The Buffalo Bills were able to hold off the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland on friday night to get their first win of the preseason. However, this win did not come without casualties as Kyle Williams, A.J. McCarron and Cory Carter were all injured in different capacities on the way to the victory. These injuries slightly overshadow my excitement over how well the Bills played, but there are certainly some positives to take away from the game on both sides of the ball.
After a shaky first drive, the Bills defense showed that they have the potential to be special this season. Rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds made plays all over the field and showcased the skill set Bills fans have heard so much about. For a 20 year old, Edmunds is a special talent that could easily be the best player on the Bills roster in the near future. The first-team secondary looked just as good as last week, allowing few completions and making things difficult for former Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Something that concerned me was the ease with which the Browns were able to run through the Bills’ front seven. I am not sure whether this was due to the lack of push created by the defensive line or the linebackers not filling the running lanes, but the run defense was less than impressive. New signing Star Lotulelei did not have a good game, missing a chance to bring down Taylor in the backfield and getting thrown around by the Browns offensive line consistently. I am starting to wonder what exactly the front office saw in him and if he is worth the contract he was given.
This game was an absolute nightmare for McCarron. His first pass of the game went right through the hands of Kelvin Benjamin, and he was unable to do anything at all in his limited amount of time on the field. There were a lot of concerning things that happened while McCarron was under center, but the Bills inability to move the ball during this time was not completely his fault. The receivers were creating little to no separation from the Browns secondary, and the offensive line gave McCarron almost no time to extend plays and look down the field. After such an impressive performance in the first preseason game, all the momentum McCarron gained looks to be lost after this performance and him suffering a hairline fracture in his collarbone.
Running back Marcus Murphy followed up his incredible performance in the last game with another strong showing Friday night. He looked like an asset in the backfield, the passing game, and on special teams. He may have carved out a niche for himself on this roster, in some capacity.
Lastly, but certainly not least, Josh Allen looked great. Jalen Ramsey’s comments about Allen must have lit a fire under him, because he looked significantly better than last week. The talent was always there, but he is starting to live up to his hype. He had a few inaccurate or bad throws, but for the majority of his time on the field he was gunslinging and completing passes to anyone and everyone.
Allen threw his second touchdown of the preseason after dodging a defender and finding Rod Streater in the end zone, and he has yet to throw an interception.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) August 18, 2018
With the injury to McCarron, Bills fans could see Allen as their starting quarterback sooner than expected.