BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Sean McDermott’s first “game” on the sidelines for the Buffalo Bills wasn’t about results as much as it was about glimpses. Who would provide a spark once the competition elevated, with the starters in team caps standing around on the sidelines? Who might show signs of promise?
As it stands, veteran TJ Yates is the Bills’ backup quarterback behind Tyrod Taylor, but rookie fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman was the superior option for at least one game. Consider Peterman’s push for the backup job truly underway, as he led the Bills to their only touchdown of the game in a 17-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night at New Era Field.
Aside from Peterman, the other standout came at defensive line. DE Eddie Yarbrough continued his push to make the final roster, recording a sack and a tackle for loss amidst a slew of victories at the line of scrimmage. He’s officially on notice (in a good way) after following up good practices with a solid preseason performance.
Generally speaking, fans have come to expect a short stint from each starting unit in the first preseason game, but the Bills’ offense surprisingly got plenty of chances to make plays.
Taylor played three series, going 5/8 with 46 yards passing. He took a hard hit on the first series by Minnesota’s Everson Griffen and came up limping, later receiving treatment in a trainer’s tent before returning to action. Taylor completed each of his first three passes, all to Sammy Watkins, who finished with 4 catches for 39 yards.
Despite being listed as active and taking part in warmups, LeSean McCoy did not see any action. In his place, second-year running back Jonathan Williams made the most of his carries, averaging 9.8 yards per touch to finish with 39 yards rushing. Free agent addition Mike Tolbert also showed some burst, running four times for 27 yards.
Noticeably absent from the box score was rookie WR Zay Jones, who wasn’t targeted and hardly saw the field; an inauspicious debut for the #Bills’ second round pick (and presumed opening-night slot receiver). New Bills WR Anquan Boldin was not active; neither was Shaq Lawson or Cordy Glenn, each dealing with minor injuries.
Peterman checked into the game late in the third quarter, replacing a mostly ineffective Yates. He went right to work and looked effective, going 6/8 for 44 yards on his first drive (with 22 yards rushing to boot) en route to a 1-yard TD pass to Dez Lewis, bringing the Bills within a touchdown. That would be the final score of the game for either team, as Peterman dealt with miserable pass protection late in the fourth quarter and simply did the best he could not to get crushed. He finished 13/25 for 112 yards and the lone touchdown.
The Bills head to Philadelphia next Thursday.