1 - Clay could be team reception leaderCharles Clay has very quietly put together a solid preseason, and Saturday night was no exception. The tight end was targeted seven times in a half of action and made four receptions for 47 yards. He would've had more had a pair of third down conversions not been called back on offensive penalties.
"Man he's just getting open," said Nate Peterman. "He's a pretty good athlete. He's very sudden with all his routes and how he moves. He's just getting open and he made some really good plays after the catch too."
The Bills new offense, which is predicated on timing routes and shorter throws on the whole should cater well to making Clay a primary option in Buffalo's passing attack. Knowing he also has the most time on the field with Tyrod Taylor among all passing targets on the roster, there's a trust factor there that should see him get perhaps even more opportunities than the last two seasons.
"A tight end if used the right way like we've been doing with Charles can be a quarterback's best friend," said head coach Sean McDermott. "They know where to find him on third and short situations and then he can get vertical at times. Charles provides a good skill set for us at the tight end position. In line blocking he's working extremely hard in that area so I really like where Charles is in his development in getting ready to go for the regular season."
Clay has put up two 50-plus catch seasons for the Bills his first two years with the club along with seven touchdowns.
This year the tight end stands a good chance of eclipsing the 60-catch plateau and challenge for the team lead in receptions in 2017.
2 - Peterman steps inHis stat line wasn't necessarily anything to shout about, but rookie QB Nate Peterman came in and ran Buffalo's starting offense after Tyrod Taylor left the game with a concussion in the first quarter. He looked relatively comfortable and threw with confidence.
"I thought Nathan came in and again did a good job at times, moved the ball," said McDermott. "The biggest thing I wanted to see Nathan do was handle the situation and he did that and the team did that. Sometimes going through a situation like this, as unfortunate as it is, watching your team respond to a sudden change situation, those are situations that at times come up in the season so I was proud of the way Nate handled himself and the offense embraced him in the huddle and we did some good things there."
The Bills were only two-for-seven on third down conversions with Peterman in the game, but two conversions were wiped out by illegal motion penalties.
"He came in and played with confidence. He showed poise," said Richie Incognito of Peterman. "He came in and got acclimated. That was good. We had some rhythm and had some timing and moved the ball a little bit. Shot ourselves in the foot with a lot of penalties and killed a lot of drives. Next man up you've got to prepared and I think Peterman was prepared. He did a good job."
Peterman led the only touchdown drive of the game for Buffalo thanks in part to a 21-yard pass interference penalty. But he helped the team put together an 11-play 83-yard drive capped by Mike Tolbert's one-yard touchdown run.
"We've got to do better as an offense and just be more disciplined," said Peterman of the seven offensive penalties. "We've had some penalties the last few weeks and as an offense we have to eliminate those and get the kinks out. That's what the preseason games are for to get those kinks out, so that's what we're doing, but we have to be better than that."
He finished 11-23 passing for 93 yards and a passer rating of 58.8.
3 - Run defense solid againIt might be the most consistent part of the team's play this preseason, and on Saturday against Baltimore they did it without Marcell Dareus. Buffalo's run defense was stout again holding the Ravens to just 2.5 yards per carry, just a tenth of a yard above their preseason average coming into the game.
Preston Brown believes the key has been 11 guys swarming to the ball against the run.
"With the safeties and the D-line and the linebackers—everybody's running to the ball," he said. "It's always a big crowd. When we watch film, everybody's getting in the picture so it's really great to see."
"The defense played well overall," said McDermott. "They weren't in great situations with field position. We knew it was going to be a field position game quite frankly and it was. They gave us a chance to win the game by forcing field goals for the most part. Taking bad situations and turning them into a positive. I thought they played hard and we'll continue to grow in that area also."
The longest run in the game allowed by Buffalo in the first half was a nine-yard carry by Buck Allen. In garbage time they gave up a 15-yard scramble to third string QB Thad Lewis.
"It's been fun playing the preseason so far on defense," said Jerel Worthy. "The scheme just allows to play fast. Up front, we're athletic and physical. The more pressure we can put on offensive lines it makes it easier for the back end. Those guys can play free, they can worry about the pass and we can get turnovers."
The Ravens had just 92 yards rushing on 37 carries.
Photos of the Bills taking on the Ravens during Week 3 of the 2017 preseason.