Arrow Up/Arrow Down: Bills-Panthers

August 17, 2019
Categories: 

The Buffalo Bills couldn't have asked for a better overall week in the Carolinas.

From Spartanburg, South Carolina to Charlotte, North Carolina, it was a solid, competitive two days of practice followed by a dominating preseason performance in a 27-14 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Throw a dart and it will hit someone or something that deserves an Arrow Up after this one, but there are only so many I can give out before my fingers start to hurt from typing.

So here it goes:

 

ARROW UP

  • QB - Josh Allen

The Bills' second-year quarterback was calm and poised in the pocket. He made good decisions and was on target. Just a really good game overall from Allen, who finished 9-for-11 for 102 yards. Of the two incompletions, one was a drop by LeSean McCoy and the other was essentially a throw away that landed at the feet of the target as he was heading out of bounds.
 

  • QB - Matt Barkley

If it was possible for Barkley to have a better night than Allen, he might have. He finished 8-of-10 for 110 yards and a touchdown for a passer rating of 145.8. Barkley has had a very good training camp, throwing with excellent anticipation. That continued Friday night.
 

  • WR - Cole Beasley

Allen and Beasley continue to grow and find chemistry together. The wideout was targeted five times and caught all five passes for 44 yards. He really knows how to get open and run precise routes.
 

  • WR - Duke Williams

Williams needed a big game and he had one. He caught three balls for 38 yards, including a terrific grab for a touchdown that showcased his size. The former Canadian Football League standout was forgotten about in recent weeks, but suddenly has to be considered a viable option for the team as a candidate to make the 53-man roster.
 

  • TE - Tommy Sweeney

After a drop last week and and another in a Spartanburg practice, Sweeney really needed to have a solid night and he did just that by catching two big passes for a total of 47 yards. One was an excellent corner route and the other was down the seam. Allen was the quarterback for each, and Sweeney did a great job with the routes and catches.
 

  • RB - Christian Wade

Here we go again. After Wade became a story of the league last week with his 65-yard touchdown run on his first-ever touch, he followed it up with a 48-yard catch and run on his second touch, getting tackled just shy of the end zone. It was also how the run developed, with Wade breaking tackles, getting away from defenders, then keeping his balance down the field.
 

  • CB - Kevin Johnson

Johnson’s 70-yard interception return for a touchdown really put a stamp on a dominating first half for the Bills.
 

  • LB - Deon Lacey

There’s quite the battle right now for the backup linebacker spots and Lacey did his part to keep his name squarely in the mix, finishing as the game's leading tackler with eight stops, including one for a loss.
 

  • DE - Trent Murphy

Murphy showed why when he’s healthy, he can truly be the impact end the Bills signed him to be last year. He finished the night with a sack, a tackle for a loss, and a quarterback hurry in his limited action.
 

  • Third down defense

The Panthers only converted 2-of-13 third down conversions (15%). That’s on the heels of last week’s 4-for-16 (25%) performance against the Indianapolis Colts, allowing their first two opponents to convert only 6-of-29 (20%) third downs so far in two preseason games.
 

  • First half pass defense

The Bills pass defense was stingy in the first half while the starters, especially were mainly playing. They allowed a total of only 93 yards passing in the first half, and Panthers’ quarterbacks to complete only 12-of-25 attempts (48%).
 

  • PR - Andre Roberts

Roberts showed why he’s an All-Pro return man in his one and only opportunity. It was a terrific 37-yard punt return that set the Bills up in great field position at the Carolina 35-yard line.

 

ARROW DOWN:

  • K - Stephen Hauschka

For the second week in a row, Hauschka missed a makable kick. This one was a 48-yard attempt. After last year’s struggles, it’s starting to become a bit of a concern.
 

  • RB - Senorise Perry

Just like fellow running back T.J. Yeldon last week, Senorise Perry fumbled on his first carry of the game, then never touched the ball again.
 

  • Penalties

The Bills committed 11 penalties for 100 yards. Counting those that were declined, they committed four penalties on one drive to start the second half. Kyle Peko and Shaq Lawson both had roughing the passer calls against them for going high on the Panthers quarterback, and Mike Love was called for a leveraging penalty on a 58-yard field goal attempt that was no good. Too many penalties and too many bad penalties.

 

THE BIG PICTURE

This was exactly the type of performance any coach wants to see from his team in any game, preseason or regular. The Bills dominated the Panthers from the start and just kept it rolling.

Allen was very impressive from his decision-making to his accuracy. He had a very good week overall, going back to the two practices in South Carolina. His on-field relationship with Beasley just keeps getting better and better, which is a great sign for an offense that was severely lacking that type of player and dimension last year.  

The defense continues to show that it’s not only talented, but deep. With only two preseason games left, time is running out for some players to make a good enough impression to make the team, and in the end there will be some solid football players on the outside looking in.

Next week is a big one for this team’s preparation for the regular season. After having the starters play only a quarter each of the first two games, they’ll probably get quite a bit of work in against the Detroit Lions, who should also have their top players going for much of the contest. As much as what we’ve seen has looked pretty good for the Bills so far this preseason, next week we’ll see even more, and maybe be able to make more complete judgments on certain players. The game will also be on national television, which always gives players a little more bounce in their step and increases the intensity.

It should be a good opportunity to get an even better feel for the 2019 Buffalo Bills. So far, those feelings are pretty darn good.



 

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