Was the Buffalo Bills’ victory over Washington a perfect one? Nah. But I’m loving it all the same. It’s easy to focus on negatives in the world of analysis but sometimes you gotta shine a light on the positives. Many fans were so caught up in disappointment in the defense allowing Adrian Peterson to go off for 130 combined yards, they looked past Devin Singletary going off for 140. Bills fans had been asking for more Singletary and we were all rewarded with a fantastic performance.
It’s not uncommon for teams to script the first bit of the game on offense and on the first offensive play of the game this one was likely set in stone. The team executes fairly well and Devin Singletary trusts the path he’s supposed to take. Still, there’s a decent shot he’s stopped for no gain thanks to one defender who gets by. But the devil is in the details. Singletary sees the hit coming and adjusts. The slight shift in shoulders helps him change direction and slip by. The lunge at the end gets a little more yardage. The entire play demonstrates tremendous body control from Singletary.
The more a player can offer to a team the better, and for running backs it’s nice to be able to block. Singletary isn’t asked to do it a lot so his grade shouldn’t be considered anything besides “incomplete” at this point, but this rep goes very well. At just over 200 lbs Singletary loses a lot of match-ups on paper thanks to physics, but I like to put forward the “doorstop” analogy for cases like this. Doorstops beat much larger doors thanks to pushing up when doors want to move forward. At 5’7” Singletary can make a good doorstop.
Buffalo tried a LOT of trickery with receivers blazing across the formation. Most of the time it got decent results. On this play there’s only a tiny shift, barely enough to even call it. That’s actually good news then as this long run happens thanks to good execution on the lead blocks. Singletary shows off how you can be faster than your 40 time with team geometry. By following a series of successful blocks, the defenders Singletary needs to worry about are the ones who need to come from very far away.
I know Brian Daboll has gotten some flak but this play design and timing are straight [fire emoji]. It wouldn’t be shocking to hear that this play is designed for Singletary or no one. Several defenders are allowed “victories” to make sure they’re all behind Singletary when he gets the ball. It also frees up quite the contingent of lead blockers. What should be a solid play turns into a magnificent one thanks to Singletary’s elusiveness.
This is a fairly ordinary gain on the stat sheet, but it only got that way thanks to Devin Singletary showing off why he was called “Shady 2.0” leading up to the draft. His ability to stop-and-go is pretty fun to watch.
Washington bites a little more on this one, which helps set up another long gain. Dawson Knox looks like he’s been working hard on blocking and Ty Nsekhe looks as expected. Which is to say “quite effective.” There’s that sudden stop again to gain another yard or two at the end.
As mentioned, Devin Singletary isn’t asked to block a ton. There are a lot of snaps where he’s running routes as a safety valve or decoy. For this play he helps spring things with a good sell on the play-action fake. Because Singletary is a legitimate threat to catch the ball, there’s always at least one defender who ends up worried about him. On this play that helps open a passing lane for an easy pitch and catch.
Devin Singletary looks like he’s about to cut inside but correctly identified the lane closing. Dion Dawkins being paired up on 218 lb Landon Collins is going to pretty much always be the spot to hit. It’s so lopsided in fact, that Singletary has to take his path a touch wider to avoid the falling and flailing Collins.
I don’t need to sit here and nitpick this performance, but I will say Devin Singletary isn’t perfect. He is, however, a very good fit for the offense the Bills brought to the field against Washington. Shiftiness and decisiveness pair well with his high “Motor” to make an effective back. Singletary already seems to be capable in blocking and selling fakes. He likely has room to improve as well.
Don’t count on 140 yards every week, but don’t be afraid to be excited about Devin Singletary, either. If the Bills continue doing what they’ve been doing there’s no reason to think there won’t be more good days ahead.