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Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots: Rookie review

Rousseau has bookend plays, Stevenson close to breaking one

The Buffalo Bills flew over to Foxborough and returned with what may prove to be the most important victory of the season in hand. The 33-21 win against the New England Patriots allowed them to take control of the AFC East, and represented a complete victory on both sides of the ball. The offense moved the ball at will—as evidenced by the fact that there were no punts—and only squandered a scoring opportunity on one drive. The defense meanwhile, got gashed a few times on the ground, but took the ball away twice and frustrated rookie quarterback Mac Jones on third downs, in particular. It was also a bounce-back game for the team’s rookies. More about how each rookie performed below.


DE Gregory Rousseau

It’s been a while since Rousseau has been noticed for anything other than the occasional tackle, and while he did have some notable plays and pressures during the game, several of the massive gains on the ground were a result of Rousseau giving up contain by being sealed off via various down blocks. His best plays actually came in pass-rush situations, with an early batted pass on the second play of the game, then showed some good containment on not allowing Mac Jones to escape an Ed Oliver sack on the very next play. Then on the last drive of the game, he managed to keep Trent Brown’s hands off him, rush upfield and lay a hit on Jones, preventing a completion. It’s that technique (and result) that you want to see more of from him.

DE Carlos Basham Jr.

Most of Basham’s 18 snaps came in heavy, obvious run formations where he didn’t make much of an impact, as evidenced by his lone recorded tackle. As discussed previously, the coaches are now only activating Basham against teams that favor the run.

OT Spencer Brown

Brown was helped out a lot this game, thanks to Allen’s ability to make quick decisions as well as Kyle Van Noy and Matt Judon’s clear desire to stay disciplined in their rush lanes. When they did choose to “run the loop” and attack Brown’s outside shoulder, they usually got pressure. Having said that, unlike in previous weeks he didn’t have any penalties and usually held up long enough to keep Allen from getting blindsided by pressure.

OT Tommy Doyle

The extra sixth linemen for the day, Doyle didn’t embarrass himself. In fact, his highlight came on Allen’s first-down run on 4th & 1—Doyle pancaked a shooting linebacker and opened up a hole for a potential runner.

WR Marquez Stevenson

Getting the chance to return the ball five times on kickoff and punts, the rookie was very close to breaking a really big one on a 31-yard return. More importantly, he was careful with the football, and seems to be earning a spot as the Bills’ permanent returner.

S Damar Hamlin

The rookie safety was active for the game, and saw special teams duty but no time on defense.

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.