The first string offense looked pretty unspectacular for a second week in a row, as the Minnesota Vikings handily beat the Buffalo Bills, 36-14.
The first string offense was mostly ineffective in the first quarter. And by “mostly ineffective”, I mean “downright awful”, as they gained a measly SIX yards on the first eight plays of the game. No, that is not a typo. The running game looked bleak and the passing game… yeah, when you gain six yards the first eight plays you can probably guess how that went.
The first stringers picked it up, however, it was only once the Vikings first string defense was pulled out of the game that they looked effective. Fred Jackson got the offense really going with a 20-yard run, and Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Donald Jones for a 31-yard touchdown. This was against the second string Defense, but it felt good to finally see them get into the end zone.
The Bills defense… not so good either. They had a couple of big sacks on the first drive from Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams, however, after both sacks Minnesota was able to recover with huge plays of 20-plus yards. The Bills defense actually gave up SIX plays of twenty or more yards in the first half, not good for a Defense that most hoped would remind them of the Super Bowl years, not the early 2000’s. Luckily they came together and held the Vikings to four field goal attempts, three of which were made.
Vince Young came out for the second half and showed that he badly wants the backup job. Young made great plays scrambling and made what I think was the play of the game, launching a 64-yard bomb of a pass to rookie Wide Receiver T.J. Graham. He looked pretty good out there, and I think that he will end up being the backup QB. The Vikings scored another FG, making the score 19-14, and the next drive Young came out of the game. Tyler Thigpen came out late in the game and was slightly effective, leading the Bills to the Vikings 22. Thigpen, however, threw short on 4th-and-5 and the Bills could not convert, giving Minnesota the ball back. The Vikings had a big drive, leading to another FG. The following two drives Thigpen and Brad Smith- who came in to relieve Thigpen- must have been super confused as to what team Audie Cole played for, because the Vikings rookie Linebacker had interceptions for touchdowns on consecutive plays, bringing the score to a completely out of reach 36-14 with three minutes left to play.
The Bills need to cut down on the penalties and start stronger if they want to improve this season. Fitzpatrick went 8-for-11, but had only 56 yards, and 31 of those were on one play. He’s going to have to start making more big plays and more often, or else he could be fighting for his job. Young finished 8 of 14 with 123 yards and a touchdown, whilst showing many that he is interested in making this a future Quarterback controversy should the Amish Rifle misfire.
I’m so glad this is the preseason, and doesn’t really count too much… but if this is how the starting offense is going to play, it looks like we could be in for an interesting ride yet again here in Buffalo.
*On a random side note, I absent-mindedly typed Ryan Fitzpatrick’s name as “Rory” no less than three times this entry. Blame my resurgence of NHL05 for XBox for that one.