Thanks to a miraculous 49-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to Tyler Boyd on a 4th-and-12 play in Week 17 of the 2017 season, the Buffalo Bills snapped their 17-year playoff drought.
Fans in Western New York showed their gratitude by donating more than $450,000 to the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation, and Dalton and his wife will make a donation to the pediatric department of the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center before today’s 4 p.m. game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills at New Era Field.
Dalton and Boyd will most likely receive a warm ovation from the Kids Day crowd at New Era Field before the Bills and Bengals square off in the all-important third preseason game, the dress rehearsal for the regular season, which for Buffalo begins Sept. 9 in Baltimore.
Aside from the budding friendship between Buffalo and Cincinnati, there are plenty of things to watch when these two AFC foes square off.
After an impressive first two weeks of the preseason, rookie Josh Allen will make his first start under center for the Bills. Allen’s play has generated plenty of buzz, and he has flashed his potential in completing 18-of-32 passes (56 percent completion rate), for 176 yards with two touchdowns and a 92.7 quarterback rating.
The defensive line was gashed by the Cleveland Browns’ starters for 7.3 yards per play on the opening drive, which resulted in a touchdown. The defense fared much better after the first drive, allowing 181 total yards (including only 76 passing yards) the rest of the game.
How will linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds bounce back after a poor performance vs. Cleveland? How much will we get to see Tre’Davious White line up for a rematch against A.J. Green, who torched the rookie for 131 yards (on three catches) with a 77-yard touchdown reception in a 20-16 Week 5 setback in Cincinnati last fall.
There are plenty of familiar faces on each side, with the Bengals featuring former Buffalo starting linebacker Preston Brown, who was let go after leading the league in tackles (144), and left tackle Cordy Glenn, who was traded to Cincinnati in the offseason.
While former Bengal quarterback AJ McCarron is day-to-day with a shoulder injury, Russell Bodine, who has fallen behind Ryan Groy in the race to be Buffalo’s starting center, could greatly improve his chances with a solid outing against his former team.
Go ahead and post your observations around the starters below, and be sure to check back later for a new open thread when the reserves enter the game.