The Buffalo Bills came up just short in their Wild Card game against the Houston Texans. In the 22-19 overtime loss, some of the team’s rookies made key contributions in the game, while others made some devastating mistakes that had massive impacts on the game’s ultimate result. How did each member of the team’s rookie class perform in their first playoff game? Read on to find out.
DT Ed Oliver
Despite putting up a few splash plays in the game, the coaches chose to limit Oliver’s playing time on the field more than usual. The rookie was only on the field for 43% of the defensive snaps. As mentioned though, he did make himself known on a few plays, particularly in the first half. These plays were mostly against the run, where Oliver used his trademarked athleticism and agility to limit gains from Carlos Hyde.
OT Cody Ford
It was a strong game for the rookie—who wasn’t asked to do much—but he still had a couple blemishes. We all know about the phantom blindside block that took the team out of field goal range, but the rookie also whiffed on a block that got Josh Allen sacked by J.J. Watt. Overall though it was a solid day for the right tackle, who again split time with Ty Nsekhe. His play of the day was a terrific downfield block that helped spring Allen’s 42-yard run in the first quarter.
RB Devin Singletary
With 134 scrimmage yards on 19 touches Singletary saved what was perhaps his best performance of his rookie season for the playoffs. The overall performance was a textbook example of what the rookie running back brings to every game: good vision, elite body-control and a refusal to go down until a second, a third or sometimes a fourth tackler gets involved. They offensive game plan early on was to get Singletary the ball any way they could—on screens, on slants, on different types of running plays. However, that plan seemed to change in the second half, and is perhaps one of the reasons why the Bills came up short.
TE Dawson Knox
Knox was on the field more often for his blocking skills than as a receiving target. His single catch came on an important third down, but his real work was in the run game. He had a fair share of decent blocks all day, mostly on the backside of running plays, but he did miss his assignment on an Allen run in overtime that would have won the game for the Bills. That one stung.
LB Vosean Joseph
The former fifth-round linebacker remains on injured reserve following shoulder surgery.
S Jaquan Johnson
Johnson maintained his stalwart position on special teams, but no snaps on defense.
TE Tommy Sweeney
After a productive final regular-season game, Sweeney was a healthy scratch against the Texans.
DE Darryl Johnson Jr.
Similar to the other Johnson, the pass rusher saw zero snaps on defense.