The Bills most important preseason game for the starters did not yield much in the way of positive results on either side of the ball from an execution or team health perspective Saturday against Washington.
In dropping a 30-7 decision to the Redskins the Bills also lost quarterback Kevin Kolb to a concussion late in the first quarter and top cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a wrist injury. Starting safety Da'Norris Searcy also sustained a head injury.
"That's really all I know now concussion-like symptoms and I'm just waiting to hear from the doctors," said Marrone after the game.
Kolb converted a 3rd-and-5 on a scramble to the right for eight yards. But on his way down he took a blow to the back of the head and went to the locker room with concussion-like symptoms, but not until after the drive was completed with a C.J. Spiller touchdown run four plays later.
"I think that when I went back and they said that he had the symptoms I kind of went through the series again in my mind I thought he was okay, but then I remembered someone running behind him," said Marrone. "But I thought he caught him on the shoulder, but then I figured he probably caught Kevin with a knee (to the back of the head). Then I was saying that it was probably the play. But when he bounced back up and went back out there I didn't see him at all and thought he was fine."
Kolb was replaced in the lineup by the only healthy quarterback the Bills have left in undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel.
Buffalo's offense struggled for the most part in the first half managing just one drive that lasted more than six plays. The 10-play 66-yard touchdown drive was capped by the Spiller run, who also gave a scare when he came up hobbling.
Spiller had his right knee examined on the field before leaving under his own power.
"He told me he was (fine)," said Marrone. "At first when I went out there he said,' Hey I'm fine. It's nothing wrong.' I didn't know if he was stepped on or hit, because when I saw the doctor moving it around I thought it might be something. He told me he was fine."
He returned to the game a short time later, but only had a couple of carries before his day was over. Spiller finished with eight carries for 39 yards and the score.
The Bills defense did not get the same pass pressure they enjoyed in their first two preseason outings. It allowed Washington's passing game to flourish with third-string quarterback Rex Grossman getting the start. He and fourth-string QB Pat White combined for 203 passing yards and a touchdown in the first half alone.
"We were playing our responsibilities. We've just got to be a little more aggressive," said Aaron Williams. "We were a little hesitant and the fact that we missed tackles and just not there at the right moment."
Washington's rushing attack was also effective rolling up 96 yards in the first half averaging better than five yards per carry (5.3) as they held a 20-7 lead at halftime.
The Redskins were successful on their opening drive marching 86 yards on 10 plays with Pierre Garcon pulling in a quick slant from Grossman for a seven-yard touchdown. After Buffalo pulled even on the Spiller touchdown, the Redskins followed with a field goal drive on their next possession.Buffalo was driving into Washington territory on their next possession, but on a 2nd-and-10 at the Redskins' 26, Stevie Johnson lost his grip on a reception after he took off running for extra yardage. The ball was recovered by the Redskins.
Pat White then led the Washington offenses right down the field on a nine-play 83-yard drive, which White finished himself on a 14-yard run (17-7).
"We missed some plays," said Marrone. "We had opportunities to make two plays on both of those drives that they scored touchdowns on and we didn't make them. Credit to them they made those plays and then we were moving the ball, we could go up and we had a turnover. They got right back down and we give up a touchdown. That was a crucial part in the game."
The pass pressure improved in the second half as Buffalo logged three sacks in the third quarter, but Washington took advantage of a special teams turnover by the Bills at the end of the third quarter. Nickell Robey muffed a punt return that was recovered by the Redskins at the Buffalo five-yard line.
The Bills defense did hold Washington out of the end zone forcing them to settle for a short field goal, which pushed the Redskins lead to 23-7.
Another late touchdown by Washington made the final 30-7.
The result of the game was immaterial knowing the crisis the Bills now face at quarterback. Buffalo has just one healthy signal caller in Jeff Tuel, who finished Saturday's game 10-17 for 63 yards. The Bills will presumably look to sign a free agent quarterback with their preseason finale just five days away when they host Detroit on Thursday.