Saturday, August 24, 2013
Observation deck: Bills-Redskins
By Mike Rodak
Observations from the Buffalo Bills' 30-7 preseason loss to the Washington Redskins on Saturday:
Kolb has possible concussion: With rookie EJ Manuel sidelined following knee surgery, Saturday's game was supposed to be veteran Kevin Kolb's chance to make his mark in the quarterback competition. However, Kolb left in the first quarter with a possible concussion. On a third-and-5 run on the second offensive drive, Kolb scrambled for 8 yards -- and the first down -- but was kneed in the back of his helmet by a Redskins defender. He stayed in the game for four plays but departed for the locker room soon after. Kolb finished 2-for-4 passing for 16 yards.
Tuel's time: Once Kolb left the game, the Bills were down to just one healthy quarterback. Undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel saw his most extensive action of the preseason, which was valuable playing time for the Washington State product. Tuel completed 10 of 17 passes for 63 yards, an underwhelming performance on just about any other day. But for Tuel and the Bills, the most important statistic was that Tuel did not throw any interceptions. If the Bills are without Manuel and Kolb for the regular-season opener -- a possibility the Bills must now consider -- then avoiding critical mistakes is what the team will need more than anything from Tuel.
Gilmore injured: Flying under the radar Saturday was cornerback Stephon Gilmore leaving the game in the second quarter with a wrist injury. He did not return. Gilmore is the Bills' top cornerback and is another hit to a position that has seen several players hobbled this preseason. If Gilmore misses any extended action, it would be a big blow to Buffalo's defense.
Defense takes step back: After a strong outing in their win over the Minnesota Vikings, the Bills defense did not have answers for the Redskins offense on Saturday. Buffalo allowed 452 total yards, 27 first downs and 208 yards rushing yards. Part of that can be attributed to an anemic offense -- the Bills were crushed 38:52 to 21:08 in time of possession -- but it was hardly an encouraging sign from Mike Pettine's group. Even without Robert Griffin III, the Redskins were able to get solid performances from Rex Grossman (11-for-21, 171 yards, one touchdown) and Pat White (7-for-14, 96 yards, one rushing touchdown) at quarterback.
Spiller's scare: Running back C.J. Spiller was slow to get up after a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and grabbed his right knee after the play. The injury, which brought coach Doug Marrone onto the field to check on Spiller, turned out not to be serious, and Spiller returned to the game. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that Spiller was simply cut on his knee after being spiked.
What's next: The Bills will return to their practice facility in Orchard Park, N.Y., for the first time this preseason before hosting their preseason finale against the Detroit Lions next Thursday. They will have to cut down their roster to 75 players (Tuesday) and 53 players (Saturday) by the end of next week.