The Buffalo Bills worked over the Denver Broncos this past Sunday, winning 20-3 in a game that was less close than even the score indicated. The Bills defense held the Broncos offense to 134 total yards, and Buffalo’s offense was able to move the ball effectively against an ostensibly above-average defense, finishing with a total of 424 yards. Three rookies in particular had a big hand in how both sides of the ball performed.
More about how each rookie performed against Miami below.
DT Ed Oliver
Oliver still didn’t get the start, but managed to stand out nonetheless, even more so than his line-mate Jordan Phillips. Able to notch 1.5 sacks, a tackle for loss and another quarterback hit, Oliver made his presence felt along the interior. His sack—which was close to being a safety—was a microcosm of how far the rookie has come this season. Despite only being 287 pounds, Oliver still managed to bull rush the guard using his strength and low center of gravity, but was able to finish the play thanks to not letting Dalton Risner get his hands on him. That represents real improvement from the rookie defensive tackle.
OT Cody Ford
With a match-up against Von Miller and no Ty Nsekhe subbing in for him, the winds were against the rookie. However, the young right tackle managed to hold his own and only gave up a couple pressures all game. His highlight of the day came on Allen’s touchdown pass to Cole Beasley in the third quarter. Left on an island against Miller, Ford successfully used his strength to push the pass rusher past the play, giving Allen enough time to find his target for seven points. He’s still showing the same deficiencies on tape, but perhaps the rookie is turning the corner.
RB Devin Singletary
Singletary earned his first 100-yard game of his professional career, against a stingy Denver defense no less. That production was thanks to Buffalo’s offensive coaches finally trusting Singletary to carry the load as he had 21 total rushes. The rookie got it done thanks to a combination of factors: his strength, his patience, his ability to quickly shift his weight and make cuts, and his decision making in knowing which way to run and which holes to hit. He wasn’t a big-play threat against Denver, but he consistently produced positive gains and kept the offense from getting bogged down.
TE Dawson Knox
Although he had a quiet day catching the ball—two catches for 11 yards—the rookie really stood out in the blocking game. I urge all fans to go back and watch Robert Foster’s big play early in the second half. On the play, Knox completely stonewalled a pass-rushing Malik Reed, allowing Allen enough time to find Foster on a crossing route. Earlier in the game, he was able to get in front of Foster on his end around and wall-off linebacker Todd Davis.
LB Vosean Joseph
The former fifth-round linebacker remains on injured reserve following shoulder surgery.
S Jaquan Johnson
Johnson was active against Denver, but only for his role on special teams.
TE Tommy Sweeney
With the return of Tyler Kroft, Sweeney was again a healthy scratch this week against Denver.
DE Darryl Johnson
Johnson was actually on the field for a handful defensive snaps, but was mostly boxed out by the much-maligned Garret Bolles and did not produce any stats worth noting. He also continues to see a significant amount of snaps on special teams.