Buffalo Bills Drop Preseason Opener to Washington, 7-6


Preseason openers are typically ugly affairs, and the Bills’ first 2012 exhibition contest was no exception. The Washington Redskins got a first-quarter touchdown pass from rookie QB Robert Griffin III to Pierre Garcon and that was enough points as the Redskins held off the Bills 7-6 in Orchard Park Thursday night.

This one was pretty hideous, so don’t feel too bad about missing this on TV if you live in the blackout zone. It had all you can expect from the first preseason game, including tons of penalties – The teams combined for 23 penalties – and a complete lack of offense.

Buffalo’s first-team offense was obviously determined to throw the ball, as the starters ran 15 plays – and all were called passes. Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked on the first play, and then completed 6-of-14 for 61 yards. (Fitz did have a touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson called back due to an illegal formation penalty.)

After the game, Fitz didn’t mince words when asked how he felt the starting offense performed. “I thought it was really poor,” Fitzpatrick said. “But luckily it’s preseason. … We have a lot to work on and we are looking forward to this season coming up.”

Fitz added, “It’s the first preseason game for us, and so we knew there was going to be some sloppy stuff. There was no game plan. We just wanted to go out there and try to get it figured out on the field, and we were not real successful.” That pretty much sums it up.

The starting defense was solid enough, despite basically just using a base formation all night. After shutting down the ‘Skins twice, RGIII led the Washington offense on one scoring drive, which proved to be enough for the win.

Assorted notes from this one:

– George Wilson recovered a Washington fumble deep in Redskins territory, leading to a Bills field goal.

– Rookie CB Ron Brooks had a nice night, grabbing an interception and breaking up a few other passes.

– LB Scott McKillop led the Bills with six tackles. He doesn’t get talked about a lot, but McKillop could make this team.

– Neither Fred Jackson nor C.J. Spiller got to carry the ball. Johnny White got five carries for 25 yards. Terrible Tashard Choice put up very Tashard Choice-like numbers with 16 yards on nine carries, good for a whopping 1.8 yard average. God, he sucks.

– #2 QB watch: ugh. Tyler Thigpen was pretty freaking awful, going 3-for-8 for 38 yards and an INT. Vince Young wasn’t a ton better, at 5-for-12 f0r 50 yards. Young did rip off a few nice runs though, and actually finished as Buffalo’s leading rusher with 37 yards on five carries.

– Buffalo’s vaunted new defensive line didn’t really do much, although DT Kyle Williams looked good in limited snaps.

– Rookie K John Potter blasted all three of his kickoffs into the endzone for touchbacks, which can only bolster his case to be kept around as a kickoff specialist.