ESPN.com, John Clayton – Last Call](http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/page/lastcall1402/nfl-john-clayton-last-call-week-2)
Those feel-good Bills:** In a week filled with negative stories, a positive one was the tentative agreement for the Buffalo Bills to be sold to Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula for $1.4 billion. A season-opening upset of the Bears in Chicago and a 29-10 win over the Miami Dolphins capped an incredible week for Bills fans. Not only are the Bills staying in Buffalo, New York, but all of a sudden, they are contending.
"Today was a very emotional time," said Bills president and CEO Russ Brandon of a pregame ceremony in which late Bills owner Ralph Wilson was honored. " ... To be out there when Jim Kelly got up to the podium was pretty cool. I've seen this stadium rock at times, but I've never felt like it did today. It was awesome.'' The Pegulas had to be happy with general manager Doug Whaley and head coach Doug Marrone. They gambled next year's first-round pick to acquire wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who had eight catches for 117 yards and one touchdown against Miami.
What pleased Marrone was how well the team responded when momentum started to shift. "They do a good job of feeding off of each other -- it's one team," Marrone said of his team. "They know they've got to pull their weight in all three areas."
For complete wins, it might have been the best in the league in Week 2. Buffalo's defense contained Ryan Tannehill, who was sacked four times and limited to 241 yards passing. It helped that Dolphins halfback Knowshon Moreno dislocated his elbow and pretty much left Tannehill with last year's running attack, which wasn't good enough in 2013. Lamar Millercarried 11 times for 46 yards for Miami, which finished with 80 yards rushing.
Buffalo's offense was solid, with 113 yards rushing and 202 yards passing, and the special teams were terrific. Halfback C.J. Spiller had a 102-yard kickoff return. Any time the Dolphins did something positive, the Bills had a response.
Break up the Bills. Make that the alone-in-first-place Bills. Buffalo isn't winning beauty pageants so far in 2014, but you think they care in western New York? Between last week's agreement to sell the team to local ownership in the Pegula family, and the victories at Chicago and against Miami, there's reason to believe again in Buffalo.
This is how the Bills were supposed to win this season -- with defense, a running game and solid special teams. Buffalo thrashed the Dolphins 29-10 on Sunday at a buoyant Ralph Wilson Stadium thanks to four sacks of Ryan Tannehill, two huge plays by running back C.J. Spiller (one of which was a 102-yard kickoff return touchdown) and two more impact plays on special teams (an Anthony Dixon punt block and a Randell Johnson recovery of a muffed punt). The red zone offense needs work, but that's never as glaring a shortcoming in victory as it is in defeat.
And we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the first big game turned in by rookie receiving sensation Sammy Watkins, who grabbed eight EJ Manuel passes for 117 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown, the first score of his career. If Buffalo keeps getting Manuel to take care of the football and find his playmakers like he did against the Dolphins (16-of-26 for 202 yards with one touchdown), the Bills' horrible preseason showing will soon look like an elaborate hoax designed to lull the rest of the league into a false sense of security.
Not to minimize in any way that the Bills are off to an excellent start, but they have faced two quarterbacks, Jay Cutler and Ryan Tannehill, who seemed intent on giving up opportunities (and footballs) to the opponent. Buffalo beat the Bears 23-20 in the opener in part because Cutler threw two mind-boggling interceptions, and in their 29-10 home-opening win over the Dolphins, Tannehill was missing people left and right in an unbalanced offense that saw him throw 49 passes, and that offense fell apart when Knowshon Moreno left with a dislocated elbow that will have the star running back missing 4-8 weeks.
Still, credit the Bills for doing what needed to be done, especially on defense. Cornerback Corey Graham has been playing at a lights-out level this season, and he frequently jumped routes that Tannehill's receivers were trying to complete. Linebacker Preston Brown, the man in Buffalo's plan to replace the injured Kiko Alonso, led all Bills defenders with 13 tackles. And on offense, quarterback EJ Manuel(more of a liability than not in his rookie season of 2013) was efficient enough, completing 16-of-26 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. Rookie receiverSammy Watkins caught eight of those passes for 117 yards, and C.J. Spiller was in the spotlight in the running game and on special teams, where he returned a kick 102 yards for a touchdown.
The Bills are alone atop the AFC East, and it doesn't appear to be a fluke. They're a good team, solidly built, and while the playoffs may be too much to ask for in 2014, they're certainly rolling in the right direction.
Any Buffalo Bill from the ACC
We can start with all of their Clemson Tigers. C.J. Spiller put in some work as a kick returner in college, but before last week, he hadn't been back deep for the Bills since 2011. I'm guessing that might change after this:
The Bills outplayed the Dolphins — thoroughly — the entire first half but had just nine points to show for it. Spiller's third-quarter return finally broke things open. He also finished with 69 yards on 12 carries. Yes, that's helped by one 47-yard chunk, but that's what you're getting from Spiller. When he's healthy, few guys are scarier on a given play.
It might not be long before one of those guys is Sammy Watkins. The ex-Clemson receiver sliced up the Dolphins defense on crossing routes all game, including a nifty touchdown that may not have been a touchdown but was called a touchdown, so who cares?
If Watkins is free to run across the entire field, there aren't many corners who are going to keep pace. The question facing the Bills this season was whether EJ Manuel (Florida State) would have enough time to find him open when that happened, especially with rookie right tackle Seantrel Henderson (The U) tasked with blocking Cameron Wake, who I'm pretty sure still had Tom Brady's blood in his teeth. Not only did Wake not get to Manuel — no one did. The Dolphins went sackless, and the Bills went to 2-0.
Amid what might have been the worst week in NFL history, the one fan base that actually had something to cheer about heading into Sunday was in Buffalo. The Bills were coming off an upset win in Chicago to start the year before being purchased on Tuesday by natural gas magnate Terry Pegula, who pledged to keep the Bills in town for the long haul. The crowd would salute the franchise's former owner, the late Ralph Wilson, before kickoff in a ceremony led by Jim Kelly, who has beaten cancer over the past several months. Perhaps buoyed by the purchase, a raucous Bills crowd saw their team deliver an impressive performance during the home opener as they stomped the Dolphins, 29-10. When the dust settled at the end of the day, they had claimed sole ownership of the AFC East for just the third time in the past decade. It's a great story, but can the Bills keep it up?
Photos of the week 2 matchup between the Bills and the Dolphins at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The Bills are for real. They've beaten two teams, the Bears and the Dolphins. Those two teams have beaten the Patriots and 49ers. They are going to compete in the AFC East. They run the ball well and stop the run, a fact that becomes more important in November and December in Buffalo, NY. C.J. Spiller and Sammy Watkins are big time play-making threats. E.J. Manuel is growing every day as a quarterback. Though he has some mobility, running isn't a big part of his game. I can see his progression as a pocket passer from year one to year two. They are not a team I'd want to play right now.
WINNERS: Buffalo Bills fans. What a day for the Bills. The home opener doubled as a communal celebration for Buffalo fans and their wonderful news that their team was staying put, due to the sale of the team to Sabres owner Terry Pegula. The crowd got a chance to cheer Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who is cancer free after more treatments this summer. And they got to see their Bills play a fantastic game.
The Bills are 2-0 after dismantling the Miami Dolphins in a 29-10 win. Rookie receiver Sammy Watkins, the fourth pick of the draft, announced his arrival with eight catches, 117 yards and a touchdown. The defense played great, frustrating the Dolphins' spread attack.
It was an anxious summer for Bills fans. That all seemed to be officially in the past on Sunday.
It's not about stats or highlight plays it's about what you did to help your team win. The quality of the opposition certainly plays a part as does the amount of help from teammates.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so if your guy is missing tell us about it in the comments below.
1. Sammy Watkins (BUF) +3.1
When the running game is not working and the opposition's defense is of the superior variety someone needs to step up. Why not the rookie?
Key Stat – Accounted for 58% of the passing offense at a ridiculous, league leading, 4.88 Yards per Route Run.
SB Nation, Ryan Van Bibber – What we learned in week two
4) The Bills and Texans are perfect*
Both teams own undefeated 2-0 records and sit atop their respective divisions ... just like you predicted they would back in August. Part of that is a function of schedule. The Bills opened in Chicago against a Bears team that looked like it wasn't ready for the year to start. Winning the home opener against the Dolphins was a little more convincing. They're leaning on the run to minimize exposure for EJ Manuel. Sammy Watkins came on strong this week with 117 yards and a touchdown. Buffalo hosts the Chargers next week. After that, they'll travel to Houston. Speaking of ...