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Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys: Rookie review highlights Ed Oliver, Devin Singletary

A true breakout game for Ed Oliver

The Buffalo Bills took Jerry World by force on Thanksgiving Day, assuredly beating the Dallas Cowboys, by a score of 26-15. It was a victory that was never really in doubt past the first quarter, as the Bills were quick to respond to the single Dallas touchdown by rattling off 26 unanswered points. Quarterback Josh Allen’s virtually flawless performance was key to the victory, but several of the rookies played much more than bit roles. More about how each rookie performed against Dallas below.

DT Ed Oliver

It finally came together for the 21-year-old rookie, who had an impactful game from start to finish. For weeks, fans have been hoping to see him combine his insane athleticism and effort with some effective technique, and against the Cowboys in the second quarter he was able to do just that. His day began with a tipped Dak Prescott pass, but it soon accelerated to fighting off Zack Martin to tackle Tony Pollard for no gain. Then late in the second, he pushed back veteran Xavier Su’a-Filo, used a rip move to disengage and went straight for the football to force a recovered sack-fumble. Finally, his second sack was an example of how fast his acceleration can be along the interior. The speed of his inside stunt surprised Travis Frederick, to the point where the Pro Bowler was pushed back right into his quarterback who was promptly tackled by the rookie.

OT Cody Ford

Ford was going against two-time Pro Bowler DeMarcus Lawrence, which was a difficult match-up for him to say the least. Still, the rookie held his own for the most part, although the longer he was asked to hold up in pass protection the worse things went for him. He continues to bend at the waist too much, leaving him open to second moves. Against the run, an area he usually excels—Lawrence used his long arms to make the rookie look silly during one particular run in the third quarter, forcing a three-yard loss.

RB Devin Singletary

The rookie runner continues to rack up solid scrimmage yardage thanks to his strong vision and ability as a receiver out of the backfield. Granted, he was largely gifted a 28-yard trick play completion via a John Brown pass, but it was good work for him to actually catch the ball. He had a decent day running the ball out of the backfield, but his average yardage was largely helped by one 26-yard gain.

TE Dawson Knox

Knox was targeted a handful of times in the passing game, but as mostly the check-down option. He was able to break out his patented stiff arm on a nine-yard completion. He did some great work in the run game, with his block of Jaylen Smith in the second quarter the key to springing Devin Singletary’s 26-yard gain. He also provided some timely chips of DeMarcus Lawrence to help out Cody Ford in pass protection.

LB Vosean Joseph

The former fifth-round linebacker remains on injured reserve following shoulder surgery.

S Jaquan Johnson

Johnson was active against Dallas, 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 at Dallas.

DE Darryl Johnson Jr.

Johnson saw the field for a grand total of five defensive snaps, but didn’t seem to earn much pressure on those few chances against a stout offensive tackle group. He also continues to see a significant amount of snaps on special teams.