By: Drew Willingham
Headline Photo Credit: Garrett Campbell-Washington Redskins
ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK – Heading in to this game, the hype surrounded Rookie Dwayne Haskins making his first career start and the veteran running backs (Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore) of both teams facing each other for perhaps the final time of their hall of fame bound careers. Devin Singletary would show up like a firecracker on the fourth of July, locked in ready to go and stole the show. Both teams were eager to showcase what they had coming in to this game.
Washington came to town with an array of dis-functionality that has been a constant for quite some time now. As a result of Case Keenum being under the concussion protocol, the notorious Rookie Dwayne Haskins was named starting Quarterback for this contest. Haskins would receive 1st team reps throughout the week leading to this game for the first time in his career to help with the live action. Buffalo started this home game as a mid-season perennial shoe-in to be a AFC Wild Card team looking to continue their great start to the 2019 season. With the foundation supported by their defense, the Bills have been on quite a roll for the first half of this season.
The first half of this match-up would basically set the tone for the rest of the game. Buffalo would strike first with a 6-yard touchdown reception by Cole Beasley to take a 7-0 lead to start the game. Washington would struggle coming out of the gate with back to back three and out drives that ended with punts. Buffalo would charge down the field again on their second drive, but would be held to a field goal to increase the lead to 10-0. The Redskins would score on a field goal at the end of the first quarter to bring them within a touchdown. This moment would give the fans a glimpse of hope, but it was short lived as the Bills would score another touchdown on a 1-yard QB sneak by Josh Allen to give them a 17-3 lead with only 4:45 left in the half. Washington would answer with another field goal to narrow the deficit to 17-6 at halftime.
Besides the ageless wonder Adrian Peterson rushing for 101 yards in the first half, it was a dismal performance by the Redskins offense and defense. The Bills capitalize on the inexperience of Haskins to limit his capabilities within the offense. The second half would begin with Buffalo receiving the ball and looking to continue the momentum towards another victory.
The second half would fair no different than the first with Buffalo cruising towards yet another victory. Washington would be held to only a field goal and Buffalo would score again on a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Devin Singletary. The game would end in a 24-9 victory for the Buffalo Bills who improve to 6-2 on the year. Devin Singletary, the rookie running back for the Bills, led the team to victory with 95 yards rushing and 1 rushing touchdown. He also added 3 receptions for 45 receiving yards. Watching the end of the game when Frank Gore introduces Singletary to Adrian Peterson was a special moment to see. Singletary looked like a kid in a candy store when meeting his idol. The two exchanged positive vibes as what may have been a passing of the torch like moment from one legend to a potential rising star.
If I were to grade Dwayne Haskins first start as a rookie, I’d give him a C- for this game. That may be generous to many, but here is my reasoning for it. Haskins had 15 completions out of 22 passing attempts for 144 yards with a team that has one of the worst offensive lines this season. When Peterson wasn’t carrying the ball, Haskins spent more time taking hits or scrambling away to avoid more. The rookie has only spent one week with the 1st team learning a playbook that will most likely change again during the off-season. This team needs consistency from all aspects of the franchise before results can show on the field. Haskins may have trouble learning the offense, but that could be a result of the team culture being poisoned bad enough that the coaches probably aren’t teaching the schemes properly. If you give Haskins a good coach, who can capitalize on the his skill sets, an offensive line and a healthy core…..he may surprise the critics with a playoff run. For now the team has fallen to 1-8 on the year and probably treating the rest of this season as an audition for next season for the entire franchise top to bottom before an overhaul begins.
Buffalo travels to Cleveland to take on the struggling Browns led by Baker Mayfield. The Bills will need to continue to rely on their strong defensive front in order to continue their momentum towards a playoff berth this season. Washington finally catches a break, literally with a BYE and an extra week to help Haskins learn more of the current playbook if they even decide to keep going with him for now. Seven games remaining for this franchise in DC to figure out who stays, who goes, and who they can actually mold in to leaders for this team going forward in hopes of building a respectable dynasty for the first time in nearly 30 years.