Football is officially back at Ralph Wilson Stadium as the Buffalo Bills hosted the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night in a rematch of 2015’s regular season opener. The atmosphere was electric in Orchard Park for the Bills-Colts preseason matchup in what could be one of the final games in the stadium under its current name.
Rex Ryan’s first-team defense looked sharp using an effective mix of stunt blitzes and run recognition to frustrate the Colts’ offense. The second/third unit was later gashed for a long touchdown on a screen play that took advantage of the aggressive scheme, but there was some encouraging play especially from the rookies in the 19-18 loss.
Adolphus Washington: The rookie-third round pick from Ohio State was impressive in his first game as a pro. He was active against the run early as he and Jerry Hughes teamed up to stuff a play for a negative gain in the first quarter. Washington later ripped down a running back in the hole for a limited gain and also disrupted the opposing quarterback by pushing the pocket on a passing play.
Adolphus played with a high motor and looked tough in his first NFL game action and will be a contributor on Rex’s defense this season if he continues to compete like he did on Saturday. The defensive lineman finished with two tackles and high praise from just about anyone that was watching.
Kevon Seymour: With all of the Kevon Seymour hype coming out of Bills training camp, it was good to finally see this kid in live action. His first tackle was on a 6-yard gain in which the receiver caught the ball in front of him along the sidelines only to be immediately taken down by the cornerback.
Kevon’s big moment came later on a two-point conversion attempt by Indianapolis in which he ripped the ball out of Quan Bray’s hands in the endzone for an interception. It was a fade pattern towards the back pile-on and both players got their hands on the ball, but Seymour was able to wrestle it away from the receiver for the impressive takeaway.
The former USC Trojans’ four-year player also broke up a long pass down the sidelines in which he held great position, got his hips turned around and was stride for stride with the receiver before knocking the ball down. Seymour did get called for a pass interference shortly after, but notwithstanding the rookie finished with two tackles and one pass break up in what was an excellent NFL debut.
Preston Brown/Zach Brown combo: The two Brown’s in the middle of Buffalo’s defense should be making a lot of noise this year. Early in the first quarter they teamed up on a nice run stuff for no gain. Preston seems to be playing well within Rex’s scheme as he showed good patience waiting for a running back to bounce it outside and then smothering him for minimal yardage. He also timed a blitz perfectly to almost force a turnover along with safety Corey Graham.
Zach showed off his elite coverage skills as he broke up a pass and was in good position for most of the night. There is no question this duo is fast, but effectively stopping the run will be a major key for them this year. Preston finished with four tackles and one QB hit while Zach totaled two tackles and one pass deflection.
IK Enkampali: The third-year defensive end was a force in the first half pressuring the quarterback at least three times and making a couple solid plays against the run including help on a tackle for a loss of 3 yards. He also pushed the pocket flushing the quarterback out but did jump offside twice before leaving the game with a leg injury.
IK was wreaking havoc before his leg got caught in an awkward position and he fell to the ground, summoning the stretcher. I would say he was pushing for a starting role but it sounds like he’s suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Bonus – Lorenzo Alexander: The veteran linebacker looked solid on special teams coverage and made a few nice tackles in the field. He also had good enough pass coverage on a play that went for 7 yards on a 3rd and 8, tackling the receiver before they could get to the first down marker. Alexander recorded three solo tackles and seems to be a good fit for this defense.