It’s been a while, Bills Mafia. It’s been a while since we saw our boys take the field against another team, and it’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to write something for you. I’m so excited about both! So much has gone down in the intermediate time, and as we navigate phase two of this pandemic, it’s nice to finally have our favorite distraction back in our lives.
Josh Allen set the tone by taking the coin toss while wearing a Sean McDermott-patented floppy hat. That hat is dad material if I’ve ever seen it, and I’m sure Del Reid was proud. (Though, I’m also sure he is wondering when the Bills will invent the first cargo shorts uniform.) Allen ran around before and after the game like the 250 lb. kid that he is, and he kept it light out there. It’s fun to see. Apparently, getting paid a boatload of money did not, in fact, change the man-child that is Allen.
The Bills squeaked out a last-second victory over the Detroit Kitties, and no knee caps were bitten in the making of this game (though Ed Oliver thought about it for a second). And Buffalo’s second unit played well against Detroit’s starters, even dominating them in ways, which was certainly an encouraging fact about the talented depth of this team. If you missed the game for some reason, here are some highlights:
Now, with all that out of the way, here are 10 Things I Think I Think about the Bills victory over the Lions:
1.) Griffin > Wildgoose
Let’s be real. Both of these guys looked about as lost as Dion Dawkins in the tropics. “No shnow? For real?” Wildgoose, despite having one of the best names in the NFL, seemed completely out of sorts, unable to keep up with the proverbial speed of the game. And don’t get me wrong, so did Griffin. But Griffin also showed me some toughness; he blew up some blocks, though his tackling left something to be desired. This was pretty disappointing for a McDermott secondary, as he seems to maximize these guys, but they were not ready. Still, neither of these guys will make the final roster, and I think only one has a chance to make the practice squad. My vote right now: Griffin.
2.) Andre Smith is coming into his own
I don’t know what it is, but I constantly forget about Andre Smith. Maybe it’s his basic-ass name, or maybe it’s his (“at best, I’m on special teams”) uniform number, but Smith showed me something last night. He’s been on the Bills for a little while, and last night, he was the best linebacker on the field. He played fast, flying to the ball, and he led the team in tackles with eight in limited time. He also seemed to get his hands into passing lanes and challenged the opposing QBs (such as they are). I’ve overlooked Smith for a while, but he’s a guy I’ll be watching intently the next two preseason games.
3.) Basham and Obada: The Bruise Brothers
Every team needs some bad dudes who might play slightly through the whistle. Now, I am not talking dirty players. I am talking about guys who have a chip on their shoulder, have some nastiness: intimidators. “Jake” Basham and “Elwood” Obada looked like the Bruise Brothers out there, and they’re on a mission from God: to tear up the Quarterback. These boys are big and they are dangerous. I can imagine that they might rack up the personal foul penalties over the year, but sometimes, it’s worth it.
4.) Trubisky vs. Webb vs. Fromm
OK. First of all, you can cut Jake Fromm now for all I care. I know the dude played without a left tackle all night, but he looked sorry. We really didn’t get to see anything out of Trubisky last night in his one for two passing, which was a fascinating choice. To quote Brian Daboll, “You hand off real nice, son.” But seeing Davis Webb play methodically, moving the team up and down the field, one has to wonder if there is a potential competition going on for the Bills QB2 spot. At very least, Webb showed that he deserves to be QB3 last night, but maybe he could be more.
5.) Harrison Phillips is Star’s backup
I love Horrible Harry. The dude is a pro’s pro. And last night, he lined up exclusively at the one-technique Defensive Tackle position, making him the clear backup to Star. And I thought he held his own in that spot, looking strong at the point of attack. Remember that he began his career as a three-technique DT. The guy has a lot of potential, and despite everyone’s assumption that he will not make this roster, I wouldn’t be shocked if he found his way on. Zimmer is a great story, but for my money, I will take Horrible Harry.
6.) Tommy F*%$ing Sweeney makes his return
Yes, I was that weird guy who thought when Sweeney and Knox were drafted that it was a toss up as to who was the better Tight End. Sweeney had the better hands and Knox was the mover. I still love Sweeney, and it was so gratifying to see him out there balling after his career was threatened last season. Sweeney is not Knox, but I think there could be a place for him on this Bills roster. When I think of his upside, it is that of a true security blanket for Allen, something that Dawson “Concrete Hands” Knox cannot claim. #SweeneysWeenies
7.) Marquez Stevenson put on the Jets
To me, no return man showed a great deal of separation from the other contenders last night, but I was impressed with Stevenson overall. When he took that kickoff from six yards deep in the end zone, I thought, alright … this kid has got some guts. And then, when the game was on the line, Stevenson bailed out a hapless Jake Fromm and torched his flat-footed defender for the most important catch of the game. He showed good hands, solid burst, and a decent separation move at the line of scrimmage. It’s only one game, but I’m keen to see what else Stevenson does for this offense, especially when he has an actual professional QB throwing to him.
8.) Tyler Bass is getting a little cocky out there, and I like it
Tyler Bass is straight cash, homie. The kid is one of the more entertaining Kickers I’ve seen out there, and he’s got an attitude. It’s fun to see. If he were an old bowler, he’d be this guy. It’s easy to take for granted his three for three FG night, but it’s such a relief to have the Kicker position locked in. Keep it up, son. Keep it up.
9.) Devin Singletary… start your engines!
Man, Motor came out strong last night, and looked like the 2019 version of himself. It seemed obvious that Daboll wanted to get him going early. Like a diesel engine on a cold morning, Motor was just warming up. He looked strong bursting through the line and showed off his elite contact balance. He carried the offense for the Bills in Allen’s absence, and he proved he can carry that load. If Moss takes a step up, these two could be a fun and effective combo this season.
10.) Greg Rousseau could be that guy
Damn. Rousseau looked like the real deal last night. He bullied Offensive Tackles, using his get off and length to shove defenders back to their heels and into the Quarterback consistently. Not a lot of guys can do that. He looked like a young Calais Campbell, shoving his way up the field. The Beane-McDermott brain trust might have hit on something with this gargantuan pass rusher, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the next two games.
- How about Spencer Brown? Dude is big and can move. Watch out for him.
- Before he was injured, I was impressed by the play of Hamlin. Kid seemed pretty comfortable out there.
- Matt Haack = 44.2 Yards Per Punt? I’ll take it. And I’ve already forgotten the name of his mustachioed predecessor.
- While Breida wasn’t spectacular, Antonio Williams is going to have to show a lot more than he did last night to make this roster.
- Reggie Gilliam: two rushes for two first downs. Not bad.
- I really want to see what Hodgins can be. He finished with one catch on one target. I’d love to see what he can do with more.
- Happy birthday to Marv Levy, the greatest coach of all time and one of the best and most inspiring men I’ve ever heard.
Alright, Bills Mafia. Thanks for reading! It’s amazing to have football back, and I can’t wait to experience this season with you all. Follow me on Twitter at @adamnannini, and, until next time, where else would you rather be than right here, right now?