Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott opted to play his team’s starters for the first half of action, whereas the Green Bay Packers kept Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the first-team unit on the sideline. As such, Buffalo cruised to a 19-0 win in this preseason Week 3 contest.
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Josh Allen and the Bills came out of the gates in pass-happy fashion. They dialed up a pass play 12 straight times on the opening drive, but Allen didn’t take many risks. That was true until he threw a 32-yard laser down the middle of the field for a touchdown. On his 10 passes before the touchdown, Allen’s average depth of target was 2.4 yards. From then on, it was 10.2 yards. Allen finished with four completions over 10 yards downfield on the day.
Jake Fromm was blitzed on over half of his dropbacks but overcame the pressure. While none of his three deep pass attempts ended up being caught, two were big-time throws and at the receivers’ fault.
Good news: played every (or nearly every) snap on Josh Allen's first preseason drive
Bad news: The Bills dropped back to pass 11 straight times
— Kevin Cole (@KevinColePFF) August 28, 2021
Devin Singletary played 15 snaps and didn’t see a single carry. He caught a couple of passes on first down, but neither turned into a major gain.
Zack Moss didn’t produce any explosive runs, but he did break a couple of tackles on four carries and catch a touchdown pass.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Stefon Diggs didn’t play in this one, but Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders and Gabriel Davis all saw considerable playing time. All three saw at least four targets on their 20-plus routes. Davis was the one who made the most of his opportunities, turning two of his five receptions into a gain of 15-plus yards and breaking a couple of tackles. In all, he generated 2.68 yards per route run.
|Player||Routes||15+ Yard Rec.||Yards Per Route Run|
|WR Gabriel Davis||28||2||2.68|
|WR Emmanuel Sanders||28||0||0.96|
|TE Dawson Knox||25||0||0.24|
|WR Cole Beasley||24||1||2.17|
Buffalo’s starting offensive line had a rough showing against Green Bay’s depth pieces. The interior offensive line, in particular, struggled. Jon Feliciano, Mitch Morse, Ike Boettger and Cody Ford each had multiple losses in pass protection. Boettger didn’t start but swapped with Ford. Offensive tackle Daryl Williams was the only player from the starting unit who didn’t have multiple such losses.
Ed Oliver, Jerry Hughes and Justin Zimmer were the only Bills defensive linemen who tallied multiple pressures upon first review. First-round pick Gregory Rousseau notched a quarterback hit on an unblocked play, and second-round pick Boogie Basham didn’t have any pressures on his 24 rushes.
A.J. Klein was Buffalo’s most productive off-ball linebacker. He recorded three defensive stops on his 22 snaps — two being tackles for loss against the run and the other coming in coverage.
Andre Smith played 22 snaps but was the worst performer of the group. Nearly half of his run-defense snaps netted a negative grade upon first review.
Buffalo’s top three defensive backs — cornerback Tre’Davious White and safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde — all played just shy of a dozen coverage snaps. Hyde picked off a pass, while White and Poyer each allowed one first down in coverage with zero plays on the ball or stops.
Cameron Lewis dabbled in the slot and outside but didn’t shine at either position. He gave up one first down in coverage at each alignment and 40 yards in total on the day.
Nick McCloud logged 10 coverage snaps on the outside and surrendered three catches for 46 yards.
Jordan Love led the way for the Packers and put together an up-and-down showing. Questionable decision-making reared its ugly head yet again for Love, as he tried to do too much under pressure, leading to a couple of turnover-worthy plays on such dropbacks. Love did, however, draw Buffalo offside before delivering a 27-yard big-time throw while not having his feet set in a collapsing pocket.
A.J. Dillon was fed seven carries but came away mostly empty-handed. The blocking wasn’t the best, as he picked up only five yards before contact in total, and he didn’t do much after being touched, either. Dillon broke zero tackles, and his longest run of the day was four yards.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Wide receivers Malik Taylor and Reggie Begelton — two former undrafted free agents from 2019 and 2020, respectively — played more than any Packers pass-catchers. Each had one deep reception, with Taylor’s being a contested snag. Begelton added 30 yards after the catch on four receptions, and Taylor recorded a broken tackle on one of his five catches.
Rookie wide receiver Amari Rodgers and tight end Jace Sternberger were the other two Packers with double-digit routes. Sternberger didn’t catch a pass on his 17 routes. Rodgers, meanwhile, missed a catchable ball on one of his five targets but turned the other three catchable looks into first downs.
Royce Newman boasted one of the best preseasons by a Day 3 rookie entering this game, and he sustained that against Buffalo. He was the only Packers offensive lineman without a loss in pass protection upon first review. Newman also created plenty of holes in the run game, recording several positively graded plays in that facet.
Interior defensive lineman Jack Heflin constantly disrupted the run game. He made an impact on several of his 10 run-defense snaps, with his best being a big tackle for loss.
There was no game-wrecking pass-rusher for the Packers, but every defensive lineman to see the field had at least one positive play. Nine different Green Bay defensive linemen rushed the passer, and each recorded at least one win.
New Packer corner Isaac Yiadom was the only defensive back on the team with a play on the ball (one forced incompletion). Still, he allowed five catches for 67 yards and a touchdown on his 34 coverage snaps.
Safety Innis Gaines played more than any Green Bay defensive back and was arguably the best of the group. He wasn’t responsible for any first downs allowed on 46 coverage snaps, and he blew up a couple of quick, shallow throws for passing stops.