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Second half push gets Vikes win over Bills

Posted Aug 10, 2017

A recap of Buffalo's preseason opener against Minnesota.


Location: New Era Field, Orchard Park, NY

Preseason records: Buffalo (0-1), Minnesota (1-0)

In a nutshell:
The Vikings broke a 3-3 halftime tie with a pair of third quarter touchdown drives and spoiled head coach Sean McDermott’s preseason debut in a 17-10 victory over the Bills.

Minnesota scored on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter marching 69 and 71 yards on the two drives before finishing with a pair of two-yard scoring plays.

Nate Peterman tried to help Buffalo stage a comeback as he led a 13-play, 79-yard scoring drive in the early stages of the fourth quarter. Peterman hit Dez Lewis in the back left corner of the end zone for a one-yard touchdown to make it a one score game (17-10).

After a Joe Powell interception, Peterman and the offense had another chance in plus territory, but his fourth down conversion attempt to Taiwan Jones was dropped forcing a turnover on downs. Two other late possessions by the Bills also were turned over on downs as Peterman was under constant pressure.

It wasn’t a highlight reel first half to say the least as both the Bills and Vikings played things close to the vest. The result was a 3-3 tie after two quarters of play.

The Bills first team offense had some positive plays early with Sammy Watkins involved and Jonathan Williams breaking off a couple of good runs. Tyrod Taylor finished 5-8 passing for 46 yards with four of his completions going to Watkins.

How it went down:
-The Bills first team offense managed a field goal drive before their night was over. Tyrod Taylor orchestrated a seven-play, 37-yard drive that wrapped up with a Stephen Hauschka 42-yard field goal less than a minute into the second quarter.

-Kai Forbath tied the game with three minutes left in the first half with a 36-yard field goal, which capped an 11-play 60-yard drive against the Bills second team defense.

-The Vikings took their first lead of the game with 10 minutes left in the third quarter when C.J. Ham plunged in from two yards out for a touchdown and a 10-3 Minnesota lead.

-Minnesota expanded that lead to 14 points when Tyler Heinicke found Rodney Adams for a two-yard touchdown pass to finish a lengthy 14-play, 71-yard drive (17-3) with a minute left in the third.

-Nate Peterman hit Dez Lewis with a fade pass in the back left corner of the end zone for a one-yard scoring play to make it 17-10 with 10 minutes left in the game.

From the locker room
“Well, I like how we came out and established ourselves on the line of scrimmage on both sides, really pressured the quarterback on defense. I didn’t like the penalties. We’ve got to be more disciplined than that and stop shooting ourselves in the foot.”
--Head coach Sean McDermott

“I was a [defensive] end out of college, so it’s just fun to kind of get back in the groove of putting my hand on the ground, getting in the transition, just kind of doing what I can do best. I just had a great get off, was able to pick up on the tackle’s set and I just hands down, went straight to the quarterback. I’m just trying to have fun, get the ball back to the offense. The quarterback did a great job of tucking it back in there though.”
--DE Jerry Hughes

Subplots:
-The right side of the starting offensive line continued to see rotation as has been the case in training camp. After John Miller and Jordan Mills manned right guard and right tackle on the first offensive series, Vladimir Ducasse and Dion Dawkins rotated in for the second possession.

The two pairings then rotated every other series even when the second team offense was in the game.

-Eddie Yarbrough posted a sack on the first series of the game on third down to force a Vikings punt. It proved to be a sign of things to come as he was the most effective player on the field in the first half consistently winning one-on-one battles.

-Jonathan Williams got the nod with the starting offense as LeSean McCoy did not play. He finished 39 yards on four carries and ran effectively.

-Joe Powell had an interception in the fourth quarter thanks in part to a quarterback pressure by Max Valles.

-The running back rotation in the game went Jonathan Williams, Mike Tolbert, Joe Banyard, Cedric O’Neal, Jordan Johnson and Taiwan Jones.

-Gerald Hodges was the second team middle linebacker, playing largely in the nickel package as Minnesota went with a three receiver set a good deal of the time. Reggie Ragland eventually replaced Hodges with the second unit at the start of the second half. Hodges at that point moved outside.

-Players who did not dress for the Bills were S Colt Anderson, WR Anquan Boldin, WR Jeremy Butler, DE Ryan Davis, OT Cordy Glenn, DE Shaq Lawson, CB Kevon Seymour.

-Jake Metz played right defensive end with the second team in place of Davis. Bradley Sylve lined up as a second team corner with Seymour out of the lineup.

-LB Tanner Vallejo sustained a shoulder injury in the first half and did not return to the game.

Up next: The Bills travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in their second preseason contest on Thurs. Aug. 17th for a 7pm kickoff at Licoln Financial Field.

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