BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Even thought their first two opponents aren’t exactly Super Bowl contending teams, the Bills still did what they’re supposed to do and beat inferior teams to start the season 2-0.
But now they face their first challenge of the season, the first of many tough opponents this season as the Rams come to Orchard Park in week three.
They’re also 2-0 to start the season after beating the Eagles last week, 37-19 in a game where all three of Jared Goff’s touchdown passes were to tight end Tyler Higbee.
“The Rams have a really good tight end who’s capable of having a big day as well like he did on Sunday so we’re gonna have our work cut out for us being able to protect the middle of the field and being able to track him and other areas,” Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said.
Higbee ended with five catches for 54 yards and those three touchdowns. This is an area the Bills struggled in last week when the Dolphins attacked the middle of the field and took advantage of Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano not playing. That’s when Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki thrived and ended with eight catches for 130 yards and a touchdown.
“We just have to pay a little closer attention to those high profile tight ends and try to do a better job of getting our players in position to be able to defend some of those crossing routes, some of those routes in the middle of the field,” Frazier explained.
With that in mind, the Bills are hoping they can get Edmunds and Milano back this week. There’s still no word on what their status is for the game but head coach Sean McDermott said they should know more as the week goes on.
Besides Higbee, Cooper Kupp and former Bills wide receiver Robert Woods are other primary targets for Goff in the Rams’ passing game.
“They’ve done a terrific job in LA, Sean [McVay] has those guys rolling now for the last few years, led them to a Super Bowl so it’s a challenging offense. They do a lot of things to dress up some what are simple plays they dress it up really well with a lot of motion and movement but the chess match is getting your players in position and then seeing if your players can make those plays when they’re in position. That’s what we’ll be working to do, try to put them in position and then trust that they can make those plays when they’re in position,” Frazier said.
In their win against the Eagles, the Rams got it done through the air and on the ground as Goff threw for 267 yards and those three touchdowns while the Rams rushed for 191 yards with Robert Woods running for a touchdown as well as Darrell Henderson Jr.
Through the first two weeks of the season, the Rams are 5th in the league in yards per game with 435.5. They also average 236.5 passing yards per game (9th in the NFL) and 172 rushing yards per game (3rd in the NFL).
However the Rams are dealing with some injuries at running back as Cam Akers left the game after just three carries with a rib injury. Head coach Sean McVay said Akers is dealing with separated rib cartilage and is considered day-to-day so there is a chance he could play this week against the Bills.
Malcolm Brown also fractured his left pinky during the game but McVay said Brown got that fixed and it should’t impact his ability play this week. The Rams will be without starting left guard Joe Noteboom after he left the game with a calf injury. McVay said Noteboom will be out against the Bills.