Bills Preseason Game 1: The Good, The Bad + The Ugly
blog by Ben Kirst • August 14, 2011 @ 9:56am
Has Buffalo Bills football ever looked as good as it did on Saturday night? Sure, it was a meaningless preseason game on a crummy field in Chicago with serious minutes dedicated to the likes of TJ Langley and Paul Hubbard, but after the lockout—and 20-some years of those awful red helmets—it was fantastic to see the white-hatted Bills in action.
By the way, it’s too bad Buffalo traded Lee Evans—if they keep Hubbard (which is completely unlikely), they could have lined up for battle with their skill positions manned by an Ivy League QB (Ryan Fitzpatrick), a Division III RB (Fred Jackson), two WRs from a Big Ten school known for sausage-grinding offense (Evans / Hubbard, Wisconsin), and a TE from an FCS school (Mike Caussin, James Madison). That, my friends, is how you frighten a defense.
Lights Out! OLB Sean Merriman had three tackles and two sacks. If there was any doubt he would be the AFC Defensive MVP, then it has been completely erased. Danny Batten, the pride of South Dakota State, also had two sacks. Rookie CB Aaron Williams picked off a Nathan Enderle pass. Take that garbage back to Idaho, Enderle! On the offensive side of the ball, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was 7-for-9 on pass attempts for 44 yards. Georgia Tech product Josh Nesbitt broke off a 21-yard run and Rian Lindell drilled a 44-yard FG for the Bills’ only points. The Bills new white helmets and white unis looked amazing.
Chicago HB Marion Barber looked barbarian-esque in a second quarter drive, gouging the Buffalo defense for 31 yards on a 52-yard TD drive. Newly acquired QB Tyler Thigpen didn’t seem especially sharp, completing just one of five pass attempts for five yards. Marcus Easley coughed up a fumble on his first kick return, which fortunately was nullified on a procedure penalty by the Bears. Special teams also gave up a 70-yard kick return to the Bears’ Johnny Knox.
Although it was proclaimed “(not) bad at all” by noted turf expert Roy Williams, the field surface at Soldier Field was in question leading up to game time. Apparently the field was under-watered this summer and, as a result, couldn’t handle heavy rains this week. The Bears are one of the oldest and proudest franchises in the NFL, and Soldier Field is supposed to be a venerable stadium—the venue has underwent millions of dollars in renovations over the past decade. Why, then, does Soldier Field’s reputation as a joke continue? Get it together, groundskeepers.