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Buffalo Bills 41, Chicago Bears 15: Rapid recap and notes

Stop, stop! He’s already dead!

For the second straight week, the Buffalo Bills rested almost all of their starters, and for the second straight week, their backups cleanly controlled the game against the other team’s starting lineup. This week they dominated the Chicago Bears, piling up a 34-6 halftime lead to set up the eventual 41-15 win. Pretty much everything the Bills tried was successful in this game, at least until the back of the roster rotated into the game. There are plenty of accolades to throw around.

Mitchell Trubisky has to be happy about his return to the Windy City. He was 20 of 28 for 220 yards and threw a touchdown pass in quarterbacking the Bills for the first half. He looked loose and comfy working in Buffalo’s offense against his old team. The Bills’ running game saw less emphasis today, but Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, and Matt Breida combined for 60 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.

Defensively, the Bills had another tremendous day. They were pressuring Andy Dalton and Justin Fields all afternoon long, coming away with four sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Once again, Greg Rousseau and A.J. Epenesa consistently wrecked their opponents, and rookie Carloes “Boogie” Basham Jr. had a standout day—a sack, two TFLs, five tackles, and a blocked extra point. Starting running back Damien Williams only managed eight yards and a lost fumble on five carries in this one.

The special teams also factored into the equation. Marquez “Speedy” Stevenson scored a 79-yard punt return. Isaiah McKenzie had a 35-yard punt return, though he did muff a punt. Tyler Bass was perfect in the kicking game, and the Bills prevented major damage with their return coverage.

Right now this Bills team looks like they can’t wait for the season to start. Their backups are wrecking other teams’ starting units. If the preseason is any indication, this team has the depth to be a top Super Bowl contender.

The Bills will finish the preseason next Saturday against the Green Bay Packers.

Injury report

  • DT Harrison Phillips left the game with a knee injury in the first quarter, and was ruled out of returning. That said, he was seen walking around on the sidelines, so the injury may not be too serious.
  • CB Dane Jackson suffered a stinger and was taken out of the game for a time.
  • DT Justin Zimmer injured his right elbow midway through the third quarter, and was taken off the field with help from the training staff. But he returned to the game a few minutes later.
  • CB Cam Lewis suffered some cramping on the play immediately after Zimmer’s injury.
  • After scoring his touchdown, WR Marquez Stevenson left the game with a foot/ankle injury. The Bills PR noted that he had x-rays taken, and they were negative.
  • OT Spencer Brown was ruled out of the game late in the third quarter with a knee injury.
  • Later, OT Tommy Doyle also left the game with a knee injury
  • QB Davis Webb seemed to hurt his left shoulder in the fourth quarter.

Miscellaneous

  • Another outstanding day for first-round pick Greg Rousseau. He had a sack and two QB hits, consistently causing problems for the opposing offense.
  • Another rookie shoutout for Marquez “Speedy” Stevenson! Last week his 42-yard catch led to the game winning field goal. This week he scored a 79-yard punt return touchdown that looked like the Bears were jogging compared to him.
  • More rookie love: Boogie Basham also came up with some strong plays. He had a cleanup sack and blocked an extra point in the first half of the game.
  • More rookie love: Undrafted cornerback Nick McCloud seemed to have a pick-six last week, but the ball hit the ground. This week, he had a no-doubt interception at the end of the first half, setting up one more field goal.
  • Another one: Rachad Wildgoose had two great plays, breaking up a pass on the sideline, and then appearing to force a fumble on a catch over the middle, but the officials ruled it an incompletion.
  • Is there a QB3 battle happening? Last week the QB rotation went Trubisky-Webb-Fromm. Today it was Trubisky-Fromm-Webb. Webb did himself no favors by losing two fumbles.
  • Isaiah McKenzie was a workhorse in Chicago. He had a 35-yard punt return, seven catches for 72 yards, and a four yard carry.
  • Reggie Gilliam had his number called a lot in short yardage, and delivered, including two touchdowns. Later in the game, the fullback was even used as a tailback for a few plays.
  • Good: Dion Dawkins returning to action without looking too rusty. Mitchell Trubisky was only sacked once on 30 drop backs.
  • Bad: Bobby Hart and Jordan Devey. Both were called for holding penalties, and both of these linemen were pressure cookers when they rotated into the game.
  • Good: gap discipline in the first half. Bad: gap discipline in the second half. Once Justin Fields came into the game, he routinely broke contain against the Bills’ defensive line.