PFF’s ReFocused series this season features immediate takeaways and a key to the victory from two Senior Analysts who graded the performance, watching every player, on every play of the game. For more data and analysis from the game, utilize our Premium Stats 2.0 dashboard to expand your knowledge on the key players, signature stats and much more.
Cincinnati Bengals 26, Buffalo Bills 13
Quarterback Andy Dalton looked sharp throughout. While wide receiver John Ross may have stolen the show with his touchdown, it was the sharp, decisive and accurate play of Dalton that should excite Bengals fans. The timing, velocity, and location on his touchdown to A.J. Green was a thing of beauty.
There was some good and some bad from rookie center Billy Price. He can make some blocks that the man he replaced just couldn’t, but there were some plays (one whiff in particular at the second level on fellow rookie Tremaine Edmunds) he won’t enjoy looking over.
The Bengals front four seemed to be able to generate pressure at will against the Bills. In particular, interior offensive linemen Vladimir Ducasse and Ryan Gory were unable to stop penetration from Geno Atkins and Andrew Billings.
The Bengals defense held them to third and long on a couple of occasions in the second half, but they were unable to force them off the field. They were also unable to force turnovers, though they should have picked off rookie quarterback Josh Allen in the first half and came close to picking off backup Nathan Peterman in the second half.
The Bills’ offensive line struggled to keep rookie quarterback Josh Allen upright for the majority of the first half. It seemed as if every pass attempt of Allen’s was under pressure which resulted in the Bills being unable to sustain long drives.
Quarterback Nathan Peterman sparked the offense into life in the second half. He had a couple of nice throws and several key third-down conversions. He showed great poise in the pocket and made good progression on his reads.
Linebacker Matt Milano was in on a lot of action, unfortunately, not all of it was good. He was impressive coming downhill in the running game, but he was outmatched when caught out in coverage (especially when lined up against Joe Mixon).
It was only preseason but the Bills’ starting corners (Vontae Davis and Tre’Davious White) struggled in the first half. White was following A.J. Green around and losing that battle, while the coverage unit as a whole struggled to pick up intermediate crossing routes throughout.
KEY TO THE GAME
Cincinnati: The Bengals were solid in pass protection and their quarterbacks made good decisions and accurate throws.
Buffalo: Despite the improved performance in the second half, the first half was the story in this one, as the Bills failed to protect Allen which resulted in zero points.