The Buffalo Bills defeated the New England Patriots in Orchard Park for the first time since 2011 this past Sunday. It was a rainy, windy affair that saw both teams dedicate themselves to the run— one ultimately decided by an inopportune fourth-quarter fumble by Patriots quarterback Cam Newton. For Buffalo, who has become a pass-heavy offense, it was a rare run-heavy game-plan that yielded success as the team was able to rush for a season-high 190 yards, thanks in-part to a certain rookie. More about how each rookie performed against the Patriots below.
DE A.J. Epenesa
After seeing sparse part-time work the past couple games, Epenesa was a surprise healthy scratch. The coaches may have preferred having Darryl Johnson’s special teams abilities more against New England.
RB Zack Moss
Moss had his breakout game of the season in rushing for 81 yards, as well as a pair of touchdowns. The return on Jon Feliciano did wonders in opening up holes for the rookie along the left side, with Moss finding particular success on outside zone runs to that side. On those runs, Moss was able to pick his spots and choose the hole that offered the best chance for a big gain. When a defender did attempt to tackle him, he typically refused to be brought down by just one. It was an encouraging sign for the rookie runner.
WR Gabriel Davis
Davis was targeted only twice in the game. The first was on a deep shot down the left sideline where he wasn’t able to earn much separation against slot corner Jonathan Jones. The rookie’s second target came on a Josh Allen scramble and should have resulted in a touchdown, if Davis was able to properly adjust to the pass. Instead he let it go through his hands. Of note, Davis did have some solid blocks on the edge in the run game, even against safeties.
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
The rookie did what was asked of him by successfully making his only field goal attempt and nailing each of his three extra points. On kickoffs, he did leave some short of the end zone, but that may have been more of a coaching decision.
WR Isaiah Hodgins
Hodgins remains on Injured Reserve due to a shoulder injury sustained late in training camp.
CB Dane Jackson
With Levi Wallace returning from injury and able to play 100 percent of the defensive snaps, Jackson did not see the field against the Patriots, although he was promoted from the practice squad and active.
TE/FB Reggie Gilliam
Gilliam played his usual amount of snaps on special teams, and did see some regular of offensive snaps, although he wasn’t targeted. On one particular play he did line up as a traditional blocking fullback, but it was a play action pass.