Rex Ryan said the Buffalo Bills won’t name a starting quarterback until the first week of the NFL season. Getting an extended look at Tyrod Taylor, Matt Cassel and E.J. Manuel makes plenty of sense, so waiting to name a quarterback does make sense. That said, Taylor was given the opportunity to showcase his skills last night against the Cleveland Browns.
Everyone knows that Taylor can scramble and run the ball but the big question surrounding the quarterback is how he’d look at as a passer. Last night was a very encouraging step in proving that Taylor can stand in the pocket or roll out and deliver accurate passes. Here is a look at all 10 of Taylor’s throws.
Pass 1: 2nd and 7 – No gain to Bronson Hill
The short pass out to the left didn’t amount to anything on Thursday but it’s a pass the Bills could utilize throughout the season if downfield receivers aren’t open. Passing the ball out to LeSean McCoy could have a much different result than a pass to Hill.
Pass 2: 3rd and 7 – 13 yard completion to Deonte Thompson (FIRST DOWN)
First of all, the offensive line was outstanding on this play. Taylor had plenty of time to wait for Thompson to break out of his route. That said, Taylor deserves plenty of credit for delivering a picture perfect ball to Thompson for a first down.
Pass 3: 1st and 10 – 10 yard completion to Jerome Felton (FIRST DOWN)
Taylor fakes the handoff and rolls to his right. The short route to Felton is open so Taylor drops the short pass off to the fullback. Felton is able to catch the ball in stride and pick up 10 yards on the play. It wasn’t a terribly difficult throw but it was delivered right where it needed to be.
Pass 4: 3rd and 8 – 11 yard completion to Charles Clay (FIRST DOWN)
Taylor sits in the pocket and waits for Clay to come across the field. He once again delivered an accurate pass that moved the chains.
Pass 5: 3rd and 4 – 5 yard completion to Marquise Goodwin (FIRST DOWN)
Goodwin breaks off his route about 1 yard past the first down marker and Taylor delivers an accurate ball that gets to Goodwin before Tramon Williams can react. Goodwin is tackled instantly, but the pass once again goes for a first down.
Taylor finished his first series 5-of-5 for 39 yards and four first downs. He was sacked later in the drive on third down and the Bills ended up missing their field goal attempt.
Pass 6: 1st and 10 – Incomplete pass/throw away
Taylor rolls to his right and has to deal with pressure from Paul Kruger. Taylor gets by the linebacker but has two other Browns players coming at him. With no other option, Taylor throws the ball away. Instead of trying to make something out of nothing, Taylor made the smart play for the Bills.
Pass 7: 3rd and 6 – 22 yard completion to Deonte Thompson (FIRST DOWN)
This was arguably Taylor’s best pass of the evening. With pressure around him, Taylor steps up in the pocket and instead of running with the ball, he delivers a perfect strike to Thompson. The receiver gets two feet down to move the chains.
Pass 8: 2nd and 19 – 4 yard completion to Chris Hogan
Marquise Goodwin lost nine yards on first down on an end around play that was blown up by Kruger. Backed up, Taylor tries to get some of the yards back on a short pass to Hogan. Taylor delivers an accurate pass that Hogan pulls in but Bademosi has terrific coverage and brings Hogan down immediately.
Pass 9: 3rd and 15 – Incomplete pass downfield to Deonte Thompson
This was Taylor’s only inaccurate pass of the evening. The quarterback had time in the pocket and he tried to get a big gain down the field to Thompson. The receiver is being covered well and the ball is just out of his reach. It wasn’t a terrible pass by any means, but it was Taylor’s worst throw of the night.
Taylor finished his second series going 2-of-4 for 26 yards.
Pass 10: 3rd and 9 – Incomplete pass in end zone to Deonte Thompson
This was Taylor’s only throw in his third series and the last of his evening. After Josh McCown’s second interception, Buffalo ran the ball on five consecutive plays, including two runs by Taylor for 28 yards. On 3rd and 9, Taylor goes for the touchdown on a pass to Thompson. It was a beautiful pass that Thompson should have caught for the touchdown. This was another impressive throw for Taylor, even if it did go incomplete. Thompson could argue that Bademosi made contact with his arm before the ball came in but it was a close play. Regardless, the ball should have been caught.
Taylor finished the first half completing 70 percent of his passes for 65 yards. One of his incomplete passes was a throw away and the last should have been caught his receiver. In all, Taylor only made one inaccurate pass throughout the evening.
Taylor moved the ball well considering his top five running backs were out of action. In addition to this, the Bills started the game without their top three receivers and Hogan and Goodwin missed some time with injuries as well.
In his first test as a passer, Taylor passed with flying colors. Buffalo is now halfway through the preseason and Taylor has made a pretty good case for himself to be the team’s starting quarterback in Week 1.