BBD Staff Writer: Ryan Talbot
Buffalo moved to 2-0 on Friday night in a game that became closely contested late over the Vikings 20-16.
Kevin Kolb finished well for the Bills, but his rough start cannot be ignored. Manuel came in and played well immediately against the Vikings but was playing against the team’s second and third string players. Buffalo should give Manuel the start next week against the Washington Redskins. If Manuel performs well, the starting quarterback job should belong to the rookie.
For a second consecutive game, Buffalo’s offensive line played well enough to keep their quarterbacks standing and open lanes for the team’s running backs. The team still has a question mark at left guard, but it’s good to see the line playing well.
Many wide receivers played well for Buffalo on Friday night. I don’t envy the coaching staff that needs to cut this group down to six players. The Bills are going to have to let a lot of talent walk away.
On defense, Jerry Hughes continued to build on his strong training camp with two sacks and a forced fumble. Hughes looks like a great fit in Mike Pettine’s defense. Buffalo had four sacks against the Vikings with Marcus Dowtin and Marcell Dareus each getting a sack.
In the preseason you should take everything with a grain of salt, but it certainly appears that Buffalo’s defense is going to be much improved in 2013.
Bills 20 – Vikings 16
The Bills stopped the Vikings from completing a late comeback. Jeff Tuel finished the evening by taking a knee. Buffalo moves to 2-0 in the preseason.
We’ve hit the two minute warning at the Bills-Vikings game. Buffalo is about to punt the ball up by four points. Time to see if the Bills can hold on for the win.
Bills 20 – Vikings 16
McLeod Bethel-Thompson is making this game close with a 35 yard touchdown pass to Rodney Smith.
The Vikings went for a two-point conversion that was intercepted by Izaan Cross.
Jay Ross just added his second batted-down pass. It’s the little things like this that may help him land a roster spot.
Bills 20 – Vikings 10
The Vikings scored a touchdown on a one yard run by Joe Banyard. Minnesota had two fourth down conversions on the drive.
Marcus Dowtin who just missed a sack on the last defensive series makes sure he doesn’t miss this time as he sacks McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
With the Bills backed up on their own 2-yard line, Shawn Powell just booted a 57 yard punt. Powell may be inconsistent at times, but his leg strength cannot be ignored.
Bills 20 – Vikings 3
E.J. Manuel went 6/6 in his first drive for 44 yards and found Brad Smith wide open in the endzone. Both Tashard Choice and Zach Brown had good runs on the drive.
Unsportsmanlike conduct on Marcus Easley. While Easley is having a strong preseason, he needs to keep his emotions in check.
First Half Thoughts:
Kevin Kolb started out extremely slow for Buffalo. He made one poor throw that went for an interception and had another pass that could have been intercepted. Passes were thrown behind wide receivers and Buffalo’s offense could not get anything going.
However, much like E.J. Manuel against the Colts, Kolb came on late in the first half. Kolb finished the first half 13/21 for 111 yards and an interception. His play at the end of the half will probably be enough for Marrone to say that the quarterback competition is still on.
In the run game, C.J. Spiller ran well and Fred Jackson did a nice job of getting tough yards. The offensive line has done a job enough job of creating holes for the backs.
In the receiving game, eight different players caught a pass. Marcus Easley is leading the team in receiving yards and may have an outside chance of making the roster if he continues to play well in the preseason.
On defense, Buffalo has looked fantastic. Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel have faced a lot of pressure. The defensive MVP has been Jerry Hughes who has three tackles and two sacks.
Jamie Blatnick recorded the team’s only touchdown after recovering a poorly snapped fumble in the end zone.
Bills first-half leaders:
Kevin Kolb: 13/21 for 111 yards, 1 INT
Fred Jackson: 7 rushes for 28 yards
Marcus Easley: 2 receptions for 34 yards.
Dustin Hopkins 2/2 FG (39, 35)
Bills 13 – Vikings 3
Dustin Hopkins chipped in a 35-yard field goal to end the first half. Buffalo scores the final 13 points of the first half.
Bills 10 – Vikings 3
A miscommunication between Kevin Kolb and Tashard Choice ends the drive. Dustin Hopkins however kicked a 39-yard field goal to extend Buffalo’s lead.
We’re at the 2-minute warning in Buffalo. It took almost an entire half, but Kevin Kolb has found his groove. Kolb has hit all five of his passes on this drive for 44 yards.
Kevin Elliott has been carted off with a left leg injury per Tim Graham.
Jerry Hughes has recorded his second sack of the evening and stripped Matt Cassel of the ball. The Vikings recovered the ball, although Ron Brooks had a great chance of recovering the fumble.
Bills 7 – Vikings 3
Jamie Blatnick recovered a fumble in the endzone after a bad snap to Matt Cassel. Blatnick had a great week at Bills camp this past week.
Kevin Kolb with back-to-back poor passes. Passes to Lee Smith and Chris Hogan were both thrown behind the receivers. Kolb is now 3/8 on the night.
Robert Woods just showed off his punt return ability by taking the ball 34 yards to Minnesota’s 41 yard line.
Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller have combined for 12 carries for 53 yards on the evening.
Kevin Kolb is 3/6 for 17 yards and a touchdown.
Buffalo’s offensive line has looked strong and the team seems to want to be a run-first team.
Kevin Kolb remains in at quarterback as the 2nd quarter has begun.
Buffalo has applied a lot of pressure on Christian Ponder in the first quarter. The Bills had a questionable pass interference call on them against Nickell Robey that extended the drive. The defense also jumped offsides once during the drive.
Vikings 3 – Bills 0
Blair Walsh kicked a 36-yard field goal to put the first points on the board tonight.
Marcell Dareus gets Buffalo’s third sack of the night to stop Minnesota’s drive.
Kevin Kolb stared down Chris Hogan and was almost intercepted for a second time. Kolb held the ball too long, A Kolb scrabble leads to another Bills punt.
Kolb is 1-for-4 on the evening for 10 yards and an interception.
Blair Walsh misses a 49-yard field goal wide to the right. Buffalo takes over with decent field position.
A bad snap by the Vikings leads to a sack by Manny Lawson for a loss of 14 yards.
Kevin Kolb throws an errant pass and gets intercepted by Jamarca Sanford.
The first two drives by Kolb have not gone well. He’ll likely get the entire first quarter, but right now Kolb is making the case for E.J. Manuel to start.
Shawn Powell delivers a 19-yard punt after a quick series from Buffalo.
Powell has a powerful leg but struggles with his consistency.
Jerry Hughes opens the game with a sack. Building on his strong camp.
Nickell Robey will be starting across from Stephon Gilmore tonight at left cornerback with Leodis McKelvin, Crezdon Butler and Justin Rogers all inactive. Due to Robey’s size, many assumed that he’d best be suited as a nickel cornerback in the NFL, but Robey did play on the outside at USC. It’ll be interesting to see how Robey plays against the Vikings.
Here are tonight’s inactives according to the Bills’ official website: