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Buffalo Bills vs. Arizona Cardinals: Rookie review

Jackson has a solid starting debut and Bass is the rookie MVP.

In a game that the Buffalo Bills led for almost the entirety, the team was eventually defeated 32-30 by the Arizona Cardinals thanks to some last second-heroics from Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. It was a game that featured a lot of offense on both sides, and just enough defense for both teams to still have a chance by the fourth quarter. For the Bills’ rookies, there wasn’t much to write home about outside of a particular special teams player. More about how each rookie performed against the Cardinals below.

DE A.J. Epenesa

The former second-round pick suffered a concussion in second quarter, which limited his time on the field to eight snaps. He did make a heads-up play in containing a potential Kyler Murray run early in the second quarter and may have gotten pressure on another play had Murray not vacated the pocket, but other than that it was a nondescript day.

RB Zack Moss

You have to feel for Moss. With Buffalo’s make-shift interior offensive line, there just isn’t enough room for him on most rush attempts, and that was certainly the case against the Cardinals. Most of his “longer” runs were just thanks to a fantastic individual effort on the part of the rookie and a refusal to be tackled by the first hit. He finished with a paltry 20 yards on seven rush attempts.

WR Gabriel Davis

It was an uncharacteristically quiet day for Davis, who ran a lot of deep routes designed to draw coverage in the first half, and was largely replaced by Dawson Knox for much of the second half. Then, after John Brown went out of the game, Davis saw a bunch of snaps on the final drive, but on his only target he didn’t get enough separation on an in-breaking route and Budda Baker swatted the ball away.

QB Jake Fromm

As with the previous games, Fromm was again a healthy scratch. This should remain the case throughout the season.

K Tyler Bass

We’re gonna need a lot more Bass puns. The rookie kicker has been somewhat maligned this season after missing six kicks over nine games, but on Sunday he kicked three consecutive personal-best field goals, all from 50+ yards. The longest of which—a 58-yard missile—tied a team record and probably would have been good from 62 yards away. Bass may be the Josh Allen of kickers.

WR Isaiah Hodgins

Hodgins remains on Injured Reserve due to a shoulder injury sustained late in training camp.

CB Dane Jackson

Getting the starting nod for the first time this season, Jackson’s day was solid overall despite being forced out of the game for a bit due to injury. All day he was very active in run support, clearly not being afraid to throw his body around in that area. He ended up finishing fourth on the team in tackles. Against the pass, his highlight of the day came on Arizona’s first drive where he was lined up against DeAndre Hopkins, managing to press the physical receiver at the line and batting the fade pass away to prevent a touchdown. Watching the tape, he looks more comfortable in press man but isn’t out of place in off-coverage. His awareness in zone isn’t perfect, as evidenced by a catch he gave up late in the second quarter to the tight end.

TE/FB Reggie Gilliam

A single snap for Gilliam made it so that the rookie fullback couldn’t contribute to the offense at all. He did continue his regular role on special teams.