It doesn’t matter how you start; it’s all about how you finish. And what a fantastic finish we witnessed in this one today in the Buffalo Bills’ 2011 home opener.
This home opener likely will never be forgotten anytime soon. Someone must have misinformed the Bills about the whole 1 o’clock start time because they played the first half as though it were the second preseason game and not the second game of the regular season. The defense couldn’t get off the field on third down. They couldn’t pressure Jason Campbell. And they couldn’t keep the Oakland Raiders out of the end zone. After punting on their first two possessions of the game, the Raiders scored touchdowns on their last three possessions of the first half and the Bills found themselves in a world of trouble, trailing 21-3 at the half.
But then, a switch or a few switches flipped and the Bills came charging out of the locker room. They used a 35-point second half outburst for an incredible rally to beat the Raiders 38-35 to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2008.
The Bills scored touchdowns on all five of their second half possessions. Ryan Fitzpatrick stepped up his game and threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns, including engineering the game-winning drive with 14 seconds left throwing his third touchdown of the game to a wide open David Nelson. Fred Jackson was the spark needed to ignite the comeback. His 43-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter got the Bills and the fans back into the game. Jackson rushed for 117 yards on 15 carries and two rushing touchdowns, making it two straight weeks he’s rushed over the century mark. The Bills’ record when Jackson goes for 100 yards or more is now 8-1.
Buffalo needed two fourth down conversions on their final drive of the game to stay alive. Over the final 14:10, there were five lead changes in the game. In the end, the Bills were last ones standing, though they had to withstand a hail mary attempt in the closing seconds that was intercepted, then reviewed at length for nearly 10 minutes to confirm it was an interception.
Take a deep breath folks and take it all in. The Bills are 2-0 and playing some really exciting football.
Back for more later tonight as there will be plenty to talk about