MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 17: C.J. Spiller #28 of the Buffalo Bills avoids a tackle by Brian Robison #96 of the Minnesota Vikings during the first quarter on August 17, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
The Buffalo Bills' first-team offense scored their first touchdown of the pre-season in the second quarter on Friday night. The unit is still having trouble moving the ball (and several members of the team are not happy about it), but there were some bright spots against the Minnesota Vikings.
Donald Jones took a quick pass over the middle of the Minnesota defense, picked up a solid downfield block from Scott Chandler, and found the pylon for a 31-yard touchdown. Jones, who is separating himself as the team's second receiver, was happy to explain the play.
"It felt really good to get into the end zone," Jones said. "What happened on the play was I think they blitzed, and the middle was wide open, and I knew Fitz was going to come to me. Once I caught the ball, I just had the mindset to not let them tackle me."
Another good piece of news for the offense on Friday night was the return of Eric Wood and Erik Pears to the starting offensive line. While they only played ten plays and two series, it was good to see Wood playing in a game after his serious leg injury and extensive rehab. Ryan Fitzpatrick agreed.
"It was good to get Eric in there and just talking to him during and after the game he felt good," said Fitzpatrick. "It was a brief ten plays, but it’s always nice coming back from an injury to get out there and come out of a game clean and feel pretty good about it."
Brian Galliford discussed the growing lead Vince Young is amassing in the back-up quarterback derby this morning, and head coach Chan Gailey thought both Young and Tyler Thigpen played well, outside of a few throws by Thigpen.
"Vince did a good job," said Gailey. "He hit the big pass, made a check out there and got us in a good spot to score the touchdown. He did good. Tyler had done good until he threw the interception. The last two throws he had were not good throws, but up until that he had played pretty well. So you’d have to say Vince came out a little bit ahead tonight."
But it wasn't all positives for the offense. Despite Fitzpatrick going 8-for-11, he managed just 27 yards on the seven completions outside of the touchdown pass. Fred Jackson had a nice 20-yard run, but finished with just seven yards on his other four carries. C.J. Spiller couldn't get anything going, losing three yards on two carries.
"We had too many negative plays in the run game," said Gailey at halftime. "We cannot have those, and we have some things to fix. We did not game plan as much, but there are certainly some things we can fix. You cannot make third down-and-12s. We have to have better situations than that."
"We got a little bit going," said Fitzpatrick. "Donald made a really nice run after catch there and again just working through the kinks. We were a little bit cleaner, but not where we wanted to be obviously, and we’ll go back and look at the film. We’ve got a big week coming up here where we’ll probably do a little bit of game planning this week so hopefully we can come out against a really good defense and play better."
After being called for 14 penalties a week ago, the Bills managed to cut that number in half in Minnesota. That's still too many according to Jones, even though several of those penalties were late in the game by the second- and third-teamers.
"We still need to cut down on our penalties," Jones said. "We are just killing ourselves out there." He'd later continue, "Next week, we will get more work because we will probably be out there three quarters and continue to work on putting everything together."
The Bills' next shot is against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday, August 25.