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Wide receivers AWOL in Bills' win

(TSX / STATS) -- ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor said it had everything to do with matchups and how they wanted to attack the New York Jets defense, but the lack of involvement by Bills receivers was a red flag in the season-opening 21-12 victory.

Taylor threw 28 passes and only eight were to wide receivers Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones or Andre Holmes. The results were four catches for 83 yards and a touchdown. One was a short pass over the middle to Matthews, which he turned up field for a gain of 47 yards. Another was a 1-yard touchdown pass to Holmes.

Taylor threw deep only once, and it fell incomplete, and he spent the rest of the day throwing to his backs and tight ends.

"We knew going into this game the 'backers were something that we had to take advantage of match-up wise," Taylor said. "We didn't think that those guys could stop Shady (LeSean McCoy) and Charles (tight end Charles Clay) coming out of the backfield and as well just working them into the middle of the field. Those outside targets will definitely come, but it is a game of matchups, and each game is going to be different. We have to be able to take advantage of those matchups."

Buffalo's wide receiving corps has been a worry since general manager Brandon Beane traded Sammy Watkins, and then was hit with a double whammy when Anquan Boldin retired just two weeks after joining the team. That left the Bills with only Matthews, who was acquired in a separate trade the same day Watkins was shipped out, plus Holmes and Jones, Buffalo's second-round draft pick. Behind them, there is nothing that any NFL secondary would be concerned about. Only one other receiver - Brandon Tate - played on offense and only for two snaps.

Despite being with the team barely a month, Matthews is the leader of the unit based on his three productive years with the Eagles, and he is not worried about the low production in Week 1.

"We won, and that's the main thing," he said. "The biggest thing about our team, I can tell, is we're a mature bunch. So, we're not going to say, 'OK, just because we won, there's not things we can correct, things we can get better at.' As receivers, we've got to take it upon ourselves, like OK, what did we do in the pass game, on certain plays where we could have come open. That's my biggest focus. We're going to go back to figure out what we can do to get better."

The Jets are terrible, and the concern for the Bills is when they start matching up with better teams, teams they have to outscore to beat, the passing game has to be more effective. Teams will sell out to stop the strong Buffalo running game and dare the Bills to beat them through the air and as presently constituted, it doesn't appear the Bills will be able to do that.

--The Bills had pretty good fortune in terms of injuries. They made it through training camp and the preseason fairly unscathed, and the only players inactive with injuries for the opener were defensive tackle Jerel Worthy (concussion) and rookie linebacker Tanner Vallejo (knee). The only injury reported after the game was a shoulder ailment suffered by cornerback E.J. Gaines, who was unable to return to action.

One player the Bills were concerned about was left tackle Cordy Glenn, who missed a huge amount of time with a lingering foot problem. However, Glenn was able to start and he played 73 percent of the offensive snaps with rookie Dion Dawkins spotting him.

"Build him up, build him up, acclimate, acclimate," head coach Sean McDermott said of the Bills' plan to get Glenn back up to speed after he played just two series in the preseason and missed much of the offseason program and training camp. "Just trying to put him in a position to be successful as well with coming off of the injury so I thought he did some good things."

--The entire defensive backfield is new this year, and in McDermott's zone-based coverage scheme, communication is going to be imperative. After one game, it was all systems go in the back end as the Bills did a nice job locking up a lame Jets passing offense.

New safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer each made an interception, and rookie cornerback Tre'Davious White dropped another. There were very few mistakes, meaning this was a good game to build on, but things can only get more difficult given how terrible New York's passing game is.

"It's only one game," said McDermott. "We want to win, and we got that done today. We were fortunate to get that done. Like I said, the important part was we came out and we played good, solid football. Good, fundamentally sound, aggressive, tough football. That's what we were looking to do, is to create that type of identity and I thought we put ourselves in position to do that in all three phases so it was good to see."

NOTES: QB Tyrod Taylor completed 16 of 28 passes for 224 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran eight times for 38 yards and picked up a crucial third down with his legs that led to Buffalo's second score. ... RB LeSean McCoy was the best player in the game as he rushed for 110 yards and caught five passes for 49 yards. ... WR Zay Jones made his NFL debut, but caught only one pass for 21 yards despite playing 86 percent of the snaps. ... WR Jordan Matthews made his Bills debut and caught two passes for 61 yards, one a critical third-down reception, the other a run-after-catch 47-yarder. ... SS Micah Hyde made a fourth-quarter interception in his Bills debut. ... FS Jordan Poyer had a big Bills debut as he recorded the team's only sack and also made an interception in the fourth quarter. ... DT Marcell Dareus played 59 percent of the defensive snaps and did not record a statistic. His name was absent from the scoresheet. ... LB Ramon Humber led the Bills with 13 tackles and he played all but one defensive snap.

--FB Patrick DiMarco played only 20 snaps as a blocker, and he caught one pass for five yards. ... CB Tre'avious White was one of only four players who played every snap on defense and the rookie first-rounder had two pass breakups and four tackles. ... CB E.J. Gaines suffered a shoulder contusion, and his status won't be known until Wednesday.

Updated September 11, 2017

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