But it's unrealistic to expect the defense to hold Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to a touchdown and two field goals as they did Chad Henne and the Dolphins.
That's put the onus on Buffalo's offense to iron out some early growing pains under new coach Chan Gailey, whose debut as chief play-caller was less than encouraging.
The Bills could muster just 166 net yards, nine first downs, 3.1-yards per pass and 23:07 in possession time against the Dolphins.
Quarterback Trent Edwards threw for just 139 yards, with 91 coming on one drive, and rookie running back C.J. Spiller, the No. 9 pick in the draft, was held to six yards on seven carries in his debut.
So much for fixing Buffalo's offense, which ranked 30th in yards a year ago.
"We played well enough to win in a lot of areas but offensively we didn't play well enough and that's my responsibility," said Gailey, who was last an NFL head coach with Dallas in 1999.
That's also the last year Buffalo made the playoffs. Meanwhile, no Bills coach has ever won his opening day debut and Gailey kept that streak intact.
Gailey promised the Bills would be unpredictable and creative on offense but they were one-dimensional against Miami. Gailey called passes on eight of Buffalo's first 12 plays (not counting punts). Edwards couldn't move the team through the air and the Bills never could establish the run when they tried.
Spiller's longest run was six yards as he averaged 0.9 yards per attempt. Veterans Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch fared better but never got the work, finishing with just seven carries combined. Buffalo finished with 50 yards on the ground.
"I did a poor job of getting it designed," Gailey said of the running game.
Spiller's confidence doesn't seem shaken.
"It was our first game and hopefully we'll learn from this," he said. "I know it's not the best I can play."
It's not the best Edwards can play either, but the four-year NFL veteran can ill afford to stumble out of the blocks like this. He lost his starting job last year to backup Ryan Fitzpatrick before earning Gailey's trust during training camp.
Now he goes on the road for back-to-back difficult tests.
"There's no reason to be down or disappointed and we need to come back next week," Edwards said, offering no reasons how the Bills would do that other than watching film.
Lineup watch: Keith Ellison will start at middle linebacker after Paul Posluszny suffered a knee injury against the Dolphins. Posluszny was scheduled for post-game tests and it appeared he could miss some playing time.
Under the radar: Chris Ellis. The third-year linebacker had five tackles, a sack, one tackle for a loss and two quarterback hits against Miami starting in place of Reggie Torbor (chest). Ellis has made a smooth switch from end to outside linebacker in the 3-4. The Bills' pass rush collected three sacks and eight quarterback hits against the Dolphins.
Spill the beans: Running back C.J. Spiller, the No. 9 pick in April's draft, had a rough debut in Sunday's loss to Miami. He carried seven times for 6 yards and caught four passes for 8 yards. His blocking was very poor and several times was met in the backfield by defenders.
It's not Brohm: Quarterback Trent Edwards threw for 139 yards and one TD in Sunday's loss to Miami. He was erratic and could've thrown at least four interceptions had Miami defenders held onto the ball. Former Packers second-round pick Brian Brohm was the emergency third quarterback behind Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.