Game Recap

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GAME RECAP: Bills fall to the Chargers in home opener

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Location: New Era Field, Orchard Park, NY

Regular season records: Buffalo (0-2), Los Angeles (1-1)

In a nutshell:

The Bills woke up on both sides of the ball in the second half, but they ultimately couldn't overcome the dynamic Chargers offense, dropping their home opener by a score of 31-20.

Following a lackluster first half, Buffalo's offense improved in the third and fourth quarters, breaking off a few big plays and scoring their first touchdown of the season. The Bills outscored Los Angeles in the second half. Unfortunately, they were unable to overcome the 22-point deficit they entered halftime with.

The Bills' defense also improved dramatically in the second half, holding the Chargers to just three points. Lorenzo Alexander was a consistent playmaker for Buffalo on Sunday, totaling seven tackles and a sack.

With the loss, Buffalo fell to 0-2 on the young season.

Game photos from Buffalo's home opener against the Los Angeles Chargers.

How it went down:

-     Los Angeles' second drive of the day started in Buffalo territory following an offensive holding penalty on a Corey Bojorquez punt. Philip Rivers and company quickly drove down the field, ending the three-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams. The Chargers took an early 7-0 lead.

-     The Chargers took another three minutes off the clock in the first quarter with a six play, 61-yard drive midway through the frame. Melvin Gordon capped off the drive with a 20-yard run for a touchdown (14-0).

-     Buffalo found new life on a drive late in the first quarter. Following a third-down stop, Chargers cornerback Desmond King took an unsportsmanlike penalty, giving Buffalo a new set of downs. Josh Allen then connected with tight end Charles Clay on a 21-yard pass to put the Bills into field goal range. Stephen Hauschka gave Buffalo their first points of the day early in the second quarter, sinking the ball through the uprights from 43-yards out (14-3).

-     It took the Chargers just five plays to get 75 yards down the field on their first drive of the second quarter. Rivers finished the series off with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Gordon (21-3).

-     Los Angeles constructed a methodical 12-play, 81-yard drive in the second quarter, taking nearly seven minutes off the clock. Gordon found pay dirt for the third time of the game with less than two minutes remaining in the half, catching a 2-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to give the Chargers a 25-point lead (28-3).

-     Buffalo got the ball back with 1:55 remaining in the half. On the second play of the drive, Allen connected with Zay Jones on a 57-yard completion, setting the Bills up at the Los Angeles 18-yard line. Buffalo finished the six-play drive with another Hauschka field goal, this one from 40 yards out (28-6). 

-     The Bills came out strong in the second half. LeSean McCoy put Buffalo in Chargers territory with a 27-yard rush on the second play of the drive. Allen then put the Bills in the red zone with a 24-yard pass to Pat DiMarco. After a few Allen rushes and a Melvin Ingram horse collar penalty, Buffalo found the end zone for the first time of the 2018 season when Chris Ivory took the ball in from one-yard out (28-13).

-     A Kyzir White interception set the Chargers up deep in Bills territory midway through the fourth quarter. Los Angeles was only able to travel 11 yards on the seven-play drive, however, settling for a 24-yard Caleb Sturgis field goal (31-13).

-     Josh Allen completed the first touchdown pass of his career late in the fourth quarter, capping off a 12-play drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin (31-20)

Subplots:

  • Rookie quarterback Josh Allen started the first game of his NFL career on Sunday. He completed 18 passes for 245 yards.
  • Allen and Zay Jones connected on a 57-yard pass late in the second half. This was Buffalo's longest completion since January 1, 2017, when Cardale Jones connected with Justin Hunter on a 64-yard touchdown pass.
  • Jerry Hughes recorded his 36th sack as a Bill on Sunday. With the sack, he gained sole possession of the eighth spot on Buffalo's list of all-time sack leaders, breaking a tie with Marcell Dareus.
  • With less than one-minute remaining in the game, Kelvin Benjamin caught a touchdown pass from Josh Allen. The touchdown was the 20th of Benjamin's career.
  • Zay Jones finished the game as Buffalo's leading receiver, catching two passes for 63 yards.
  • Lorenzo Alexander, Jordan Poyer, and Tremaine Edmunds finished the game as Buffalo's leading tacklers, all recording seven.
  • CB Vontae Davis, DT Robert Thomas and DE Nate Orchard made their Bills debuts on Sunday.
  • Inactive for the game were OT Conor McDermott, OG Wyatt Teller, OG Ike Boettger, TE Khari Lee, WR Ray-Ray McCloud, DE Shaq Lawson, and CB Taron Johnson.
  • The announced attendance for the game was 69,187.

Up next:

The Bills will take on the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium next Sunday, Sept. 23. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

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