The Buffalo Bills have responded to the loss suffered to the Pittsburgh Steelers in their season opener with a resounding 35-0 win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 2.
The loss was particularly disappointing to guard Jon Feliciano, who watched tape of the game six times after going home on the night of the loss. Having come up short in his matchup against Cam Heyward, the Florida native was keen on making sure he wasn’t going to get shown up on his next outing.
While not all of the snaps vs. Heyward resulted in a loss, Feliciano got the shorter end of the stick. He saw Heyward blow past him right before Josh Allen fumbled the ball due to a sack from T.J. Watt, with the fumble resulting from Allen having to evade the pocket. Another play in the third quarter saw Heyward catch him off balance and floor him.
The player was at the Bills’ training facility the next day at 7:30 am, bent on getting over the disappointment. However, he claimed to be happy it happened at this stage of the campaign.
“Sh** happens – especially with a great player like him,” he said. “He’s gonna be a Hall of Famer one day. That’s what you have to understand – he gets paid too. Although you never want that to happen, it’s gonna happen sometimes. That’s why I had to cut his ass one time when he knocked me down. I understand that I’ve got the best of a lot of people before, and you’re gonna get got sometimes. Good for Cam, and he’s just gonna make me work harder.”
Feliciano was more disappointed than most as he was the one who asked offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to have him match up with Heyward. It turned out to be a humbling experience.
“We were one-on-one most of the time. I asked for that,” he explained. “I told Dabs – don’t worry about us, we’ll be all right. Now we gotta step up to what I said.”
The former University of Miami star lost 30 pounds over the summer and the change came under criticism from fans, who blamed his struggles against Heyward on the fact that he’s gotten smaller. The adjustment wasn’t discussed with the team but was done in an effort to get healthier on the back of some serious injuries.
He also took it as a challenge when he was told someone said he could be a much better player if he lost some weight, having entered free agency after last season.
“I changed my diet around. I started watching a lot of health podcasts and stuff,” he said. “It was (about) trying to be on the field more. I didn’t want to tear another ligament. I figured if I could get healthy, I (would) cut down on a lot of inflammation. … Then next thing you know you start drinking a lot of water and you lose weight. Right now I’m hovering around 307. I’m around 305 to 312 on any given day.
“My agent said before free agency that someone said if Feliciano would lose some weight he’d be a Pro Bowler and a better player. I don’t know who said it and I don’t care who said it. But I do feel good right now. Out here running and not tired at all and just having a fun time.”
The guard plans to either gain or lose weight depending on the matchup every week but wondered if he would have had a better time playing Hewyward if he had gone up. He went lighter against the Dolphins and, with the Bills having won that game pretty comfortably, the next challenge lies against the Washington Football Team. Fans will hope to be able to take advantage of the best NFL picks for this one and the Bills are headed into it as 10/39 favorites.
The players in the Bills’ locker room rallied around each other following the loss. While Feliciano was excited to go back to Miami, he was more interested in putting in a better performance than he had in Week 1.
“There can be a lot of pointing of fingers around this league when something goes bad,” he added. “Good thing around here is when something goes bad we rally around each other. We bring each other closer and really take the us versus everybody mentality.
“Cam Heyward is a great player and I need to play better. Thank God we got 16 more games. I’m excited to play 16 more and we’ll see how things are after that. I’ll see you guys in Week 18 when we’re in the playoffs.”