There was plenty of blame to go around for season-opening losses by the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, but with three days between games and an AFC East rival ahead Thursday night in Week 2, each team turned the page quickly.
Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman stood up and faced the music Monday afternoon, a day after his offense turned in one of the team's worst performances in recent memory.
Buffalo's total offense output of 160 yards was its worst in 10 years, and its lowest in a season opener since 1979. Roman accepted blame for a game plan that never got into sync.
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“I will definitely take the blame myself,” Roman said. “I think I can do a better job putting us in positions to be successful.”
What was so odd about what took place in Buffalo's 13-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens is that Roman never allowed the Bills to get into any rhythm.
Buffalo did take the last meeting in the series – and the past five – to bump the Jets out of the playoffs in the final week of the 2015 season.
“We know each other pretty well,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “They're still tough. Rex is smart. He understands the game very well.”
The most glaring issue Week 1 for the Bills was the lack of deep throws dialed up for Tyrod Taylor, something in which the quarterback excelled last season in his first year as the starter. His longest pass was a 33-yarder on a broken play to tight end Charles Clay, and the only other pass that topped 10 yards was a 19-yarder to Sammy Watkins.
“We weren't able to get into a rhythm and take those shots when we wanted to,” Roman said. “We got a little bit disjointed. We have to stay on the field. When we do that, we're pretty darn good.”
There were five instances in which the Bills faced second-and-8 or longer where Roman called for a run, and none of those plays produced a first down. Only once did Buffalo recover and get points, and that was on its lone touchdown drive in the second quarter.
The Jets sacked Andy Dalton seven times but the Cincinnati Bengals rattled away a 23-22 win in Week 1.
The job that stares Roman in the face is trying to get the offense on track against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL in Thursday night's home opener against the Jets (8:25 p.m. ET). Baltimore was stout in the front seven and did a great job overpowering the Bills' offensive line, and things will likely get tougher in this game against the likes of Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams. Wilkerson, dealing with ankle and toe issues, has been limited in practice and is listed as questionable.
“They have so many good players up front,” center Eric Wood said. “All of us have to show up each play because any one of them can really embarrass you. Another tough test, and we've got to play better this week.”
And the Bills will have to do so without left tackle Cordy Glenn, who will miss the game with an ankle injury, while leading receiver Sammy Watkins (foot) is listed as questionable. Glenn played half the game last week before exiting. Cyrus Kouandjio took over and, like the rest of the line, struggled.
To a man, the linemen are thrilled to be playing on Thursday night because it allowed them to quickly wash away that lousy performance in Baltimore. Wood said they were already working on the game plan on the flight back from Baltimore because of the time crunch, and he said it had a cleansing effect.
“I think it was a blessing in disguise to get that stinker out of the way and move on and have a great opponent like the Jets coming up,” Bills guard Richie Incognito said. “It was great to turn the page fast and get on to the Jets.”
“We are a very prideful group and we know what we're capable of and we didn't play up to our potential. When you have a poor showing like that early in the season it leaves a poor taste in your mouth. So we're coming out extra motivated. We're fired up.”
Thursday's contest is the 111th regular-season meeting between the teams. Buffalo leads the series 59-51.