Aaron Maybin Looking Sharp, But the Bills' Defense Needs Work
Last night, the Buffalo Bills took on Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, and the Cincinnati Bengals in the first game at Ralph Wilson stadium. The Bills played well and earned a much needed 35-20 victory over the Bengals. It was the second consecutive week that the Bills put up 30+ points, giving Bills fans a lot to be optimistic about.
The offense was moving on all cylinders, and quarterback Trent Edwards was displaying great pocket presence, going 13-17 for 153 yards and a touchdown in the first half, with no interceptions.
The defense on the other hand, couldn't seem to contain Cincinnati's spread attack, exploiting Terrence McGee's small stature by lining Terrell Owens against him.
This slideshow takes a look at the game from a defensive point of view.
The Buffalo Bills defense was simply outmatched and unprepared for the Cincinnati Bengals newly loaded arsenal featuring wide receiver Terrell Owens and rookie tight end, Jermaine Gresham.
On the first drive, followed by a long kick return by Adam "Pac Man" Jones, the Bengals marched down the field, leading to a nine yard touchdown pass to a wide open, uncovered Gresham.
Bengals quarterback, Palmer also connected with Chad Ochocinco for a six yard touchdown, while Terrell Owens caught three passes for 35 yards.
In just three series on the field, Palmer completed nine of 11 passes for 95 yards.
Reggie Corner, who is struggling to keep his spot on the roster after being beaten in recent preseason games by trying too hard to make plays, made a key interception in the fourth quarter and returned it for a touchdown.
This is exciting, considering the pick six McGee made last week against the Colts.
The Bills were simply over matched by the arsenal of weapons at the Bengals disposal, and it is a point that needs to be focused on, if they wish to compete in the AFC East, which features wide receivers of the likes of Brandon Marshall, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Santonio Holmes.
As the Bills are still adjusting and transitioning to the newly installed 3-4 defensive scheme, stopping the run still seems to be an issue.
After allowing 112 rushing yards against the Indianapolis Colts in last weeks victory in Toronto, the Bills still struggled against the run.
Cedric Benson, the starting running back of the Cincinnati Bengals rushed just eight times, managing 50 yards, including a huge 20 yard gain.
The problems didn't stop there, and by the end of the night the Bengals gained 119 yards on 24 carries.
The rushing total may have been larger, if not for a huge stop on 4th and 1, when Donte Whitner stuffed Benson at the line, forcing a turnover.
Aaron Maybin Showed Up To Play
After reports earlier this week stating that Aaron Maybin has been consistently making progress, he showed that on the field last night. Maybin, the Bills first round draft selection in 2009 made very little impact last season, but is proving his dedication throughout the preseason.
He recorded two sacks last night, one of which left me wondering if Bengals quarterback, Jordan Palmer, could even get up.
Maybin was absolutely manhandled in the first preseason game against the Washington Redskins by a rookie offensive lineman, Trent Williams, and continued to work hard against the Colts, making three tackles.
Last night, you could tell he is improving, which is great to hear for a player that was almost ready to be labeled as a bust after one season.
Hopefully Maybin continues his progress, and can make a statement in the final preseason game against the Lions, an opponent which he gained his first sack against last season, forcing Matthew Stafford to fumble.
Arthur Moats Showing Versatility
When the Bills drafted Arthur Moats, a defensive end from James Madison, many fans were scratching their heads. When head coach Chan Gailey, stated that he was planning on moving Moats to inside linebacker, the confusion grew. Until last night.
Moats found himself close to the top of the stat sheet, recording six tackles, four of which coming in the fourth quarter.
In addition, Moats forced Quan Cosby to fumble, which was recovered by cornerback, Ellis Lankster.
He made a huge hit on Jordan Palmer, rushing through a wide open gap and laying a physical hit on the beaten up quarterback.
Moats has been great on special teams as well, and has reportedly been doing whatever he can to improve not only his personal game, but the team as well. It will be interesting to watch Moats grow and develop.
Andra Davis And Dwan Edwards Make Statements
Early in the offseason when it was announced that the Bills were transitioning to the 3-4 defense, they quickly signed veteran defensive end Dwan Edwards and veteran inside linebacker, Andra Davis.
Both are well versed in the 3-4, and showed last night why they were brought on to the team.
Davis was roaming the middle of the field, recording seven tackles, two of which were for losses. It was good to see him pointing out to players where they needed to be, as a veteran and leader should.
Dwan Edwards was constantly closing the pocket, and recorded a sack, proving that the defensive ends in 3-4 could still put up stats.
Bills Safeties Are Safe Without Jairus Byrd
Jairus Byrd hasn't been able to compete in the last two preseason games, due to a groin injury. His replacement, George Wilson, was a huge contributor in last season's defense as he recorded over 100 tackles.
Wilson made nine tackles, and almost had a sack last night, though many of his tackles were necessary due the blown coverage of Leodis McKelvin.
Either way, the presence of George WIlson, who was a huge contributor last season can give optimism to the Bills secondary while Byrd is out, although Byrd's ball-hawking skills will be missed.
Bills Forcing Turnovers, Not Giving Them
Last week against the Indianapolis Colts, the Buffalo Bills forced three fumbles, as well as intercepting a Peyton Manning pass for a touchdown.
The Bills didn't make any turnovers.
Last night, the Bills intercepted a pass for a touchdown again, as well as forcing a fumble.
Again, the Bills didn't turn the ball over.
This is a great sign for fans who have been watching the defense shine, only to be let down by poor decision making that have been causing turnovers, leading to losses
What To Work on For Next Week
The Bills face the Lions next week, for the fourth and final preseason game before the season starts. The Lions put up 35 points against the Cleveland Browns yesterday, and their offense is looking good.
The Lions carried 26 times for 109 yards, so the Bills rush defense will be tested again.
Matthew Stafford is slowly coming into his own, as he passed for 141 yards and a touchdown.
The Bills pass defense will be tested by one of the best wide receivers in the game, Calvin Johnson. Normally, teams would focus specifically on doubling, or even triple teaming Johnson, but with the addition of Nate Burleson, this game can end up being a real test of how the Bills will improve.