1. Rookie QB Tyree Jackson leads Bills to exhilarating finish
Heading into tonight’s game, rookie quarterback Tyree Jackson was eight of 24 for 140 yards with one interception in his preseason appearances. Jackson knew he needed to flash on tape in his final preseason game. Down by three points with a minute to go in the fourth quarter, the rookie paraded the offense down the field for a game winning drive. Jackson, among others, had some game changing highlights to help the Bills earn their first ever undefeated preseason.
“It was awesome,” Jackson said. “All the guys played really good. The offensive line did a great job and Marcus Murphy really helped us out with that punt return [touchdown]. The defense played lights out, so it was a fun day.”
Marcus Murphy’s punt return touchdown, Lafayette Pitts' interception and an interception by Siran Neal to end the game are just a few of the headlining moments in the game.
“We just wanted to fight to the end,” Murphy said. “No matter the score on the scoreboard, obviously that’s a big deal, but we just wanted to come out and fight hard for four quarters until it was zero on the game clock. We came out and we wanted to give a good fight from start to finish, I think we did.”
Jackson finished the night 22 of 33 for 175 yards with one receiving touchdown and one rushing touchdown. The rookie led the team in rushing yards with eight carries for 78 yards.
“We felt great for Tyree,” McDermott said. “A UB product, it being here basically on his home turf and leading us to a come from behind victory. Just excited for him, excited for all those young guys that were out there and what a reaction from the sideline. I had a hard time keeping those guys back, but it just shows you the love that they have for one another.”
Jackson says quarterback Josh Allen as well as many teammates were excited about his performance.
“At the end of the day, he [Tyree Jackson] knows how to win,” tight end Jason Croom said. “I mean that’s what it takes. Everything is not going to be perfect, but you execute the plays that need to be executed to get down field and win. That’s what we needed to do, and he did it.”
The UB product says no matter what happens with his status of making the team, it has been an opportunity that he is very thankful for.
2. Mitch Morse cleared from concussion protocol
During the Vikings game, on Bills TV Network, general manager Brandon Beane announced center Mitch Morse was out of concussion protocol. As of early this week, Morse was still in protocol, but was cleared to fully participate in practice. Head coach Sean McDermott says it’s good to have him back.
“Obviously he was in the protocol, so that was a different bucket there,” McDermott said. “I know he was happy when I saw him this afternoon that everything got cleared.”
Morse was officially cleared from concussion protocol on Thursday. The center entered concussion protocol on July 31 and has been working his way back with more involvement in practice the last couple weeks. McDermott and quarterback Josh Allen have mentioned several times that they were not worried about Morse needing time to get reacclimated once he was back. Both are confident in Morse’s ability to excel at the center position.
Beane also announced tight end Tyler Kroft would hopefully make the 53-man roster per a positive conversation with the Bills medical staff. Kroft has been out with a broken foot since OTAs in May. The tight end signed with the team in March.
3. Wide receiver battle hasn’t slowed down
Wide receivers Ray-Ray McCloud III and Duke Williams are a couple players among many fighting for a spot with the Bills. Being a part of a crowded wide receiver room, McCloud and Williams understood the importance of the final preseason game.
“They were all competing again, these guys—they like to compete,” McDermott said. “Whether it’s the wide receiver position or any other position on our team I think that’s what you saw out there in addition to the heart. It’s a group of guys that love to compete. What stood out to me was some of the effort from the wide receivers in terms of the run after catch.”
McCloud III finished the night with five catches for 48 yards including an important catch in the fourth quarter. The receiver showcased his speed and route running ability in the fourth preseason game.
“I made plays when my number was called,” McCloud III said. “Just did what I could, controlled what I could control.”
Williams had two receptions for 18 yards. The receiver found the end zone in the two previous preseason games but did not make it there in the final game. Williams was pleased with his final performance heading into roster cuts on Saturday.
“I feel like I made plays when the ball came my way,” Williams said. “I did my job in the blocking game by being physical like I said I was going to do. I handled myself well on special teams. It’s up to the coaches and the men upstairs, so I’m praying that hopefully I’ll be here and if not, it was definitely a good journey. I’m always thankful for this opportunity.”