Estimated reading time: 7 minute(s)
Being in attendance at a game is definitely different than watching it on TV. In most ways it is far superior. It’s fun to watch it with so many other people cheering on your team. It’s great to get to see the whole field, watching plays develop live is way better than the limited TV version. The whole experience is just a lot more fun. And so, even for a pre-season contest, a great time was had by all.
Yes, the Bills lost the contest 13-10, giving up a late fourth quarter TD right down in front of us. Penalties helped the end of the drive a bit (more on that later…) but overall it was a good effort by our Bills, and again, it’s just pre-season.
Some thoughts from the game:
The New HD Screens!
This year, one of the more impressive things at The Ralph is going to be the amazing new high-definition display. It sits at the opposite end of the stadium from our seats and it’s incredible. Wow! It just blows away anything I’ve seen in a stadium before this. We found ourselves being drawn to watch the TV more than the real thing!! Too funny!
The only negative thing I could say about the new gigantic display was that the video would sometimes drop out, freeze up or just get choppy. In fact, on a replay of a pass to Peerless Price. It was a well-timed defensive play to break up a good pass from Losman, but it could have also been pass interference. The crowd watched the replay to see if a wave of disapproval needed to fall on the ears of the officials, but right at the very moment that the ball was reaching its target, the screen went blank, reappearing shortly after the play was over again. That drew a large moan from the crowd! 🙂
They also installed those ribbon boards around the walls of the stadium. They stretch across the long sides of the stadium, just above the 200-level seats. There’s always something going on those as well, whether an ad, or a graphic to get the crowd cheering, or just the scores from another game. Overall, definitely enhanced the experience at the game.
I was actually super surprised to see Lynch’s stats at the end of the game. He had 7 carries for only 19 yards. I am not looking at them now, so I don’t know what (if any) his receiving stats were, but 9 of his 19 yards came on one play (his first carry), so that leaves 6 carries for the other 10 yards. From what I saw of Marshawn, it seemed like more. He was aggressively hitting the line of scrimmage, seemed to be pretty good at finding/hitting the hole (though, by his own admission in a post-game interview, he would have liked to have done that better) and he’s shifty and powerful at the same time. I liked what I saw, even if it was brief.
Defense Came Up Big
You can look at the final drive, or you can look at the yards allowed, and say, “Wow, the defense is in for a long season!” Or, you can look at three take-aways, and again, only allowing the first team to score 6 points. It’s still pre-season, so I think our defense was caught out of position a few times again. The TD to win the game (yes, scrubs on scrubs) fooled not only the players but everyone else in the stadium I think! Great play fake.
Despite the few blunders, the Bills managed to have a great goal-line stand in the first quarter, and Terrence McGee and Anthony Hargrove had interceptions, while Coy Wire forced a fumble with a bone-crushing hit on Atlanta RB Jason Snelling. Jabari Greer had some nice pass break-ups, and overall played well again. Poz got in on several tackles (again, not looking at stats here) and looks like he is going to be a force in the defense for years to come!
Our defense against the run wasn’t too bad overall. Had some nice plays for little to no gain. They did give up some big plays, too, though. So still not sure what we’re going to get in that area. Won’t know until they start playing football for real.
Fred Jackson and Dwayne Wright
I don’t know how Shaud Williams will make the team this year. It’s odd, since they just gave him a decent contract extension. Perhaps they weren’t counting on acquiring two excellent running backs in the draft? And they did know what they had in Fred Jackson, but perhaps he is exceeding their expectations in the pre-season? Coach Jauron specifically said that he is not (because they knew what they had), but he certainly is exceeding fan expectations! The guy runs really hard, has great balance, and just seems to move the ball forward. A lot. Dwayne Wright, our fourth round pick this year, seems to be a similar running back. He looks really good out there.
The only thing Shaud has going for him is that he’s different. He’s so small, quick, and has some great hands. He can do that for sure. And, he does have experience. Perhaps, due to lack of experience, Jackson or Wright gets cut, and the other makes the practice squad… but my vote now is that we cut Shaud. I really like what I see from these two guys.
In two weeks of pre-season play, the Bills have not turned the ball over once. Not even once. They have taken it away 5 times. Plus five ain’t bad! Could be just getting lucky, but you gotta like that stat. You have a much better chance of winning when you don’t turn the ball over – and even more when you do take it away!
I have to say, this guy looks very impressive for a rookie. I know he’s playing against backups, but he’s also playing with backups! And he makes them look good! His TD pass to Roscoe Parrish was very, very impressive. It was improvised, as he was forced out of the pocket. He avoided the sack, got free enough to let a pass go as he was running left, and squeezed it in past two defenders! Great catch by Roscoe, too. I’d say from what we’ve seen so far, we will be just fine if JP is ever knocked out of a game or two this year. Great stuff from the rookie!
Last week we had one penalty for 10 yards. Last night we had a lot more. And they were drive killers. In the fourth quarter, the defense was called for holding, giving the Falcons a first and goal when I believe it was at least 3rd down, maybe even fourth. Also, I heard on the post-game show (while sitting in traffic) that there were two penalties on our centers for false starts. The CENTER? That’s pretty bad.
I know, I know. It’s just pre-season. They’re supposed to be sloppy. But to the badly timed penalties, add a few bad snaps (one was jumped on by Lynch, the other was brought under control by Losman) and a few bad throws from JP… just sloppy. In fact, there was one throw to the endzone to Price that most definitely should have gone for a TD, but was either underthrown, or mis-read or something. It is definitely just pre-season, but most of the players said in interviews after the game that they felt sloppy. They were right.
- The Outcome
OK, that’s not really a negative, but it is always more fun to win. 🙂 Overall, it felt like it could have been. The Bills played well, had some good stops on defense, and made a few good plays on offense. But, it’s still more fun to win!
The game will be televised in the WNY area again tonight. If you didn’t see it, you can catch it from Erie, PA to Syracuse, NY on your local channel (check the Buffalo Bills website for details). We may tune in to catch the plays we missed at the very beginning of the game.
We have lots of photos and a fun video from the game. If I have the time here this weekend I’ll post them from my remote location. Otherwise look for several photo slideshows and a video or two from Bills training camp, and the pre-season home opener – right here at BuffaloBillsReview.com!
Two more pre-season contests to go. These get a bit more interesting as the starters will play a good deal more in the next game, and then the final game against the Lions will give the new guys the lions share of the snaps, letting the coaches make the tough final cuts just a few days later.
We’re almost to the good stuff! Bring on the Broncos!