The Buffalo Bills will welcome fans to Highmark Stadium for the first home game of the season when they host the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday afternoon.
For Josh Allen and the Bills offense, it will be a chance to put last week's 22-16 loss to the Jets behind them.
"A lot to learn from," Allen said Wednesday of his four-turnover game on Monday Night Football. "Excited to get back out on the field and wash that taste out of my mouth."
The Bills will host a familiar face in Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels, who spent 14 non-consecutive seasons as the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots before taking the reins in Las Vegas. McDaniels was part of each of the Patriots' six Super Bowl-winning teams.
"[McDaniels] has a history of going against the Bills and us against him and his offensive system," Bills head coach Sean McDermott said to the media this week. "He does a great job, extremely smart, does a great job game-planning."
With a talented running back in Josh Jacobs, who led the NFL in rushing yards last season, and a coach that favors the rushing attack in McDaniels, the defense is preparing to face a run-heavy offense complemented by an elite receiver in Davante Adams.
"That's the type of ball that McDaniels likes to play," said Bills safety Micah Hyde on the Raiders' two-running back tendencies. "So we gotta be ready for it. Great running back and offensive weapons on the outside with [Davante Adams] and [Jakobi Meyers], whether he's gonna play or not. But they got some weapons and a good team, so they're going to come in, they're going to test us and be a big challenge for us."
Meyers, a former receiver for the New England Patriots, sustained a concussion in the Raiders' season opener against the Denver Broncos and is questionable to play Sunday.
The Bills will face another notable former Patriot in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who spent three seasons as a backup for Tom Brady before playing for the San Francisco 49ers. This is his first year in Las Vegas.
"Me and Garoppolo had a lot of games against each other when he was with the 49ers, I know him well," said defensive end Leonard Floyd. "He's just a good quarterback. … He really knows his plays, he's good at the quick game, he's efficient with the short pass."
For defensive end Greg Rousseau, watching film from McDaniels and Garoppolo's earlier stops in the NFL helps him prepare for a quarterback-coaching duo that has only one game under their belts.
"You can kind of look where the coordinators were from before," Rousseau said. "So like if McDaniels came from New England, you could watch the New England film to try to get a feel for the offense. And then Garoppolo, you can watch some San Fran stuff or you can watch the (Week 1) Denver game. … You just got to do a little bit extra digging."
From their NFL debut to their Highmark Stadium debut
Two rookies played a big role in the Bills' offense Sunday night. Tight end Dalton Kincaid and right guard O'Cyrus Torrence made their NFL debuts, and each saw significant playing time.
The Bills frequently ran 12 personnel in Week 1 and Kincaid was on the field for 55 of the 69 offensive plays run. He caught all four of his targets for 26 yards. Kincaid's size mismatch with the Jets' defensive backs led to him tallying up 21 yards after catch, a statistic the Bills were intent to improve upon after finishing with the sixth-fewest YAC in last season.
"I thought he played well, found himself some ways to get open," Allen said. "I thought he played smart. I thought he did a good job with the ball in his hands of getting north and getting some extra yards. That trust with me and him will grow over the course of the season."
Torrence played all 69 snaps and did a nice job of protecting Allen, allowing zero sacks. He also played disciplined football in a rowdy MetLife Stadium against one of the best defensive lines in the league, finishing the game without committing a penalty.
"One thing I love about him is his poise," McDermott said. "He doesn't seem to be shaken by those types of challenges in that environment."
Torrence called his first NFL game a "great experience" and said that playing in a live game is the best way to develop as a young player. As the Bills look towards their home opener, Torrence recalled the fans' high energy at practice and the preseason.
"I'm expecting for it to be crazy and expecting for it to be probably one of the best home games that I've been to in my football career," Torrence said. "They showed out for the first preseason game, so I'm excited to see how they're gonna come up for the first home [game]."
The Bills will take the field at Highmark Stadium Sunday at 1 p.m. in Orchard Park.
Check out what Buffalo's uniform combination will be for the 2023 home opener