Studs and duds from Bills’ dominant win over Bears

08/21/2021
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For fans of the Buffalo Bills who had forgotten what it’s like to see their team dominate an opponent, Saturday was a return to form.

The Bills overpowered the Chicago Bears in their preseason matchup, leaving Soldier Field with a 41-15 victory. Despite fielding very few starters, Buffalo was in control throughout the entire game, jumping out to a 13-0 first-quarter lead and never looking back.

The team largely played well, with the players who didn’t impress being few and far between. Here are the studs and duds from the Bills’ preseason win over the Bears.

Stud: QB Mitchell Trubisky

The Mitchell Trubisky revenge game lived up to the hype.

He stayed in throughout the entire first half against his former team, completing 20-of-28 passes for 221 yards and one touchdown. The fifth-year signal-caller made numerous strong throws, the most impressive of which was a 16-yard loft to Jake Kumerow late in the second quarter. Kumerow, who caught a touchdown pass from Trubisky earlier in the game, made the top-tapping catch to put the Bills in field goal range.

Trubisky developed a rapport with Isaiah McKenzie, finding him seven times for 71 yards. The fifth-year signal-caller also showed off some athleticism, showing some nice evasion moves in the backfield and even picking up 11 yards on a scramble.

Simply put, he looked strong against the team that selected him second overall just a few years ago. He proved that he is a serviceable NFL quarterback – let’s just hope the Bills don’t need him to prove that in the regular season.

Dud: QB Davis Webb

While Trubisky shined, Davis Webb faltered.

He didn’t check into the game until the fourth quarter, and he didn’t look particularly impressive once he got in there. He made a few ill-advised throws, including one intended for Duke Williams that was nearly intercepted, and fumbled the ball twice, both of which were recovered by Chicago.

The Bears scored a field goal off one of the turnovers, but it ultimately didn’t matter, as the game was out of reach by that point. That said, giving the ball up on back-to-back drives is far from ideal.

Webb finished the game four-of-six passing for 30 yards. The only saving grace for Webb is that Jake Fromm also failed to impress, so no separation has really been created in the race for the third quarterback spot.

4 biggest takeaways from Bills 41-15 rout vs. Bears

Stud(s): Young pass rushers

Buffalo’s pass-rush flashed yet again Saturday, with the majority of the production coming from the team’s young defensive linemen.

Greg Rousseau impressed for the second straight week, notching a sack that was perhaps more impressive than his quarterback takedown last week. He used his power to back Chicago tackle Lachavious Simmons into Andy Dalton before shedding off and taking the veteran signal-caller to the turf, once again showing that he can be productive as a rookie despite the unrefined nature of his game.

A.J. Epenesa also flashed throughout the game, perhaps most significantly on a late-second-quarter pass-rush in which he pushed Elijah Wilkinson to the ground and forced an incomplete pass from Dalton.

Darryl Johnson also impressed as a high-effort pass-rusher, finishing the game with two tackles. Boogie Basham even got on that stat-sheet following an underwhelming debut, notching a sack and a blocked PAT.

The defense consistently got pressure by rushing four, an especially promising fact considering that the team was without Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison, its two starting defensive ends.

Stud: WR Marquez Stevenson

Marquez Stevenson has made things interesting.

Initially expected to compete with Isaiah McKenzie for the returner job throughout the offseason, the rookie had been largely quiet to start his career. McKenzie had created a sizeable gap between the two, thanks largely to his contributions on offense.

On Saturday, however, Stevenson closed the gap with a strong special teams performance. He returned a punt to the house in the third quarter, the 79-yard return serving as one of the game’s flashiest highlights. The return couldn’t have come at a better time, as McKenzie muffed a punt earlier in the game.

Though still not a roster lock, Stevenson has now shown that he’s a potentially dynamic returner that will be difficult to keep off the 53-man roster. He left the game after his return with a foot injury, but his x-rays came back negative.

Dud: OL Jordan Devey

You know it was a strong overall game when a third-string offensive guard makes the ‘duds’ list.

Jordan Devey’s performance, while ultimately inconsequential, was not great. He whiffed on a block in the third quarter that resulted in Jake Fromm getting sacked. He then took a holding penalty a few moments later, the cherry on top of what was an overall rough day for the veteran journeyman.

Stud: CB Rachad Wildgoose

Rachad Wildgoose showed promise after looking poor in his debut, tallying two tackles and two pass deflections. He made two strong plays within a few moments of each other in the third quarter, the first of which was a nice recovery and pass breakup against Riley Ridley. Shortly thereafter, he broke up a pass intended for Rodney Adams.

Wildgoose doesn’t make this list because he was perfect, as no sixth-round cornerbacks are. He earns a spot because he showed promise, bouncing back from a poor outing to show that he does have developable traits and is perhaps worthy of a roster spot.

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