The Buffalo Bills sank to 0-2 on Sunday courtesy of Phillip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers. Josh Allen’s first NFL start was a mixed bag while Tremaine Edmunds struggled with indecision on several big plays by the offense. More about the performance of the Bills’ entire 2018 rookie class below.
QB Josh Allen
The first-rounder played like a rookie against the Chargers, while mixing in a fair amount of “wow” throws to keep it interesting. Allen was a bit gun-shy in the first half and was careful not to take many risks with the football, especially when the down and distance wasn’t favorable. Brian Daboll mixed in some quick, short throws to the running back to get the rookie up to speed early. Unfortunately, the lack of a running game meant that Allen was put in some difficult situations early and he struggled on third downs. The gloves came off, however, when the team was down 28-3. Allen uncorked an unbelievable throw to Charles Clay that took an equally unbelievable play by Derwin James to break up. Then Allen threw an absolute bomb to Zay Jones down the sideline. Allen was much more aggressive in the second half, including two ill-advised throws that resulted in interceptions. Overall, an up-and-down day for the 7th overall pick.
LB Tremaine Edmunds
Edmunds clearly struggles with any type of misdirection in the backfield and the Chargers took full advantage on Sunday. On a 16-yard reverse to Austin Ekler early in the second quarter and on the Chargers third touchdown of the day, the offense’s use of some sort of fake in the backfield got Edmunds to pause just enough to break off a big play. It’s not that the rookie lacks speed, it’s that his speed can’t make up for his mental mistakes. After the Phillip Gaines injury, Buffalo was forced to play much more base defense, and it left Edmunds severely exposed when lined up in coverage against wide receivers in the slot. Like Allen, Edmunds needs to continue taking his lumps while learning on the job.
DT Harrison Phillips
A largely quiet day again for the third-rounder as he was only on field for 19 snaps, or 33% of the overall defensive plays. With only 3 total tackles and 1 solo tackle, Phillips really could use a break-out game.
CB Taron Johnson
Johnson was inactive for the day as he continues to rehab his shoulder injury suffered against the Baltimore Ravens. In addition to Johnson, fellow rookies G Wyatt Teller, G Ike Boettger and WR Ray-Ray McCloud were all inactive.
S Siran Neal
Neal saw only three snaps on defense and only recorded a single tackle.
WR Robert Foster
Foster was on the field for about 50% of the offensive snaps and had a nifty toss-sweep run late in the first quarter that gained about 12 yards. Then he wasn’t targeted again until the final drive of the game on a 33-yard completion from Allen. Foster should get more opportunities as the season goes on.
P Corey Bojorquez
In his home debut, Bojorquez punted five times for an average distance of 44.6 yards, with a long of 54. His best punt came in the middle of the second quarter, being able to punt from his own 20-yard line to the opposite 20-yard line while leaving plenty of height for the coverage team to wrap up the returner immediately.