Here's a little look at my Friday night when I live blog in Word my experience watching the replay of last night's Washington Redskins versus Buffalo Bills preseason debut. Let me know what you think, I'm hoping to keep these going into the season.
I’m about 30 minutes late to turning on the first quarter of the Bills' replay, just in time to see RGIII throw his first pro touchdown to Pierre Garcon followed by a fine clothing commercial featuring Bills CEO Russ Brandon telling everyone where he buys his suits, that they don't need to go to New York or Toronto to shop. Thanks for the tip, Russ, next time I drop a G on a suit. The rebranding of the franchise and the demographic turnover of Bills fans from steel workers to something else apparently can’t come fast enough.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is in the no-huddle on his own 10, apparently trying to K-Gun his way down the field.
At 4:46 Chandler catches it 25 yards down the seam. That has to be a good sign. Then Stevie Johnson gets in on the next play for 10 yards or so.
Third-and-10, 3:55, Bills go five wide. Ball’s there for Johnson near the sideline but it sails over his head. Almost exactly where Chandler’s catch landed, but Johnson’s not 6’7’’.
Bubble player and gunner on special teams who showed something last year in same role, Ruvell Martin, makes a nice play on a punt to down it near the 5-yard line, but apparently he stumbled past the goal line? What did the officials see there? Not even close. Whoa! Moorman giving an earful to the officials. He looks like Earl Weaver out there; when has that ever happened?
Wait, the Bills are challenging punt coverage in a preseason game? Bad call or no, it's preseason, relax guys! Tasker says, "that’s a good challenge.” The replacement officials get on the scoreboard early with an awful call. No wonder Moorman was upset. Martin downs it at the 4-yard line, nowhere close to the goal line.
Rex Grossman trots out. Where’s John Beck? How's Carrington supposed to make the team without John Beck out there? Rookie Ron Brooks greets Grossman with a near pick on the first play. Brooks wears No. 33. That strikes me a classy. Something tells me he’s gonna be a good player.
Dareus, a run stuff on second down.
Supposedly there’s 55,000-something in the stands, but c’mon. Maybe half that in actuality. I guess seeing the new team versus RGIII for about eight minutes of action wasn’t appealing enough.
Fitzpatrick passing again. Bills refusing to run, like it might kill them. If Fitz is only playing 15 snaps, why not let them throw it? Evidently, there’s work to do, he’s way off . On third down, Fitzpatrick looks like he wastes some energy on his throw, keeping his hands low. But the real reason the pass doesn’t work is Johnson is shoved to the ground as he breaks toward the middle of the field. Should've been an interference call on that one. Replacement refs chalk up another point.
Grossman’s not going no-huddle, but he looks like he’s in a hurry to get back off the field. This has all the makings of a regular-season Cleveland versus Buffalo puntathon.
A.C. Slater from Saved by the Bell lets me know on the commercial break that he hosts some celebrity news show in the 7 p.m. ET slot on my local ABC affiliate. Mario Lopez, as he’s known in the real world. Just now realizing how non-Hispanic “A.C. Slater” is. I suppose it’s slightly ambiguous.
Jay Ross and Sam Young are both wearing No. 71 in the same game. I never knew that happened.
A bunch of flags, a bunch of commercials. I don’t think I’m ready for Buffalo injury lawyers Cellino and Barnes to switch their phone number from 854-2020 to 888-8888. Their jingle just doesn’t sound right.
Game back on. I have to say I’ve noticed Mark Anderson a LOT tonight. He’s off the snap super quick and into the backfield, sometimes overpursuing the pocket, but he still looks fast and dangerous.
Roosevelt gets a 20-yard return on a punt. Love it. I doubt Roosevelt has a spot, but would love to see him find a way, even if it’s on special teams.
Fitzpatrick on the sidelines. Apparently there was no real game plan for the game aside from letting Fitz go no-huddle and look for openings in the spread. And I like the approach; why not? They have to keep things pretty bland play call-wise, and if the Bills are to be any good this year, Fitzpatrick has to be an artist in quick decisions.
Thigpen on a 3rd-and-3 tries to hit Clowney on a quick slant but Clowney is held and there’s no flag. We’re getting glimpses of how bad the season might be if this labor dispute with the officials lasts. If this game mattered, it might really get ugly.
There's 8:02 left in the second and the Bills D on the field looks like a first-string unit from previous years. I’m scared the Bills might cut Edwards or Johnson, a la Hangartner 2011.
Ron Brooks makes a great play on a deep third-down ball, looking back for the ball in the air and almost picking it off. I like seeing a rookie having the awareness to not just go for a pass breakup, but a possible pick.
Bills come down to the goal line with four minutes until the half and get stuffed on two run plays to Choice. The vanilla play calls in full effect now. On third down, they go to the air and there’s finally a defensive holding call.
Now the Bills get three cracks on the 1-yard line. I already know they don’t score, the game’s on replay after all, but it's still fun in a perverse kind of way. I’ve watched a lot of bad Bills football in my life. I can handle it.
Not really. They try a draw play that got Choice some yards earlier on the drive but it goes nowhere too. Even in the replay they can’t score!
With two minutes left, Lindell comes out and misses from extremely short range with one of the worst kicks you’ll ever see in an NFL game.
Kirk Cousins, the other Redskins rookie QB comes out for the two-minute drill and my new favorite Bill, Ron Brooks, makes a great play on a hard pass and picks it off.
Thigpen answers in kind with a pick of his own on a horribly underthrown ball to an open T.J. Graham down the sideline.
It’s kind of nice to see football on TV, under lights. It always looks good. But it’s hard for me to care about preseason football. And I’m not alone. The Ralph is mostly empty, except for the diehards and season ticket holders who figured they already paid for the game, they might as well go. It’s been a while since the Ralph has hosted a night game, hasn’t it?
Cousins getting ready to throw a Hail Mary but then there’s a 10-second run-off for some reason and Cousins is put out of his misery, for now.
During halftime, Hannah Buehler from buffalobills.com features a highlight on an Oakvillle, Ontario Bills fan named Robert Hall who built an enormous Lego replica of the Ralph in his basement. This guy’s inner child is so big it’s kind of lovely. To paraphrase, he says, “it took me a long friccin time to build this monstrosity but I didn’t give up, because Bills fans don’t give up.”
Wait, are they seriously going to do a whole halftime show on the replay? I was so distracted by the Lego Ralph I didn’t realize they wouldn’t just skip it.
Vince Young comes out and goes three-and-out, featuring a screen pass where Kamar Aiken absolutely blows a block and Choice gets drilled by a corner. Even second- and third-string corners can hit, apparently. This game is starting to resemble a regular-season game against Cleveland.
My almost-11-year-old daughter (she wasn’t happy with me writing 10) comes out to watch this game and that makes me feel kind of bad because this is the last example of football anyone should ever try to endure. I try to explain the whole blackout policy and how and why we’re watching the game a day after when I realize again how idiotic the blackout policy is. However bad it is in the regular season, enforcing the blackout in the preseason is even worse. They should pay people to watch preseason games this deep into the second half.
Whoa! I just saw a breast close-up on a plastic surgery commercial, didn’t I? What a world.
And it’s only halfway through the third quarter. Vince Young doesn’t look like he can actually pass a football. Tasker nicely points out how bad his footwork was on one incomplete throw. I understand he’s learning “the system,” but not getting his feet set right on a short throw with no one in his face is just kind of weird. Isn’t David Lee his coach too?
I admit, I’m in and out here, but I come back in time to see Vince Young miss on an open Aiken down the sideline and again I see his feet not properly set. And then again on a pass intended for Dorin Dickerson, Young just kind of back-foots a floater.
I just watched another, far more exciting, event on tape: the women's 4x100-meter final. The Americans blew the Jamaicans away, posting a world record. My daughter’s interest finally piqued.
Fast forward to 9:21 of the fourth quarter. Kyle Moore with two great QB pressures from the end position, one ending in an offensive holding call, the other an incompletion as he grabs Cousins' body while he’s passing. Of course it’s a backup tackle he’s burning, but this isn’t the first time I’ve noticed No. 54. He looks fast coming off the edge.
Vince Young still looks best when he’s running. He’s like the second-coming of Tebow before Tebow’s style was celebrated. I’ve heard detractors of Young argue he received the benefit of an excellent running game and defense in Tennessee when he built his 31-19 pro record. But that’s just not good enough for me, especially given the media attention for everything Tebow does.
Maybe the best moment of the night, aside from the interview with the ever-infectious glee of Marcell Dareus, the broadcast just showed a crowd of wide-eyed kids lining the sideline stands, after presumably having moved down from other seats into the vacated prime seats.
Roosevelt with another nice punt return. The guy's got great hands. That might be a punt returner’s greatest asset.
Bentley and Tasker just lost me, praising Vince Young for his production? Could they possibly be watching the same game?
Whoa, I just noticed Mike Jasper. It’s not everyday you can look at a line of 300-pound men and see one noticeably bigger than any of them, by a lot.
Two minutes left and the Redskins are facing a 3rd-and-long. The 12th man, all 12 of them left, actually make some noise, as in, “let’s get a stop here and try to win this game.” Have I mentioned the Bills are down by a point? It’s 7-6. Robert Hall from Oakville is right, Bills fans don’t give up.
Neither does Kirk Cousins. He converts it. Mark my words, Cousins is the next Matt Cassel/Matt Flynn/Kevin Kolb-type of guy. Backup to a very good starter (I think Griffin’s legit) who gets a chance with a team in the quarterback diaspora of some other team.
Oh, that’s it. Thankfully, mercifully, this game is over.
I wanna keep doing this, so let me know if you had fun.