APTOPIX Jets Bills Football

Buffalo Bills' Mike Tolbert (35) celebrates with teammate Jordan Matthews (87) after scoring a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Jeffrey T. Barnes

The Sean McDermott era is off to a promising start. 

Tyrod Taylor threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns, LeSean McCoy had 159 total yards and Jordan Poyer added a sack and interception in the Buffalo Bills' 21-12 win Sunday over the New York Jets. 

For McDermott, it was his first win as the Bills' head coach. He succeeded Rex Ryan, who was fired late in the 2016 season. 

Here is the Buffalo Bills Week 1 report card: 

GRADING THE UNITS

OFFENSE 

Quarterbacks - B+

Tyrod Taylor was effective. He didn't make a lot of mistakes and made some good throws, including a dart across the middle to Jordan Matthews that resulted in a 47-yard gain. He was inconsistent early on, but bounced back nicely. The Bills are going to need a lot of him if they're going to exceed low expectations this season. 

Running backs - A-

LeSean McCoy was a workhorse. He had 22 carries for 110 yards and added five catches for 49 yards. He was the Bills' leading rusher and receiver against the Jets, which gives you an idea of how the team will use him this season. They dumped Jonathan Williams for a reason. McCoy will carry the load going forward. 

For a change of pace, the Bills used Mike Tolbert. Tolbert finished with 12 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown. His biggest play was a nice 16-yard run early in the game. 

Receivers - D

Tight end Charles Clay had a good outing with four catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. He led the team with nine targets — a sign that he will be one of Taylor's top receivers this season. 

What's concerning is the lack of output from the wide receivers. Jordan Matthews had two catches for 61 yards. Rookie Zay Jones had one catch for 21 yards. Andre Holmes, the Bills' No. 3 receiver, had a 1-yard touchdown catch — his lone reception. Taylor needs to get more out of his receivers if they're going to compete. McCoy and Clay are good, but they can't carry the load. 

Offensive line - C-

The Bills finished with 190 rushing yards, but that's a bit deceiving. They had some big plays that helped pad that number. There were a lot of runs, though, that didn't go anywhere. Either McCoy or Tolbert got stuffed and it was because the offensive line couldn't push the Jets' defensive line back. That's going to be a problem if it continues, especially against better teams. 

DEFENSE

Defensive line - B

It wasn't flashy. There were no three-sack games. The defensive line simply got the job done against the Jets. The front four was a big reason why the Bills only allowed 38 rushing yards. Kyle Williams had one of the plays of the game when he rushed the passer, couldn't sack Jets quarterback Josh McCown and then made the tackle on a short completion over the middle. It was a hard-earned tackle. 

Linebackers - B-

A solid game for this unit. Ramon Humber led the team with 13 tackles (12 solo) in the win. Lorenzo Alexander added five tackles (three solo), including a tackle for a loss. Preston Brown finished with three tackles (one solo), which isn't what you'd expect from a middle linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. He shined in the preseason, so maybe this was just a slow start for him. 

Defensive backs - A

The best unit on the field Sunday. Rookie Tre'Davious White did a nice job in coverage. He didn't give up any big plays and nearly had an interception. Jordan Poyer was a force. He had a key interception and added a sack — the Bills' lone sack of the game. What a debut for him. Micah Hyde sealed the win with a late interception. 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicking and punting - C+

Steven Hauschka converted his three extra points attempts, but he missed a 46-yard field goal. Fortunately for him and the Bills, it didn't cost them. But you want your kicker to make those, especially in that situation. His attempt wasn't even close. The kick sailed wide left. 

Punter Colton Schmidt was reliable. He had six punts for 257 yards — an average of 42.8 yards per kick. He pinned the Jets inside the 20 once. His longest punt was 55 yards. 

Returns and coverage - B

Brandon Tate didn't have big plays in the return game, but he got the job done. He had a 23-yard kickoff return and four punt returns for 35 yards. 

The coverage unit had a good outing. The Jets didn't register any big plays in the return game. 

COACHING

Grade: B+

This grade is padded in recognition of Sean McDermott's first regular season head coaching win. Overall, his staff did a nice job. One question mark, though, will be the offense. Rick Dennison made some questionable play calls against the Jets. It wasn't a matter of the Bills not executing. There were head-scratching moments after a few plays. Maybe it was the zone blocking scheme or maybe it was Taylor's lack of time with his wide receiving corps. Either way, the offense needs some time to improve. 

OVERALL TEAM PERFORMANCE

Grade: A

A good win. The Bills got the job done in their season opener. The work continues next week in Charlotte. 

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

OFFENSELeSean McCoy. McCoy rushed 22 times for 110 yards and added five catches for 49 yards. He led the Bills in rushing and receiving, so it's tough to pick anyone else for offensive player of the game. Tyrod Taylor gets an honorable mention for his two touchdown passes and 262 total yards. 

DEFENSEJordan Poyer. The Bills' new starting safety had a sack and an interception to pace the defense. A great debut for him. Those are plays that Bills secondary wouldn't have made last season. 

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

Offensive line. The Bills' offensive line needs some work. They had some good moments Sunday, but there were times when the line couldn't open holes for McCoy or adequately protect Taylor. They weren't terrible, but they need to be more consistent. 

STAT OF THE GAME

159. LeSean McCoy's total yards against the Jets. The Bills are going to rely on him a lot this season — as long as he stays healthy. 

STAT OF THE GAME II

6. The number of penalties committed by the Bills against the Jets. That's a good showing for a team that has experienced discipline issues over the last few seasons. 

NEXT GAME

The Bills (1-0) will play at 1 p.m. Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. The game will be televised on CBS.

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