the opener.
However, we’ll see some progress in this game.