Buffalo Bills Preseason Week 2 Recap: Who’s Playing Running Back?

Injuries plague the Bill's backfield.  Photo from buffalowdown.com

Injuries plague the Bill’s backfield. Photo from buffalowdown.com

This week the Bills and Browns squared off in Cleveland. After a week of joint practices, the game played out as most Cleveland vs. Bills games do: a low scoring defensive battle. The Bills and Browns entered the game with a lot of key players injured. The Bills literally had no healthy running backs and had to sign a few undrafted or practice squad players. Three new running backs dressed for the Bills. Bronson Hill was the most seasoned of the group after being signed two weeks ago. Ricky Seale was signed Tuesday and saw a lot of playing time. The Bills also signed a running back out of Notre Dame a few years ago named Cierre Wood. To make matters worse, the Bills were also down Sammy Watkins, Percy Harvin and Robert Woods, making Tyrod Taylor’s attempt to win the starting quarterback spot a lot more difficult.

Another strong performance from Taylor.  Photo from fansided.com

Another strong performance from Taylor. Photo from fansided.com

Taylor’s play last week earned him the start against Cleveland. Despite his limited offensive talent on the field, Taylor impressed me. He converted several 3rd downs with his arm and not his legs. He had a beautiful pass to Deonte Thompson on 3rd and 8 that went for almost 20 yards. Taylor hung in the pocket as it collapsed and delivered a perfect strike to Thompson in stride. He moved well out of the pocket and made good decisions with the football. Taylor played the entire first half and ended up with a decent stat line. He went 7 of 10 for 65 yards and ran four times for 41 yards. His longest run was a nice 21-yard gain. He also had a nice 12-yard scramble for a first down. The Bills eventually lost two more receivers as Goodwin – who returned later — and Hogan were injured on back-to-back plays midway through the first half. It opened the door for Deonte Thompson and Andre Davis to show what they can do. Davis ended up with the game winning touchdown, and Thompson had a few nice receptions.

Ronald Darby had a great game after getting burned often last week. His coverage looked a lot crisper, and he ended up with two interceptions and two tackles. It was nice to see the rookie come out and play well after being abused last week. Even though the talent of the Browns QB and WRs is far from that of the Panthers, I’m sure Darby got some much needed confidence from this game.

EJ Manuel took over in the second half and played pretty well as EJ normally does against

Manuel didn't hurt his standing, but didn't help, either.  Photo from dailyreadlist.com

Manuel didn’t hurt his standing, but didn’t help, either. Photo from dailyreadlist.com

second and third string defenders. His first possession started at his own one-yard line. He had a nice scramble on the first play for 11 yards. EJ showed elusiveness trying to extended several plays by avoiding a plethora of defenders as he never had a good pocket. With time winding down in the 4th quarter, EJ drove the Bills down inside the Browns two yard line. Unfortunately a series of penalties drove them back to the 14. on a 4th down and goal from the 14, EJ made a perfect throw to Andre Davis who out leaped the defender for the Ball; scoring the go ahead touchdown. EJ went 9 of 14 for 111 yards and one touchdown. He also converted a two-point conversion to seal the victory: 11-10.

Marcell Dareus had some newsworthy comments after the game, saying that he doesn’t feel like the Bills want to keep him there after reports surfaced the Bills had offered him an extension worth around $90 million. Man, I wish I could feel disrespected by a $90 million offer! The Bills still have options with Dareus. We don’t have a franchise QB eating up cap space, so we could invest that type of money in Dareus. We can also Franchise tag him for two years if nothing could be worked out. They can free up money by restricting Mario Williams. I don’t think Dareus is going anywhere; the Bills will get a contract done.

Does Dareus already have one foot out the door?  Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Does Dareus already have one foot out the door?
Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Well Bills Fans, how do you feel after a second preseason game?  Despite all the injuries, the Bills showed good depth and hung in there against a pretty good defense. Make sure you are following us on Facebook and Twitter @wgoinbuffalo. You can follow me @jasonsins for all your sports talk needs. September 13th can’t come soon enough!

By: Jason Sins

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