'Skins edge Bills in preseason opener, 17-14

Highs and lows from the Bills preseason opening loss to the Redskins...

THUMBS UP

Top picks make an impact

Leodis McKelvin had a 45-yard punt return and a 37-yard kick return to spark the Bills. Although McKelvin's pass coverage has been suspect, it's refreshing to know that the team's first round pick will make an immediate impact on special teams.

Second-round pick James Hardy caught a 16-yard touchdown from J.P. Losman for Buffalo's only offensive touchdown.

"It was certainly nice to see our top two picks show up on the field and show their abilities," said head coach Dick Jauron. "They certainly can both play better and they'll have to."

Added McKelvin, "It felt good to come out here and just try to compete and build and help the offense with my return ability. I'm just trying to get them the best field position or I'm going to try to score. I'm going to come out in the next preseason game and work very hard defensively and in the return game."

Youboty makes a play

It's a make-or-break preseason for Ashton Youboty. After the team's slew of offseason pickups, he'll need to continue the ball-hawking he began Saturday night.

Down 14-6, Youboty picked off a Todd Collins pass and pitched it back to Reggie Corner, who took it all the way to Washington's 20-yard-line. Youboty started in place of Terrence McGee. He also played on the defense's second unit. While the Redskins' passing game under Jim Zorn was effective (20-for-32), it was a pleasant to see Youboty make a play.

He needed it.

"It felt good making a play," said Youboty. "We looked a little sluggish in the first half. We just did what we do in practice, make big plays."

Youboty also made eight tackles – second-best on the team (John Wendling had 10).

THUMBS DOWN

The new offense

For all the build-up, Turk Schonert's new offense looked like the old offense Saturday night.

Third downs: 4-for-12.

Total yards: 240

Rushing yards per carry: 3.2

Offensive production: one touchdown, two field goals

Schonert will probably have the luxury of a first-team offense for much longer next week. More will be clear with extended snaps – Trent Edwards only had five pass attempts Saturday night.

We'll re-evaluate then, but for now, the offense seems weaponless and anemic again.

Rush defense

Washington's cavalry of running backs carved through Buffalo all night. The Redskins established great balance (32 passes, 31 runs) mainly because Ladell Betts (5 att., 41 yards), Marcus Mason (16 att., 80 yards) and Clinton Portis (one TD) wore down the Bills' defense.

Washington's two touchdown drives were long and drawn out (12 plays for 53 yards, eight plays for 65 yards). Both came in the first half – when many key defensive contributors remained in the game.

The Bills ‘D' will need to gel quickly over the next three exhibition games.


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