What We Saw: Preseason Week 1

Catch everything you missed from a weekend chock full of football

Colts @ Bills

Final Score: Bills 23, Colts 19

Writer: Chad Simpson (@Caochadttv on Twitter)


A game that was meant to showcase highly touted rookies failed to live up to expectations. Anthony Richardson had a mediocre debut highlighted by one bulldozing short run. Dalton Kincaid spent the evening blocking. Gardner Minshew and Sam Ehlinger had a battle of efficiency in their fight for a roster spot. Kyle Allen had a get-cut-from-the-USFL level performance. James Cook and Josh Downs shined above all others in these two sputtering offenses.


Indianapolis Colts




Anthony Richardson: 7/12, 67 yards, INT | 2 carries, 7 yards


Disappointing debut for the touted rookie signal caller. Seemed to be a coaching decision to work on quick throws and a small play and route tree for his debut. Flashed his physical tools during his time outside the pocket.


  • Stayed upright which might be the best outcome from an outing like this considering the beleaguered Offensive Line play last year
  •  First pass was rushed into double coverage
  • After rushing his first two passes he loops a terrible pass that led to his 1 INT
  • Started 2nd drive by escaping Gregory Rousseau and bulldozing a defender on his way out of bounds

Missed Opportunities

  • Rushed throws
  • High throws
  • Wide throws


Gardner Minshew: 6/6, 72 yards, 2 sacks


In a night chock full of INT’s, Minshew delivered a stellar performance. Minshew was consistently on target and making quality throws during his time with the backups.

Missed Opportunities

  • The only real missed opportunity is that Ehlinger was decent as well, which means Minshew failed to separate from him further or gain ground on Richardson


Sam Ehlinger:  8/9 72 yards, sack | 2 carries, 10 yards


Missed Opportunities

Minshew was better, which means Sam fails to gain on him in his quest to retain a roster spot.


Running Back


Evan Hull: 7 carries, 15 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 18 yards


Failed to stand out in the battle for the backup job behind JT in light of the Zack Moss injury. Inability to find open lanes and consistently running into the defense in standard formations. Looked better in No-Huddle offense.


  • Nothing going in the run game overall
  • 2nd carry from no huddle was a strong effort for a 1st down
  • Failed to convert “crucial” 4th and 1 on second drive

Missed Opportunities

  • Aforementioned battle for backup duties went poorly overall


Deon Jackson: 6 carries, 35 yards


Bright spot in Colts loss. Explosive and elusive, Deon was a problem all night for the Bills starters.


  • Deon looked explosive and smart from the get go, managing to bounce an inside run from deep in the line of scrimmage back out for a gain
  • Was by far the most explosive playmaker on either team not named James Cook
  • Looks to be the frontrunner for the #2 duty until, and possibly after, Zack Moss returns from injury

Missed Opportunities

  • The crowded RB room in Indy left him with a great line that could’ve been much greater


Kenyan Drake: 5 carries, 10 yards


They need to call him on his cellphone and cut him.


  • Yuck
  • Yuck
  • These next few games might be the end of the line for Drake who looked like he was running in cement

Missed Opportunities

  • Being given the ball was a missed opportunity for the Colts each time.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Michael Pittman Jr: 1 target, 1 reception, 9 yards


It was a quiet night for the star WR. His lone catch was a max height jump ball on a high laser from Richardson. He was a victim of the Anthony Richardson speed-throwing experiment, never getting an opportunity to showcase his talents.


Isaiah Mckenzie: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 20 yards


Underwhelms in preseason revenge game. Potentially loses slot receiver and returner role to Josh Downs.


  • Terrible decision to start the game by taking the ball 5 yards deep in the end zone with no blocks setup. This resulted in an ugly 15 yard return negated by a holding call which setup Anthony Richardson’s debut in an awful situation.
  • Ran into tackles consistently
  • Couldn’t make a play on Richardson’s INT

Missed Opportunities

  • Revenge game spent running straight into tackles is not how he wanted to start his year, nor did he want to see Josh Downs thrive


Malik Turner: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 48 yards



  • Made the most of his 4 targets on a quiet night from the offense
  • Has the early edge on gaining a role in this offense behind the starters as a rotational burner
  • Might be the first time someone with that skillset was the safety blanket for a QB, but with the rest of the offense snoozing here we are


Josh Downs: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 29 yards | 73 Return yards


Mckenzie might have started the night with a lock on the slot/return duties, but Downs is coming fast for the job. Each return and each catch showed an explosiveness this Colts offense hasn’t seen since Peyton Manning was still the QB.


  • While Malik Turner had the better line Downs was the big winner of the night
  • Mistake-free decision making
  • Looking like a great dartboard WR in backend of drafts


Buffalo Bills




Kyle Allen: 8/15, 122 yards, INT, 2 sacks | 1 carry, 5 yards


Brutal start in the battle with Matt Barkley for the backup job. Actually, the word “brutal” is still selling this short.


  • My notes are a bit stained with vomit after watching this performance
  • First drive was amazing he attempted 0 passes on it
  • 2nd drive ends on his 1st attempt, a terrible throw that nearly went right to the defender
  • Next throw was a dangerous horizontal throw while being absolutely devoured by the defense in brutal fashion that Latavius Murray managed to get back to.
  • Next throw was deflected at line of scrimmage
  • Followed that up with a terrible throw bailed out by Khalil Shakir
  • Pick Six on another bad throw decision
  • Would not shock me if the Bills look for another QB before the preseason is over in light of this performance

Missed Opportunities

  • Every throw


Matt Barkley: 14/15, 172 yards, 2 TD, sack | 3 carries, -2 yards


Matt Barkley put a stranglehold on the backup job tonight. Working with the backups and dregs after Kyle Allen’s nightmare run as the QB, Barkley spend the night peppering rookies Tyrell Shavers and Desmon Patmon with targets. He threw a beautiful back corner fade to Patmon for a TD, while the TD to Shavers was also a perfect throw on a blown coverage play. Barkley could not have had a better night and remains the guy if Josh Allen goes down.


Running Back


James Cook: 4 carries, 20 yards, TD


It was a strong night for the starting RB. He absolutely outclassed the Colts starters despite Kyle Allen offering no alternative offensive threat.


  • Strong up the middle run to start the drive after Richardson’s INT
  • Followed up the negated run with a drive to the outside for a TD
  • Continued effectiveness into 2nd drive slipping multiple tackles

Missed Opportunities

  • Had a great 2nd run negated by a Trent Sherfield illegal shift


Latavius Murray: 5 carries, 18 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions 21 yards


Murray had a very Murray line. Each run was uneventful. Each catch was solid but lacking any chance of explosion. To his credit, he may have separated enough from the pack to make this a battle between him and Damien Harris (assuming Harris is healthy).


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Dalton Kincaid: 0


Spent the game in protection. Hard to takeaway much from this outing, which seemed planned to focus on blocking. No noteworthy blown spots.

Missed Opportunities

  • For Fantasy Owners to see what he could do


Andy Isabella: 3 targets, 3 receptions 42 yards | 48 Return yards


I was not expecting to have to say something about Andy Isabella. Long a darling of the fantasy community, there is a scenario where he works his way into a big role with McKenzie gone.


  • Looked fluid on each of his routes
  • Made the most of his targets
  • His returns were uneventful but they do standout that he received them which also lends toward him benefiting more from the Isaiah Mckenzie-sized hole in the offense


Khalil Shakir: 4 targets, 2 receptions 25 yards

Tyrell Shavers: 5 targets, 2 receptions 38 yards, TD


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