LOS ANGELES (WIVB) — During the offseason, the Bills invested a lot in revamping this defensive line to create a effective pass rush and that was on full display in a dominant performance over the Rams in week one.
The Bills beat the defending Super Bowl champs, 31-10 at SoFi Stadium and made a huge statement in the NFL season opener on Thursday night. It was the highly anticipated return to Los Angeles for Von Miller and in his Bills debut he did exactly what they brought him in to do.
As a team, the Bills ended with seven sacks and Miller had two of them.
“To come here and have success it felt good man, it felt right. LA has a special place in my heart, Super Bowl 56 will always have a special place in my heart and my teammates over there and all the coaches and the infrastructure of the team, they’ll always have a special place in my heart. It felt like I was playing against my brothers over there, you want everybody to come out healthy, you want everybody to have a good game but you want the guys over here to score a little bit more and you wanna win the game so we got that done. Everybody balled out today,” Miller said after the game.
“Yeah loved it, gotta be able to get there with four and we were able to do that tonight so I thought it was a great, great first game for those guys,” head coach Sean McDermott said in his postgame presser.
The Bills made life miserable for Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford in this one not only with seven sacks but 15 quarterback hits as well.
“I felt the d-line, I mean you could feel them making an impact, factor into the game. When you can do that it helps you in the back end as well so I thought within the defense the rush was helping the coverage and the coverage was helping the rush and it timed up well,” McDermott explained.
That especially helps when playing two rookie cornerbacks with Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford splitting time. Benford actually got the start over Elam opposite of Dane Jackson who had an interception in the first half.
McDermott also emphasized how important it was for their young pass rushers to take the next step in their development and start contributing in a “primary role” and this game was a big first step towards that as A.J. Epenesa had 1.5 sacks while Greg Rousseau and Boogie Basham each had one. Basham also had an interception.
“They were great man, they were great, I think everybody had a sack or interception or did something great today. Coach Washington had us ready to go and those guys went out there and played their ass off,” Miller said of the young defensive linemen.
“Everybody was ready to go, you could look in their eyes and tell that everybody was hungry and everybody wanted this game and everybody expected success today and went out there and took it one play at a time and here we are.”
Jordan Phillips also made his presence known in his first game back with the Bills ending with 1.5 sacks while Jordan Poyer picked off Stafford as well.