Hamdan, Bills lackluster in pre-season finale (Photo Source)
Thank the merciful gods of football. It's over.
The Buffalo Bills mailed this one in, playing just one starter - free safety Ko Simpson - in their final pre-season game, a 14-6 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Gibran Hamdan, the team's third quarterback - and not even a lock to make the final roster - got the start at quarterback over dinged starter Trent Edwards (who dressed, but did not play) and Fozzy Bear J.P. Losman. Playing behind a JV offensive line and with only a few playmakers at the skill positions, Hamdan's effort wasn't terrible; he completed 18 of 26 passes for 158 yards and electrified the crowd early with a 29-yard scramble that put the Bills in field position. Hamdan was injured late in the game, suffering an apparent head injury, but he's expected to be ready for the season opener - again, if he makes the final roster.
In all, Buffalo's pre-season finale was hardly a crowd-pleaser; on a personal note, I found myself wondering exactly how much money the Bills would pull in on the $1 hot dogs sold for tonight's Kid Night festivities. If anyone reading this is privy to that information, I'd be interested to know. Lots of tube-shaped bologna was consumed this evening.
I digress. There were some occurrances of note to discuss, so discuss we shall:
Youboty, Johnson Shine with Cuts Looming
Two players - wide receiver Steve Johnson and cornerback Ashton Youboty - stood out amongst their peers as several young players took their final stabs at making the 53-man roster, which will be finalized on Saturday.
Youboty was stellar; he recorded multiple pass breakups, tackled well, forced a fumble on a sack, and helped down a Brian Moorman punt inside the 10-yard line. The kid is just straight up a good football player, and it's excellent to see him proving himself. He's hungry and he's humble - and he played before Will James tonight. Bold prediction: Youboty is the team's nickel back after the bye week (Week 5), and he's pushing Jabari Greer for a starting role by season's end.
Meanwhile, Johnson - a seventh round pick this past April - was easily Hamdan's favorite target, snaring 8 passes for 74 yards. He showed excellent hands, nabbing passes low and away from his body, and he also flashed an ability to gain significant yardage after the catch. The kid has "stud slot receiver" written all over him. The better news? He was very solid on special teams tonight. I think he's now a lock for the roster.
Speaking of Shining... Dwayne Wright Didn't
Running back Dwayne Wright had an uphill climb to make the final roster tonight and had a golden opportunity to, at the very least, make the coaches think about this decision come tomorrow and Saturday. Alas, his 8-carry, 11-yard performance featuring his third fumble of the pre-season has probably sealed his fate. Buffalo's 2007 fourth-round draft pick is almost certainly a roster casualty at this point.
It wasn't just his running, either - Wright was flagged for lining up in the neutral zone on a punt block. Mental errors are inexcusable, especially when you're screwing up everything else you're doing offensively.
The Pre-Season is Over!
Don't expect a Film Session for this one folks; I no longer regret my decision to not set the DVR before heading up to The Ralph this evening. Instead, we'll do some roster predictions and cover the final cut-downs this weekend, talk a little more Jason Peters (but only a little), and get ready for Seattle Week. The regular season is upon us, folks, and I could NOT be more excited.
ROLL CALL: Here's the roll call from tonight's two open threads; shout-out to norcaliangelsfan, who once again paced the crew with 189 comments. Thanks to the following folks who joined the thread tonight (and to Kurupt for keeping the ship sailing smoothly): norcaliangelsfan, Kurupt, FemaleFanatic85, BuffCrunch, Krenn, Scoe221, spavery, NYTXFAN, WABillsfan, sireric, the Skycap, twoeightnine, LeClaireBill, ScrumHalf9, MARVelous, Cinga, mckelvin, Polish Lover, Kumario!, Pocono Bob, keuka121