Alan Pergament: Cris Collinsworth may have won over Bills fans with rave reviews from teammates Josh Allen

Alan Pergament: Cris Collinsworth may have won over Bills fans with rave reviews from teammates Josh Allen

When the game ended, NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth said the ease of the Buffalo Bills’ 31-10 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night at the NFL season opener, was “pretty stunning.” I didn’t expect an eruption.”

Bills fans who love to hate Collinsworth were probably just as stunned listening to all the love he showed quarterback Josh Allen and company for more than three hours.

The game should play out like the day Collinsworth had a crush on Allen. That became apparent minutes into the second quarter as Allen dismantled the Rams offense and made his first 10 passes.

“I feel like I’m watching Tom Brady,” he said, noting that Allen played like the “GOAT” did for years. “Josh Allen reads everything, throws to the right guy every time and throws him perfectly.

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“He looks great, he just looks great,” Collinsworth said at another point in the game.

And then there was this gem after another incredible play from Allen: “Josh Allen is the favorite for MVP, and you see why.”

One of Collinsworth’s criticisms is that he talks too much, which is a weird move since he’s paid to talk. It was even weirder on Thursday night because everything he said about the Bills was positive.

Collinsworth also rightly praised defensive star Von Miller, nickel back Taron Johnson, offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, general manager Brandon Beane, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, linebacker Matt Milano and the list goes on and on. He even praised tackle Spencer Brown after committing a penalty.







Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer (21) intercepts a pass from Matthew Stafford during the fourth quarter.


Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News


It got to the point that the only Bills player Collinsworth didn’t hire was punter Sam Martin and that was only because he never got to pitch. (Martin, however, had a nice grip on an extra point when the snap was slightly off.)

Dare I say Collinsworth may have won some Bills fans?

As usual, Collinsworth, who has won 17 Sports Emmys, forcefully explained the nuances of the game, including how the Bills’ pass rush with the addition of Miller allowed the team to play the nickel tusk which she prefers.

He was excellent in describing several replays, including how the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey apparently thought he had help when Stefon Diggs blew him out on a 53-yard touchdown that gave Buffalo a 31-10 lead and won the game.

Play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico, the Syracuse graduate who is as loved in Buffalo as Collinsworth is hated, had a typically strong game. He has a high level of excitement and added his own analysis, explaining that the addition of Miller has helped other members of the Bills defensive line exploit their one-on-one matchups.

And he put a defining statement late in the game. After noting that openers like the Bills’ performance often led to overreaction, Tirico concluded the win was “a massive statement” from the Bills.

“The Rams put up a banner, the Bills put on a show,” Tirico said.







boogie burns

Buffalo Bills defensive end Boogie Basham (55) runs down after his fourth quarter interception.


Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News


Now let’s move on to more TV broadcasting highs and lows.

2.2 seconds: That’s how long Collinsworth said Allen takes before throwing passes to make up for the Rams’ Aaron Donald pass rush. He added that it was super fast. (And 2.2 seconds is a much better memory than 13 seconds.)

A great sale: On the Bills’ first touchdown on a pass from Allen to Gabriel Davis who went 26 yards to take a 7-0 lead, Collinsworth explained that the receiver had to sell that he was blocking on what looked like a run play . “He sold it beautifully,” Collinsworth said as he watched the replay.

NHF: Tirico coined a new category of quarterback after Allen’s first interception, which was caught by receiver Isaiah McKenzie which fell into the hands of Rams linebacker Ernest Jones. Tirico suggested that “NHF” should stand for “Not his fault”. Collinsworth wasn’t too critical of Allen’s second interception, which has been his fault. The analyst said Allen doesn’t expect Rams cornerback Troy Hill to undermine Bills receiver Jamison Crowder.

The first gift: After Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford’s first interception, Tirico noted that he led the league in interceptions last season and “he always gives the other guys one or two a game.”

The dances : Miller and Diggs both showed off their dance moves after big plays, a first sack from Miller and a game-tying touchdown from Diggs.

The heat: If you quibble about one thing Collinsworth said, it’s his surprise that the Bills handled the Los Angeles heat so well. It’s not December. It was actually quite warm in Buffalo a few weeks ago.

The rotation : Advertisers noted that the Bills’ defensive linemen were rotated frequently, as they did last year. “The quality of rotation has increased,” added Tirico.

Be picky: After a Bills defensive stoppage, Tirico said, “This Bills defense is picking up where it left off last year.” Not exactly. The defense finished last year unable to stop Kansas City in a devastating playoff loss. Tirico was no doubt referring to the performance of the defense in the regular season.

Fair warning: Even members of the Bills Mafia had to agree with Collinsworth when he worried that Allen would run unnecessarily in the fourth quarter when the Bills had a 21-point lead and the game was all but over.

“Really good on really good”: That’s how Tirico described the play in which Diggs caught a back shoulder pass while defended by Ramsey.







Allen to Diggs

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) falls back as he delivers a touchdown against Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) during the fourth quarter.


Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News


‘Because humor: As the Rams’ Riley Dixon pitched the first time, Tirico mentioned that Dixon graduated from Syracuse University, which is the announcer’s alma mater. “I got Syracuse. I’m good for the night.”

Miller Time: Advertisers were amused by all the talk of Miller returning to Los Angeles after winning a Super Bowl and all the love he gave his former teammates. “‘I hope they all like me,'” Collinsworth said, speaking as if he were Miller. “Leave me alone.” Tirico added, “He was only a teammate for six months (after a trade from Denver.)”

Clock management: When the game clock fell to zero before a Rams game started, Tirico spent time explaining why officials are allowing that to happen without calling a penalty.

The tackle: Collinsworth became a comedian after Stafford tackled Boogie Basham after Basham had a pass in the air and intercepted it. “I hate to say it, but the highlight for Matt Stafford is probably that tackle,” he said dryly. In fact, Stafford’s highlight was his touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp, who surprisingly got his feet in the end zone. The replay showing Kupp’s footwork was excellent.

What entertainment? : Since Martin never had to kick a punt, announcers didn’t need to address the controversy and any potential distractions surrounding the allegations that led to the release of rookie Matt Araiza.

A small nuance: That’s what Collinsworth called McKenzie’s route on his 7-yard touchdown catch, explaining that the receiver briefly delayed before making his cut to open the scoring that gave the Bills a 17-10 lead.

The cry of sympathy: Toward the end of the game, Tirico and Collinsworth addressed the undisclosed illness of Bills and Sabers co-owner Kim Pegula and hoped and prayed for her recovery. “One of our favorite people in the NFL,” Tirico said. “She’s one of the great people in the NFL,” added Collinsworth. It was a good idea.

The presence: In the second quarter, Tirico spoke about Allen’s impact on Buffalo beyond the numbers. “The presence is there. You talk to everyone, Von Miller, Sean McDermott, Gabe Davis. It’s his team and his city. “No one will argue with that,” Collinsworth added. I’m sure some haters will challenge Collinsworth’s quality on Thursday night. But when Tom Brady becomes an analyst at Fox in a year or two, he should watch a tape of Collinsworth’s performance.

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