Buffalo Bills Pre-Season Week 1 recap: Rise of Taylor the Triumphant

The Bills lost their first preseason game on a last second touchdown giving the Panthers a 25-24 win. OK, there, I got it out of the way: the only negative thing you can say from last Friday’s game. I love writing when I’m so excited I don’t even know where to start! Could the Bills have finally found their QB?

One of these things is not like the other.  Photo from buffalowdown.com

One of these things is not like the other. Photo from buffalowdown.com

Matt Cassel got the start, and he looked like we all expected him to look. He threw a bunch of hitch routes no longer than 15 yards downfield. The first drive ended in a punt, and the second ended in a botched field goal attempt. The running backs, however, look amazing! McCoy is fast and shifty as advertised. He missed an inside run that he might have been able to take to the house if he didn’t bounce outside. He even mentioned it during his press conference, so he knew it. There’s a new “Beast Mode” in town, and his name is Karlos Williams. Wow! I love Fred Jackson, but he’s got some competition to stay on the roster at 34 years old. Though Williams was taken to the hospital Monday when he woke up with pain in his side but no word on the severity.

Tyrod dives for more yards.  Photo from syracuse.com

Tyrod dives for more yards. Photo from syracuse.com

Taylor made his debut at the end of the first and instantly electrified all of us with his scrambling ability. Three of his first five plays were runs that were not planned and helped get us into the red zone. He did show a flash of his strong arm by throwing semi-deep to Goodwin who couldn’t quite track the ball for the over the shoulder catch. It was an effortless looking throw so I can’t wait to see him really unleash. The drive was capped off by a 1-yard run by Karlos Williams. Taylor led the Bills to back-to-back scoring drives. Again, Taylor went to Goodwin who turned a 9-yard pass into a thrilling 20-yard gain. Karlos Williams was constantly moving piles of men. Most backs run into a pile and get engulfed, but each time he hit a pile, the pile moved 2-3 yards. Midway through his second series, Taylor showed Russell Wilson like elusiveness but evading what appeared to be a sure sack and was able to hit Karlos Williams out of the back field and get a first down. A few plays later on a designed QB run, Taylor was stopped a few yards from the first down but was able to gather his feet quickly to dive and extend while falling out of bounds. It was quite the play. Bryce Brown took over after that and broke a long powerful run to get into the red zone, which hethen capped  off with a rushing touchdown. Brown looked really good and could push out Fred Jackson since he does special teams as well. It’ll be an interesting cut down day later this month. There’s a lot of talent on this team.

There was no surprise the defense looked the part, keeping the Panthers to only three yards rushing in the first half. The only weak spot was the play of rookie CB Ronald Darby. He was constantly getting beat by the Panthers much taller wide outs. It wasn’t all bad as he did have a few break ups and almost got an interception, but he was beat for 91 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully, this was that “welcome to the NFL” moment, and he will bounce back as the preseason goes on.

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The controversial pick up of IK Enemkpali actually looks like a very good one for the Bills. On his first two plays he showed great speed and almost got to the QB. Jarius Wynn was injured Monday in training camp, and that could open the door for Enemkpali on the roster. He definitely looks like a talented guy and has a Jerry Hughes-type pass rushing ability. Keep an eye on him this season if he makes the cut. Another player to watch is Deonte Thompson. The WR corps looked deep but the injury bug struck today at camp. Goodwin and Hogan left practice early Monday due to heat issue and Watkins was banged up. Thompson has great size and speed and showed it on the 51-yard TD from EJ Manuel last week. Goodwin can’t stay healthy, and Hogan isn’t as sure-handed this year as in years past. With only two spots really locked down by Watkins and Woods, the other three or four spots are wide open.

The referees had a rough game, getting several calls blatantly wrong. The most obvious call was the touchdown from Derek Anderson in the 3rd quarter. The replay showed him well past the line of scrimmage before throwing the ball, but

Karlos Williams stood out with the 2nd team.  Photo from buffalowdown.com

Karlos Williams stood out with the 2nd team. Photo from buffalowdown.com

they upheld the touchdown. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen in a meaningful game.

This week the Bills square off with the Browns on Thursday night after a weeks’ worth of joint practices with them. The game could be a little more competitive looking than other games because I’m sure guys are building up some animosity this week toward players on the other team. I’m sure there’s some competitiveness between Rex and his former understudy Mike Pettine as well. Taylor is taking first team reps this week and will start. Can he repeat last week’s performance against first team players right out of the gate?

Well Bills fans, what do you think? It’s only one preseason game, but are these the same old Bills? I personally loved watching Rex on the field; he’s truly a field general. The Bills talent is evident, so will this finally be the year? Make sure you are heard and hit us up on Facebook and Twitter @wgoinbuffalo. Make sure you’re following me @jasonsins for all your sports needs. This is definitely OUR TIME!

By: Jason Sins

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