The third game of the NFL preseason is traditionally when starters get the most playing time in preparation for the regular season. That certainly was not the case on Friday in Landover, Maryland as the Buffalo Bills visited the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.
Rex Ryan decided to sit a large contingent of his core players for the weekend match up with the potential of more injuries being a major concern. Fine by us as the tweak in personnel gave extra opportunities to other players who are fighting for a final roster spot on the team.
From offensive line woes, to missed tackles to a veteran play maker showing he’s still got some juice, here are five takeaways from the Bills 21-16 loss to the Redskins:
Reggie Bush: Earlier this summer the notion around Bills camp was that Reggie Bush was going to return punts and have a very limited role in Greg Roman’s offense. That still may be the plan but if Friday’s performance is any indication of his potential impact the former Heisman trophy winner may force Buffalo’s hand.
Bush totaled three carries for 17 yards and used good vision in following his blockers for easy gains. He was hitting the hole hard and showed a sharp burst up field into the second-level. It was especially encouraging to see him break a tackle and get up field for a short gain on third and three that moved the chains. Reggie’s signature elusiveness was also on display during a punt return where he avoided three Washington defenders, including stiff-arming the last to the ground after initially fumbling the punt.
Offensive Line Struggles: Buffalo’s offensive line had a forgetful performance in week 15’s loss last season against Washington and on Friday night those woes continued. The unit didn’t protect its quarterbacks or running backs all that well as it allowed two sacks and eight plays that were blown up in the backfield for a loss by missed assignments.
Right tackle Jordan Mills almost got Tyrod Taylor killed as #91 went right around him on the very same play that Richie Incognito and Eric Wood got mixed up in the middle, resulting in a sack. T-Mobile also took a massive blindside hit by an untouched blitzing defender that should have been picked up by someone if not the QB himself. Overall, Buffalo’s quarterback’s were under pressure all night even though the offense did rush for 144 yards on 30 attempts for 4.8 per carry.
Defense Missing Tackles: There could have been even more but by my count the Bills defense missed eight tackles in the first half. The blame was widespread as rookie cornerback Kevon Seymour missed two tackles, safety Duke Williams whiffed along the sidelines on WR DeSean Jackson, cornerback Sterling Moore missed another big one that led to a touchdown and linebacker Kroy Biermann missed two himself among others. Many of these were also in the open field which lead to big gains and ultimately gashed Buffalo’s D as they allowed twenty points in the first half.
Kevon Seymour has work to do: With starters Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore sitting the game out, Kevon Seymour got an opportunity to start. It was an up and down performance form the rookie corner as made a couple solid plays in coverage but also missed a few tackles and gave up a nine-yard touchdown to Pierre Garcon.
He did show good downfield coverage on Garcon as he was step for step with the receiver on a long incomplete pass, but also gave up multiple receptions including a long first-down to Vernon Davis. Seymour shows the ability to stay tight in coverage but definitely needs to improve his tackling. He finished with four tackles and actually left early with a hamstring injury.
Jonathan Williams: This is the third “takeaways” post I’ve written about a Bills preseason game and it will be the third time mentioning Joanathan Williams. After being stuffed up for little gains on his first five attempts, Williams hit the hole hard, juked out a defender and bounced off another on his way to a 37-yard touchdown run. It was the highlight of the night for the Bills offense. Williams finished with 42 yards on 11 carries and one score.
— NY Sports Biz (@NYSportsBiz) August 27, 2016
Between him and Bush, the Bills definitely have some talent at running back behind LeSean McCoy and Mike Gillislee. Hopefully his ribs are alright after that cheap, after the whistle, should-have-been-penalty, fine warranting, loser takedown Duke Ihenacho put on the rookie at the end of the third quarter. The Redskins safety should be fined and maybe even suspended.
Corey White Can Play: Reserve cornerback Corey White basically said he came to Buffalo because of assistant coach Rob Ryan and his defense. White played under Rex’s brother with the New Orleans Saints and has been making a push for a role on this team. With more playing time up for grabs he started off with a missed tackle on a run but then came away with a circus-like interception where he was in great position and deflected the ball which ricocheted upwards and fell into his arms.
He couldn’t stop Jackson on an eight-yard gain and also got beat by Garcon but the receiver dropped the pass. White showed good speed as he was step for step with Jackson on a long pass but didn’t look for the ball which can be a problem. He did force the incompletion and had another nice pass breakup along the sidelines. He finished with two pass deflections and three tackles.
Walter Powell Continues his Case: The wide receiver was on the outside looking in on a recent 53-man final roster projection but Powell is doing his all to make the team. He led the team in receiving with five grabs for 55 yards, a few of those being tough, athletic receptions. Walter also had a thirty-something yard punt return with a few nifty moves. He was injured on the last play of the game as well.