Washington came to Orchard Park this weekend looking to win for the second time this season against an AFC East opponent. It also would have been Washington’s second win overall; however, the Buffalo Bills were able to prevail, winning 24-9. Washington kept it close in the first half, but the Bills were too much.
Our five opponents to watch this week all made some contribution to the game—though not all contributions were positive ones for Washington.
QB Dwayne Haskins
The rookie quarterback made his first NFL start, and while FOX sports announcer Chris Myers mistakenly said that Haskins also completed his first NFL pass, he was actually making his third appearance this season. Interim head coach Bill Callahan clearly ran a simplified game plan for Haskins, as the team tried very hard to keep him in positive down-and-distance situations while also limiting any sort of risky throws. As a result, Haskins was able to avoid turnovers, but he also finished with an uninspiring overall line. He completed 15-of-22 passes for 144 yards, adding three rushes for 14 yards on the day. Haskins took four sacks on the day, and at times he flashed the talent that made Washington take him No. 15 overall in the NFL Draft in April. Ultimately, Buffalo’s defense was able to keep Haskins just off balance enough to prevent the rookie from leading Washington to victory.
RB Adrian Peterson
The veteran looked unbelievable during the first half, carrying the ball 11 times for 102 yards in the opening 30 minutes of action. It looked as if it would be another long day for the Bills in terms of stopping the run (or not stopping it, as it were), but the team was able to hunker down and stop the bleeding in the second half. Peterson’s final line (18 carries, 108 yards, one catch, 22 yards) looks impressive, but he did nearly all of his damage prior to intermission. One thing is for certain, however: Peterson absolutely did not look like a 34-year old running back on Sunday.
WR Terry McLaurin
The speedy receiver was shadowed by Tre’Davious White throughout most of the afternoon, and as a result, he didn’t have much opportunity to shine. McLaurin was targeted a team-leading six times, catching four passes for 39 yards on the day. The game plan for Washington clearly prioritized short throws that gave Haskins easy reads over longer routes that took more time to develop, which also limited McLaurin’s ability to break big pays. In a game where little was done through the air, it wasn’t a good day to be a deep threat.
DL Matthew Ioannidis
The big defensive lineman had a solid day statistically, as he made four tackles, one for a loss, and added a quarterback hit and a sack to his ledger. Washington’s defense did a great job stuffing veteran running back Frank Gore when he tried to covert short-yardage plays, but they didn’t have as much success stopping rookie Devin Singletary. Ioannidis was definitely part of the good on the line.
CB Quinton Dunbar
Dunbar was the man in coverage on the Cole Beasley touchdown on Buffalo’s opening drive. Coming off a hamstring injury, he just wasn’t able to stick with Beasley as Buffalo’s slot receiver made a good move to free himself up at the goal line. Dunbar made three tackles and had zero pass breakups on the afternoon. In the midst of a great season, it wasn’t Dunbar’s finest game.