Wow, this game was quite the barn burner! If it makes you feel any better, the Patriots and Saints, two of the best teams in the NFL, ended with the same score, with the Patriots winning by one lousy point. But, does anyone really care?
What was really fun is watching all these young players get a chance to strap on the ole pads, and hit a different color jersey, and do that they did.
Below are some players who stood out, both for good play and bad.THE STUDS:
Robert Griffin III: This one is pretty obvious, but for all the crazies out there (yeah, I'm looking at you H8), I can't leave the kid out. He played sparingly into the first quarter, and attempted only six passes completing five of them(and heck yeah, I'm counting the sideline catch that was ACTUALLY MADE by Garcon - damn replacement refs). Anyways, RG3 finished the game 4-6 for 70 yards and one touchdown. He was also credited with a fumble, but after watching the play three times, It was the fault of Royster, not Griffin.........but oh well. He boasted a 145.8 QB rating, but even more important than these stats, was the way he handled himself on the field. He twice looked off defenders, then came back to his target who he hit in stride. Hell, the guy even chased down a defender who was attempting to return a fumble that he was already ruled down on (Clinton Portis anyone). Overall, a good first performance by the rookie.
Pierre Garcon: Garcon looked a little lazy on his early sideline catch (that was incorrectly ruled out of bounds), but after that, he really showed why he was brought into Washington.........YAC! For the evening, Garcon had three (four) catches, for 58 (68) yards and a touchdown. He showed great ability to run after the catch, and scored on a screen pass that showcased this exact ability.
Trent Williams: The third year left tackle showed why people were raving about him so far this training camp. He came out and put on a dominating performance for three series before yielding way to rookie Tom Compton. Silverback was out in front on the screen pass that Garcon took to the house, and showed exceptional footwork in both the run and passing game. To me, he also looked much stronger at the point of attack than he has in the past. Everything seems to be finally coming together for the much heralded left tackle.
Chris Baker: WOW! This kid plays with some fire.........and I love it! Baker lined up at both nose tackle and defensive end, and showed well at both spots, collapsing the pocket, and spending the majority of his snaps eating up double teams, and pitching his tent in the Bills backfield. His play on the goal-line was most impressive. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in defensive film sessions today, just to hear the praise that will be showered on him. All I can say is: WHAT A FIND!
Adam Gettis: The rookie left guard played fairly well early on, and it may have been tough to tell, due to the extremely poor play of his partner to the left Tyler Polumbus, who was constantly driven off the ball, and allowed his defender more time in the backfield than Evan Royster. Aside from all this, Gettis held his own versus a good Buffalo front seven. He showed solid form, and the ability to get to the second level on multiple occasions. He did have some rookie mistakes, and I most certainly don't expect him to pass a healthy Chris Chester on the depth chart, but his debut was a pleasant surprise for this young team.
Tom Compton: Compton stepped in for Williams mid-way throught the first quarter, and played the rest of the game at left tackle. His game was not without faults, but given this was the first action of his young NFL carer, I believed he showed very well. One play that stood out happened early in the forth quarter, when compton pulled around laft end on a toss to the left. He showed great feet, and exceptional quickness. So quick, that I had to rewind the play three times to make sure my eyes weren't seeing things. Now, he didn't exactly make a devistating block on the play, but he got in the way, and allowed us to gain a few yards. Overall, his footwork on pass plays, and ability to play through the whistle on run plays were what stood out to me.
Josh Morgan: Morgan looked quick and physical, and wasn't afraid to mix it up over the middle of the field. Late in the game, he made a nice catch on a low ball from Cousins. If used to his full potential, I expect Morgan(if he can stay healthy), to be a factor on this team.
Richard Crawford: We have heard reports that Crawford has looked good early in training camp, and it showed on Thursday night. Crawford looked good on both defense and in the return game, notching an intercepting, and breaking up two passes, and showing good vision and speed on punt returns. I think it will be hard to keep this kid off the field this fall if he continues to play this way.
Tyler Polumbus: Polumbus was just awful in limited time vs the Bills. He was slow to react to the snap, and got manhandled my his defender on most plays. His play tonight made Redskins fans long for an 70% healthy Jammal Brown.
Brandon Banks: Banks looked like he didn't belong as a receiver in this offense. His routes were not crisp, and he couldn't keep his footing coming in and out of breaks. He didn't show very good hands, and he is simply out-matched as a blocker. He also let a punt go over his head, which Buffalo downed to pin us deep. With the emergence of Crawford as a punt returner, and a solid showing by Robinson, Bank's job may be in jeopardy.
Niles Paul: I'm not going to go too hard on Paul here, but he just didn't have the best debut at his new position. His blocking was sub-par, and he dropped some catchable passes, most noticeable a rocket in the seam from Cousins, that frankly, could not have been thrown any better. He will really need to step up his play from here on out.
Jordan Black: The newly acquired offensive tackle looked horrible in his Redskins debut Thursday night. I knew some rust was to be expected, but he looked like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, consistently getting beaten by even the worst linemen Buffalo had. And, oh yeah, if he's 305 pounds, than I'm Dwight Howard. I don't expect Black to last more than two weeks with the Skins.
Jarvis Jenkins: I know, I know, this one is a bit out there, bit considering what we saw from Jenkins last season, this was clearly not the same man. I'm not going to berate his play, but let's just say it was not what I was expecting to see. He looked slow reacting, and showed very little power in his pass rush. Hopefully, this was him just getting some rust off.
Evan Royster: Not too much to harp on here, but that fumble was clearly his fault, as he took a poor angle, and did not open his pocket wide enough to receive the hand-off. Aside from that play, Royster did nothing to suggest he is any more than a backup in this league. I didn't see any burst through the hole, and he didn't finish any of his runs hard. I will cut him some slack, as many of his runs where called to the right behind Polumbus.
The Refs: Need I say more? The calls, or lack of in this game were horrible. Please, get this strike over with, and bring back the real zebras.
David Jones: Jones played well in coverage, and had a great hit on a screen pass to the left of the Buffalo formation. Jones is a big, physical corner, and it showed on tape multiple times during the game.
Keenan Robinson: The rookie's debut did not go without mistakes (the pass interference in the end zone), but the kid is super athletic, and made some nice plays in both the run and pass game. He's definitely one to watch as the preseason continues. No way the Skins can let this kid hit the practice squad.
Aldrick Robinson: For those of you who missed the forth quarter of the game, you missed some nice plays from the second year wide receiver. Robinson had two catches for 28 yards, but he also had a nice catch on a crossing route that was called back for holding, and flashed his speed on another, when he blew by a Bill defensive back on a double move, and drew a pass interference when the defender had to pull him to the ground before the ball arrived; Robinson nearly made the catch anyways.