The exhibition contest between the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills did not prove to be very competitive, as Buffalo steamrolled their opponents 42-15. The teams took two different approaches to the preseason game, as the Bills played some of their starters, while the Broncos did not let their key players see the field.
Denver Broncos Takeaways
It seems like new head coach Nathaniel Hackett is trying to avoid having Denver’s season end before it even begins. The team has had a couple of injury scares so far this summer, and it seems like they will do whatever it takes to get their starters into the regular season healthy.
One of those notable injuries came earlier this month, when wide receiver Tim Patrick was lost for the season with a torn ACL. He had a good chance to be the number three wide receiver for the team. Since then, Hackett has commented about the possible role tight end Albert Okwuegbunam could have in filling that void. Okwuegbunam was mentioned as a possible candidate to play in the slot in Patrick’s spot, but his usage during Saturday’s preseason game was certainly intriguing.
He played into the 4th quarter of the game, which is usually reserved for players buried on the depth chart who are fighting for a roster spot. Okwuegbunam does not appear to be in that category, so it was a bit confusing as to why Denver’s coaching staff let him stay in that long.
Buffalo Bills Takeaways
As noted above, it wasn’t exactly a fair matchup, since the Bills wanted to get some of their headline players time on the field against a different opponent. Buffalo’s offensive starters looked as good as one might expect playing against reserves. NFL MVP candidate Josh Allen was 3/3 on the day for 45 yards and a touchdown. The rushing attack looked extremely strong as well, as the three players who will appear to form a committee this season all played well. Devin Singletary ran for 39 yards on four carries, and rookie James Cook ran for 38 yards on four carries. Zach Moss also had four totes for only 19 yards, but scored two rushing touchdowns. Even reserve Duke Johnson had a solid day on the ground, rushing nine times for 55 yards and two scores of his own.
However, perhaps the main takeaway from Buffalo’s offensive performance is the play of wide receiver Gabriel Davis. Allen’s touchdown pass was a 28 yard dart to Davis, who has picked up right where he left off in the playoffs last year. Fans will remember him catching four touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs in an epic AFC Divisional Playoff showdown.
His ascension has been a much discussed topic during the offseason, and Davis preseason performance will only add to the momentum that he could have a tremendous season alongside number one option Stefon Diggs. The connection Davis has with Allen appears to be strong, and the wide receiver is also a huge asset as a blocker in the running game as well.