With a 23-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, the Buffalo Bills catapulted themselves into discussions of “playoff contender,” which is a far cry from the tank-talk that was so prevalent throughout August. The beauty of watching this team is that the whole seems to be much greater than the sum of its parts, as no true “superstars” are taking up all the attention. With each week comes a new set of Bills players to watch, and our Week 4 vintage had some hits and some misses.
QB Tyrod Taylor
Buffalo’s offense functioned at near-maximum efficiency on Sunday, and Taylor was a huge part of the reason why. His stats weren’t eye-popping (they never really are), as he completed 12-of-20 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown, and he added 12 rushing yards on 7 carries. with Taylor, it’s never going to be about the numbers. All we can ask him to do is run the offense in a manner that keeps the chains moving, and so far, he has done that three times. Not coincidentally, the Bills have won all three of those games. He made some absolutely incredible throws (the deep ball to Charles Clay where he rolled left, escaped pressure, rolled right, and dropped an absolute dime stands out), and had a few other good passes dropped (I’m looking at you, Zay Jones). Taylor looks like a perfect fit at quarterback for what the team has right now.
RB LeSean McCoy
Shady finally upped his production, and although it wasn’t quite what we’ve come to expect from him, it was still enough to alleviate any thoughts about his effectiveness overall. In two games against the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, McCoy looked hesitant as he was held to almost nothing on the ground (26 carries and 30 yards). He ran 20 times on Sunday, gaining 76 yards, and he also added 3 receptions and 32 receiving yards. While he did not find his way into the end zone, 46 of his rushing yards came during an 18-play drive that saw the Bills move from their own 12-yard line to the Falcons’ 2-yard line. The Bills began the drive with 8:20 remaining in the third quarter, and Stephen Hauschka nailed a short field goal with 12:03 to go in the fourth quarter. McCoy came up huge when the Bills needed him.
LT Dion Dawkins
The rookie looked good in his first road start. Filling in on the left side for Cordy Glenn, Dawkins handled the pressure of a good, not great, Atlanta defense very well. If Glenn is able to make it back sooner rather than later, Dawkins would most likely be a tremendous upgrade over right tackle Jordan Mills, who was just abysmal on Sunday.
DE Shaq Lawson
Well...Lawson didn’t play on Sunday, but the Bills were able to win despite his absence. Ryan Davis and Eddie
Money Yarbrough filled in admirably for the second-year end out of Clemson.
DT Marcell Dareus
What the heck is going on with the big man? He was limited by an ankle injury, sure, but he only played 22 snaps on Sunday, which was the lowest number among all Buffalo defenders. He has one assisted tackle on the season. He may still be hurt, and he may be in head coach Sean McDermott’s dog house, but he certainly isn’t producing much when he’s on the field.
CB E.J. Gaines
The man acquired for Sammy Watkins put in another solid day at the stadium, making 2 tackles and forcing a fumble that the Bills nearly were able to recover. Unfortunately, he couldn’t finish the game due to a tweaked groin. The Bills consider him day-to-day, and hopefully he’ll be full-go on Sunday when the Bills travel to the Queen City of the West to take on the Cincinnati Bengals.