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Buffalo Bills vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rookie review

Minimal impact from the rookies during the heartbreaker

Tom Brady (ugh) and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to overcome a second-half surge after a sluggish first-half performance from the Buffalo Bills to secure a 33-27 victory in overtime. All told, while it was a tale of two halves for the team, it was good to see the offense and defense finally clicking together at the same time. Moral victories don’t count in the standings, however. While the team as a whole played well—mostly in the second half—the rookie class didn’t have much to hang their hat on. More about how each rookie performed below.

DE Gregory Rousseau

It’s tough giving the rookie from Miami the benefit of the doubt week after week, considering that he didn’t accumulate any stats against Tampa Bay. However, it has to be noted that the Bucs have a strong pair of tackles, along with Tom Brady, who has made a career of getting rid of the football quickly, usually through dump-off passes. Still, Rousseau didn’t show much when given the opportunity to rush the passer, and he wasn’t as quick in recognizing certain rush attempts coming his way. There might be a reason why he only saw 33 snaps this game.

DE Carlos Basham Jr.

In what has been a season of ups and downs, Basham was inactive for the game against the Buccaneers despite a decent game the week before. It seems the coaches are determined to only deploy him against run-heavy teams.

OT Spencer Brown

Facing veteran Shaq Barrett, Brown struggled mightily throughout the game in pass protection. Barrett’s size allowed him to dip underneath Brown multiple times to record pressures. Tight end Dawson Knox was then called in to assist the rookie with some chips, but even that wasn’t enough to completely protect Allen. It was a different story when the team decided to run the ball, when Brown managed to perform his job, frequently getting in front of linebackers and moving them off the ball.

OT Tommy Doyle

The team activated Doyle from the Reserve/COVID-19 list this week, but he did not see the field against the Bucs.

WR Marquez Stevenson

The rookie ended up returning to the field to get in some return duties. He didn’t turn his punts into much and his longest kickoff return went for 29 yards. What stands out with Stevenson is how physical he can be on returns, despite his small stature.

S Damar Hamlin

The rookie safety was inactive for the game, which removed an opportunity for him to carve out a role on special teams, as he was used last week.

CB Rachad Wildgoose

On November 16, the New York Jets signed Wildgoose to their 53-man roster off of the Bills’ practice squad.

OG Jack Anderson

On September 21, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Anderson to their 53-man roster and off of the Bills’ practice squad.