Buffalo Bills Preseason Game One Recap

By Adam McGill

Final Score: Washington Redskins  7 – Buffalo Bills 6

Team Breakdown:

Offense: C-

The Bills’ offense looked mediocre throughout the course of the game, and the performance was very reminiscent of the second half of the 2011 season for Buffalo.  The only bright spot on offense was when Buffalo scored on a bullet pass from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to Steve Johnson, but the play was eventually called back due to a touchy illegal formation call on a running back. C. J. Spiller.  The offense also received numerous other penalties, including an embarrassing three false starts on a single drive.  Penalties have cursed the offense in recent memory, so discipline is obviously something that needs to be addressed before the beginning of the regular season.

The backup quarterback battle remains interesting; as neither quarterback did anything to solidify their position on the team’s final 53-man roster.  2011 backup, Tyler Thigpen, completed 3 of 8 passes and threw an interception in the dwindling minutes of the second half.  While his main competitor, Vince Young, was sacked three times and even fumbled the ball once while scrambling outside of the pocket.  The loser of this battle will most likely be cut, so one of them needs to start progressing to earn a spot on the roster.

The offense still has a couple of things to workout with the obvious penalty problem and backup situation. These are things that will be addressed over the course of the preseason.

Defense: B+

On the first two drives by the Redskins, Buffalo was able to limit rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Washington offense to only 2 total yards.  The new defensive line was just as mean and mobile as advertised, and the foursome completely shut down the interior of the Skins’ running attack.

Washington’s only touchdown came from a couple miscues from sophomore cornerback Aaron Williams.  Williams was playing off on a couple routes and receiver Pierre Garcon made him pay more specifically on a 20-yard touchdown reception.  Williams needs to improve soon, especially with starter, Terrence McGee’s future with the team in jeopardy.

After giving up the lazy touchdown in the second quarter, the backup defensive unit really buckled down.  They failed to let Washington score any more points really showed the depth of the unit.  The unit will be so deep all-around in 2012, with Shawne Merriman, Chris Kelsay, and either Kirk Morrison or Arthur Moats all coming from the bench.  The Bills have been plagued with defensive injuries over the last couple seasons, so it is nice to see some fresh blood in the lineup.

Special Teams: A

The Buffalo Special Teams unit looked amazing in the first preseason game and stole the show for the Bills.  Rookie kickoff specialist, John Potter, was crushing the ball off the tee, as he did not allow the Redskins to have a single kickoff return.  Potter will be a huge asset as the season goes on, especially with all the crazy rule changes on the kickoffs these days.

The Bills’ punting unit also looked very strong, as former Pro Bowl punter, Brian Moorman, was able to amazingly have 4 of his 5 punts downed inside the 15-yard line.

Disappointing Performance:  LT Cordy Glenn

Many critics were opposed to Buffalo drafting Glenn in the second round to be a starting left tackle.  He played it in college and exceled, but his 345-pound frame severely limits his mobility.  However, as many people predicted, Glenn did not look well in his NFL debut.  He was slow getting off the line and was beat on the very first play resulting in a sack of Fitzpatrick.  Glen was also called on a false start penalty.  The rookie has a long way to go to develop into a starting left tackle, so expect him to get more and more work as the preseason moves on.

Disappointing Performance:  QB Vince Young

With all the attention that Young made by signing with Buffalo in the off-season, VY has looked absolutely awful.  To follow up months of subpar quarterback play in camp, Young looked scared inside the pocket.  He completed a meager 5 of his 12 passes, for a horrid 42% completion percentage.  He also was sacked three times, fumbling once, and could not get out of his own way in the pocket. 

Standout Rookies:

Cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (First Round) and Ron Brooks (Fourth Round) played exceptionally well in the game.  They looked smooth in their backpedal and could both be playing for a spot in the starting lineup.  The duo’s play on the field could also be helping to pack McGee’s bags, while the team decides if they want to cut the former Pro Bowl cornerback.

Perplexing Call: 

The new refs called a touch-back for the Redskins when the Bills return team was literally holding the ball at the 4- yard line.  Head coach Chan Gailey still had to burn a challenge flag to get the play reversed, which is absolutely embarrassing if you actually happened to see the play.  The NFL needs to do something about the referee situation, because this could get ugly.

Next Game:

Friday, August 17- Buffalo Bills @ Minnesota Vikings 8:00PM ET

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