Veteran Matt Barkley continued his dominant preseason with another stellar performance, as he completed 12-of-14 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown in the Buffalo Bills‘ 24-20 win over the Detroit Lions.
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Matt Barkley led Buffalo to two long scoring drives in the third quarter. The first drive resulted in just a field goal because Barkley fumbled the ball looking to pass, but he got them back in scoring range just one play later. His best throw of the night came on a go route to Zay Jones on third and long late in the third quarter that he was able to place perfectly over the outstretched arm of Jonathan Alston. Barkley connected with Duke Williams just five players later to give Buffalo a 24-13 lead they would never surrender.
Josh Allen did not have a good showing in this one. The offense's first time moving the chains was a result of a roughing the passer penalty late in the first quarter – a play in which Allen was bailed out of a terrible forced throw he made that would/should have resulted in an interception and Detroit ball on the Buffalo side of the field.
Second-year linebacker Tremaine Edmunds struggled during first half play, as he was too easily blocked at the second level. When left unblocked, he wasn't consistent with his pursuit angles and also missed a tackle.
With Detroit down in the second half, Buffalo's edge defenders teed off, and Eddie Yarborough, in particular, was able to take advantage. He used his speed around the corner to notch multiple pressures against the backup tackles of the Lions.
Ed Oliver was moved off the line of scrimmage in the run game and struggled to beat blocks as a pass-rusher. Undrafted Penn state product Ryan Bates was outstanding in pass protection, and fellow rookie offensive lineman Cody Ford made an incredible block on rookie running back Devin Singletary‘s touchdown run.
The Lions' first-team defense shut down Josh Allen and the Bills early on, forcing the offense into two punts, a turnover and another near-turnover (interception negated by a roughing the passer) in the first quarter.
Team discipline was lacking on the defensive side of the ball for Detroit. A roughing the passer on Christian Jones negated an interception late in the first quarter and just a few plays later A'Shawn Robinson was hit with a taunting penalty and Tracy Walker with a late hit on the same play. The Bills would ultimately score a touchdown on that drive.
The talk of this week has been how much teams have planned to rest starters compared to prior Week 3 preseason tilts, and Detroit may have paid dearly for not pulling theirs out sooner. Late in the second quarter, center Frank Ragnow was rolled up on from behind by a fallen defender and unable to put any weight on his right ankle. His status will likely determine whether Detroit this year finally has the viable run game they've devoted so many resources toward.
It was a mixed bag for rookie first-round pick T.J. Hockenson. As a blocker, he had multiple downgrades and he also dropped a pass, but he also pulled in two catches. The second went for 32 yards, as he ran away from Buffalo safety Jordan Poyer on a deep crossing pattern.
Rookie interior offensive lineman Beau Benzschawel struggled significantly in this one. He couldn't catch a break in pass protection and struggled in the run game, as well.
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