Buffalo Bills vs Chicago Bears Week 1 Recap

Bills 23        Bears 20

It was time to see what kind of team we have and this first game was going to start to tell us the story. Preseason was long and had us not feeling great about our team, but we all knew that preseason meant squat and now is go time! 

The Bears kick off to us and just like preseason; Coach Marrone has C.J. Spiller back to receive the kick. I have stated my feelings on this being absolutely ridiculous and here we go again in our opener.  

The ball goes out of bounds in the end zone. It was time to start our offensive season at the twenty. Spiller would run twice for only 5 yards total, then EJ Manuel threw his first pass behind TE Chris Chandler and we had to punt. This was not the start we were hoping for.

The Bills new punter Jordan Gay punts it and Marcus Easley makes a great play for us on special teams and the heavily favored Chicago Bears are ready to start.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was ready and in this pass happy offense, our defense needed to be at their best. His first pass goes to running back sensation Matt Forte for two yards.  On second down Cutler hits WR Brandon Marshall for a beauty that results in a first down.  The bears have a phenomenal WR group and on the next play Cutler throws to another one of them and hits WR Ashton Jeffrey for a 44 yard bomb completion. Bills CB Leodis McKelvin was defending and looked real bad on this one.

JAY CUTLER

JAY CUTLER

Cutler wasted no time in then finding TE Martellus Bennet wide open for the first touchdown of the game. LB Preston Brown slipped and this left Bennett wide open for the easy score. 
This game looked like the Bills we saw in preseason and nobody in Buffalo was very happy. With a completed extra point by Bears kicker Robbie Gould the Bears led 7-0.

Spiller was back again to receive the kick and this time ran it back to our 25 yard line. Spiller took some shots and it’s just a matter of time before this kickoff job takes him out for good!

EJ looks determined and now starts to pass. First one is a beauty to WR Robert Woods who catches this screen pass for 12 yards.

EJ MANUEL

EJ MANUEL

On first down Fred Jackson runs for 5 then 2 and its third down. EJ throws downfield to Woods again and this great throw and catch results in a 32 yard gain. EJ looks better than ever!
What Preseason?

EJ is then forced out of bounds but still picks up 6 yards. Fred runs for another 2 and it is third down again. EJ finds Sammy Watkins our new WR sensation for the first down.
What is impressive at this point is EJ’s poise.
Jackson runs to the two yard line and its second and goal. Manuel lines up like he is going to hand off, but instead keeps the ball and runs in easily for the touchdown.  I cannot say enough how impressed I was on this drive and EJ showed us a completely different quarterback than what we saw in preseason. With Dan Carpenter’s kick, it was now 7-7.
On the kickoff, Marcus Easley was again there to make the tackle.
Cutler immediately passes to Jeffery for 12. Forte runs for 3 then catches a screen for the first down. Matt Forte is a phenomenal player and was a workhorse for the Bears.

Cutler then throws an incompletion when CB Corey Graham is there to break it up. Graham was a former Bear who was starting due to Stephon Gilmour being hurt and not able to play.

Cutler feels pressure and throws another bad ball and on next play Mario Williams sacks him with help from Kyle Williams. 

The tide was turning!

The Bills continue to look impressive and on the next offensive series EJ throws to Watkins and Frank Summers for 5 yards total. Then on third down EJ once again comes through finding Watkins for the first down. Time after time on third down, EJ gets us the first down. It was great to see! Watkins already had 3 catches for 31 yards at this point. What a great way for this rookie sensation to start his career.

EJ is then sacked and throws his first really bad pass to Jackson and its third and 11. This time EJ is forced out of bounds after gaining 7 and we have to punt.

The first quarter was over.

The Bears would turn it up and Matt Forte would run for the first down, then two more runs and again another first down by him. He seemed unstoppable. What a runner!

Cutler then airs it out the next two plays to both Marshall and Jeffrey and another first down was had.

The Bears are moving down the field and Cutler throws to Marshall, but Leodis Mckelvin causes a fumble and Preston Brown recovers and runs for some nice yardage. The Bills were in great shape.

Anthony Dixon was in at running back and ran for 5 then Spiller for 5 which resulted in a first down. The Bills were mixing it up real good!

Dixon runs for 6, but Spiller this time loses a yard creating another third down. A screen pass to Jackson does not get the first down and we have to go for a field goal and Dan Carpenter nails it for a 10-7 lead.

The Bears were on the move when Cutler threw a terrible pass that was intercepted by Corey Graham. Graham was all over for us in this game and came up with this key interception at the right time!

COREY GRAHAM

COREY GRAHAM

The Bills had the ball on the Bears six yard line and EJ immediately threw to C.J. who ran in for the easy touchdown. With Carpenter’s kick it was now 17-7.

The Bears would get aggressive and Mckelvin would be called for pass interference and they were on the move. The Bears were running and passing at ease when Brandon Spikes and Mario Williams got another sack forcing a second and long. Leodis Mckelvin could not stay with Bears WR Marshall who caught a nice one. The Bears would though, go nowhere and had to punt.

Fred Jackson was back to return this punt and I was again swearing at this occurrence. With all going well, it’s ridiculous to be doing this with our starting running backs.

This time, Fred actually fumbled the ball, but luckily we recovered. Yikes!! This experiment has to stop!

Anthony Dixon ran like the wind for a huge gain to the Bears 47. Then, with us getting in field goal range, Chris Chandler is called for pass interference and it becomes third and 21. We do not get close and we have to punt. This was huge as a field goal here could have made it a 2 score game. 

It was now halftime.

The Bears would throw an immediate pass that would go incomplete.  

The Bills would try to blitz more but the Bears pass happy offense moved the ball and another long one against CB Nickell Robey cost us big time. The Bills tightened up enough to force a field goal and it was now 17-10.

The Bills knew they had to start playing well again and after a short run by Spiller and an overthrow by EJ to Watkins, it was a crucial third and 7.

EJ came through with a nice throw to WR Mike Williams for the first down. Then after a couple decent runs by Spiller, it was again a crucial third down. This time Manuel threw his worst pass that was intercepted and it was looking like past seasons where we blow it after playing good at the start.

The Bears would get lucky on a pass that was deflected, but the ball crazily still found a way to a Bear player and this was all they needed as their time was coming. Cutler threw an 11 yard pass to Brandon Marshall for another easy touchdown and with a Robbie Gould kick, it was tied at 17.  Mckelvin was on Marshall.

The Bills desperately needed to score.

The Bills would do nothing on the next drive and punt away to the Bears.

The fourth quarter would begin and the Bears also were stopped by decent defensive play by the Bills and it was getting to the nail biting stage. We needed to score!

This time the Bills had Mckelvin back to return the punt. This makes more sense to me with his background at doing this and with more capable cornerbacks that I feel should be our starters.
The Bills would do nothing on offense and Jordan Gay punted once again.

The Bears would once again move the ball with great runs by Forte and throws to Bennet. On third down Cutler threw a bad one that went to DT Kyle Williams who intercepted his first pass in the NFL. This was huge!

The Bills would now move the ball and with 6 minutes to go, Manuel threw a high ball that Robert Woods jumped up for and caught like a 20 year veteran. What a catch!

ROBERT WOODS

ROBERT WOODS

The Bills would get close but have to settle for a Dan Carpenter field goal and they were up 20-17 with only 4 minutes remaining.

The Bears were confident as Forte ran for first down. On the next play, Corey Graham pushed bears WR Marshall out of bounds before he could get his feet in after he caught it in the air. Graham was great all night and proved without any doubt that he should be our starter!

Forte then had a big run to the Bills 39. Cutler then threw to him for 10 yards and Bills fans were sweating like pigs! Forte would receive yet another pass to the Bills 9.

MATT FORTE

MATT FORTE

My internal advice to the Bills at that point…COVER FORTE!!!

Cutler then throws an incompletion because of Cory Graham and the Bears have to settle for a field goal. Gould hits it and were tied 20-20.

With 2 timeouts the Bills have the ball on their own twenty. There is thirty seven seconds left. Now I believe we should go for it. Teams that play conservative end up losing most of the time. Show confidence in our offense. You might never have the chance to win it.
Again, there was plenty of time and 2 timeouts!! Let’s do it!!

But Marrone has Manuel kneel down and we go to overtime.
The Bills team captains call heads and its tails. The Bears want it first. If they scored a touchdown, the game would be over. If the Bears score a field goal, we would need to tie it with a field goal, or win it with a TD.

Here we go…
Forte runs 13 yards for a huge gain. Cutler throws incomplete as Robey had good coverage. Then a throw to Bennet and it became a third and seven. Cutler tries to get it to Santonio Holmes but he throws it right between the numbers of Mckelvin. He should have caught it and ran all the way for the win. But he dropped it! Mckelvin was just awful in this game! 

The Bears punt.

The Bills can win it!

C.J. runs for 13. EJ hits Mike Williams for 19. WERE MOVING THE BALL! Fred runs for 5.  He then takes the next hand-off and runs and runs…like Freddie only could, all the way, nearly reaching the goal in as he dives near the sideline cone. Fred threw a stiff arm that was legendary and showed why he is one of Buffalo’s most valuable players. What a run when we needed it!

FRED JACKSON

FRED JACKSON

On the one yard line, Manuel takes a knee to center the ball for the kick.

The ball is only 22 yards away. We win if it goes though the goal posts. Let me reiterate…the posts are very close! 

The whistle blows and were called for not getting the play off! WHAAAATTTT! Tell me this just did not happen! But it did. 

Why is nothing easy!

5 more yards!

The ball is now placed 27 yards away. I try to relax as we can still win this thing and have a victory where no one thought we could.

Carpenter kicks it with authority…right through and we WIN!

DAN CARPENTER

DAN CARPENTER

Halleluiah…halleluiah…Halleluiah!

What a game! We did it!

EJ was great going 16 out of 22 for 173 with a TD and only 1 bad decision that resulted in an interception.  Freddie had 61 yards on 7 carries. Corey Graham was awesome and should be our starter with Stephon Gilmour. Leave Mckelvin as a backup if these guys get tired and for punt and kickoffs! The Defense did enough to have turnovers and stops when needed. Our offense looked excellent with EJ in command. 

Now were home against Miami. 
Nothing better than that! Can’t wait!

Michael Okun
Sports Reporter for The Herd Report.