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Bills vs. Falcons Rookie review: Rousseau, Brown, Doyle all contribute to win

Stevenson blunders, Rousseau with a strip sack

The Buffalo Bills defended their snowy home turf against a middling Atlanta Falcons team in a sloppy game by the offense and special teams. Allen threw three picks and the team had four turnovers overall, but the defense and rushing attack helped the team to a 29-15 victory. While most of the team’s rookies who saw the field had some stretches of poor play, it was one in particular who might have had his best game as pro. More about how each rookie performed below.


DE Gregory Rousseau

With a strip sack—as well as a tackle for a loss—Greg Rousseau had one of his most productive games as a pro. When watching the tape though, you realize that both plays were more the result of his defensive tackle teammates creating havoc than anything Rousseau really did. On the sack-fumble in particular, it was Harrison Phillips’s pressure up the middle that made Matt Ryan attempt to walk backwards, which led to Rousseau being there at the right time. That shouldn’t overshadow the fact that it was a smart play by the rookie though. Overall, he was more disruptive than he’s been in months.

DE Carlos Basham Jr.

Basham was inactive again for this game, after a stretch of games where he earned up to 40 percent of snaps.

OT Spencer Brown

Against the Falcons, Brown once again proved he’s much more comfortable when blocking on the move, than in traditional pass-blocking sets. The coaches called on Singletary and Knox to help him out with chips at the line, which helped him out on several pass plays, but the rookie still lost on a handful of snaps. On the flip side, several of Allen’s big runs in particular came as a result of Brown doing his job and then getting to the second level to disrupt to linebackers.

OT Tommy Doyle

Seeing his most game snaps of the season with 18, Doyle has seemingly taken Ryan Bates’s role as the sixth lineman in obvious rush situations. Those snaps were productive for the run offense, although not necessarily because of Doyle’s efforts as Singletary and Allen rarely ran it to his side.

WR Marquez Stevenson

A fumble on the game’s first punt in the first quarter, which led to a safety, wasn’t a good look for the rookie returner. He should have called for a fair catch or let it drop in that situation. It also didn’t help that he bobbled another punt later in the game. He deserves the benefit of the doubt though, given the difficult conditions.

S Damar Hamlin

The rookie safety was active for the game, but did not see defensive or special teams duty.

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.