Buffalo Bills offensive line struggles in preseason loss to Cincinnati

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills offensive line showed there is much work to be done after a brutal day of work against the Cincinnati Bengals.

It’s very rare for an opposing team to be welcomed into a home team’s stadium with open arms. But for Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals, this was just the case.

For Dalton, this game marked the first time the red-headed gunslinger would face the Buffalo Bills since his Bengals gifted the Bills their first postseason taste since 1999 with a win over the Ravens. Among all the outside noise surrounding Dalton was his charity being bombarded by support from the Buffalo faithful in thanks for his efforts against Baltimore, but that was all moved to the back burner during kickoff.

Marching onto the field in an outstanding roar from Bills fans, Josh Allen took the field in his first start since being drafted. Out of the gates, Allen seemed to be what has come to be expected of him so far: inaccurate, but with power.

Speculation surrounded Allen with his ability to make the accurate pass during pocket situations which were visually identifiable on Sunday. But the good news for Bills fans and Allen, this is correctable. Given the fact that Allen is just making his first start in the NFL, Allen has shown that though he has his flaws, that is exactly what they are. Flaws.

In due time, Allen will become the saving grace for the Bills as they indeed look at him as a piece for the present and future. And Allen’s play was not the main factor that the Bills found themselves down early in this game.

Getting wrapped up in the Bengals first play of the game, cornerback Vontae Davis was spotted looking consumed as Cincinnati receiver John Ross reeled in a pass from Dalton ending in a 57-yard touchdown. Giving the Bengals a 7-0 lead in the opening minute of the game spelled trouble for the Bills. Not because the Bengals were baiting them, but because they were beating themselves as well.

After taking a shot in the final 25 seconds of the first half, Josh Allen was taken to the sidelines to be evaluated for a head injury as his head struck the turf. This would end Allen’s night. Though he was cleared, Nathan Peterman would be slotted in replace of him to end the second quarter and the rest of the game.

Buffalo’s offensive line has been one of the major talking and weak points surrounding the team this far in the preseason. And coming into true clarity on Sunday, action needs to be taken to protect Allen. Surrendering five sacks in the first two quarters of play was the Achilles heel of the Bills. Not being able to protect the quarterback wears not just physically, but mentally on a quarterback.

Physically, Allen was not able to set his feet and deliver passes. Mentally, the stress of constantly being tackled wore into Allen’s progressions as it seemed he had less and less time to throw the ball.

In the second half, Nathan Peterman continued to impress his doubters. Recording two touchdowns in the third quarter, Peterman brought the Bills within 10 as the team trailed 23-13 going into the fourth. Throughout the rest of the game, Peterman further moved the notion that he has what it takes to be an NFL starter.

A few notable takeaways from Sunday’s game:

  • The Bills offensive line surrendered six sacks through four quarters.
  • Josh Allen completed 50 percent of his passes going 6/12 for only 34 yards.
  • Nathan Peterman completed 16/21 passes for 200 yards while recording one touchdown.
  • Marcus Murphy rushed for 58 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
  • Newly acquired Jon Ryan‘s first punt for the Bills went 41 yards in his battle with Colton Schmidt.

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The Bills next preseason matchup will take place on Thursday night against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.