The Bills starters looked sharp against the Green Bay Packers in their 19-0 win at Highmark Stadium. Josh Allen played three series and led two touchdown drives, completing 20 of 26 passes for 194 yards and a pair of passing touchdowns in a performance that lacked any signs of rust, despite this being Allen’s first action since the AFC Championship game in January.
Gabe Davis was Allen’s main target with five receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. The second-year wide receiver connected with Allen on two big plays, a 31-yard touchdown on a 3rd-and-20 and a long catch-and-run at the start of the second drive that got the offense out of their own end zone. Former SMU teammates Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders both had 4 receptions in their first game together since college, with Beasley earning 52 yards and Sanders recording 27. Zach Moss caught Allen’s other touchdown pass, though he struggled to affect the game otherwise.
Jake Fromm led the second-team offense, and was 10-of-16 for 87 yards. Fromm added a 13-yard touchdown run and started to get his passing rhythm in the 4th quarter, though he likely didn’t do enough to earn a roster spot. Tanner Gentry had 4 catches for 29 yards, and Marquez Stevenson and Jake Kumerow both added two catches for 15 yards. Tight end Nate Becker, a potential practice squad candidate, had a pair of catches for 33 yards. Newly-signed running back Kerrith Whyte saw a ton of snaps in the second half and got the ball in both the running and passing game.
On defense, Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, and Star Lotulelei saw their first action of the preseason, and Lotulelei in particular made his presence known on the inside. Greg Rousseau didn’t record a sack but he did record a QB hit and continued to show promise. Siran Neal was busy all day, and while he had a couple of blown assignments he racked up tackles on both defense (6) and special teams (1). Micah Hyde had the highlight defensive play of the first half, picking off Jordan Love in the endzone, while Tre’Davious White had a clutch pass breakup in the endzone that ended Green Bay’s first drive.
After drawing the ire of many Bears fans for a crunching hit on Justin Fields, Andre Smith once again laid a strong hit on the quarterback, stopping Jordan Love from rushing for a first down and breaking up a pass in the red zone. A.J. Klein also flashed with a tackle for loss that set up the 4th down on Green Bay’s first drive. Buffalo’s first-team defense lived up to its “bend but don’t break” reputation as the Packers had three long first-half drives that ended without points.
Cam Lewis got the start at corner opposite White with Dane Jackson and Levi Wallace inactive, and the former UB Bull struggled at times, losing his man on a deep post-corner in the first half. Boogie Basham had a fourth down stop in the fourth quarter, building on his improved performance last week, and rookie safety Damar Hamlin had a nice pass breakup to end a drive.
It was a great dress rehearsal for the Bills’ first-team, and a solid final audition for many roster bubble players. General Manager Brandon Beane will now have to finalize the roster by Tuesday, while head coach Sean McDermott will turn his focus to the season opener against the Steelers on September 12th.