Quarterbacks, Benjamin have solid day as Bills return to field

The second-year Bill made multiple highlight-reel catches on Tuesday

Sal Capaccio
July 31, 2018 - 12:46 pm

Photo: Mark Konezny - USA TODAY Sports

Despite going against what’s considered by most to be one of the best secondaries in the NFL, Buffalo Bills quarterbacks and wide receivers had a solid day Tuesday as the team returned to practice after a day off.

Nathan Peterman started with the first-team offense, followed by A.J. McCarron with the second-team, then Josh Allen with the third-team. However, as practice went on, all three quarterbacks worked with the starting unit, against the No. 1 defense, for at least a few plays. While all three quarterbacks had good and bad moments, there were more positive than negative results overall.

All of the 11-on-11 work was done in the red zone. It was there, as well as 1-on-1 drills, that several receivers made plays that stood out. Kelvin Benjamin had a terrific day, but with one hiccup. In 11-on-11 work, Allen threw a back-shoulder toss to Benjamin as he was just crossing the goal line. The wideout was covered by Vontae Davis, was able to briefly separate as he turned at the right time and got his hands on it, but couldn’t reel it in. The ball fell incomplete.  

But prior to that in 1-on-1 drills, Benjamin made two highlight-reel catches, both against Tre’Davious White, even though the second-year cornerback seemed to have excellent coverage. The first was deep in the middle of the back of the end zone. White was just off Benjamin’s hip. McCarron threaded the needle, allowing the 6’ 5” wideout to stretch his hands out and grab it as his body was falling out of the back of the end zone. He not only got both feet inbounds, but it looked like both legs also landed inside the chalk before the rest of his body came down out of bounds.

On the second play, Peterman threw a fade to Benjamin in the back-right corner of the end zone. White had him blanketed, but Benjamin was able to get his hands over his own head and come down with it. As he was falling backward out of bounds, Benjamin clicked both heels inside the pylon for a touchdown. The two players gave each other taps on the helmet as they got up together.

It wasn’t just Benjamin. Whether it was Brandon Reilly, Kaelin Clay, or tight ends Charles Clay, Nick O'Leary or Khari Lee, other receivers made plays for touchdowns, as well.  

The defense got their share of wins, too.

Jordan Poyer had a highlight-reel grab of his own for an interception. Peterman was trying to hit Benjamin in the back of the end zone while the wideout was double-covered. The ball was high and in a good spot for the taller Benjamin to come down with it, but Poyer was able to leap up and take it away. Several media in attendance thought the safety came down out of bounds, but, along with others, I saw two feet tap in as he was falling over the white line.

Rookie quarterback Josh Allen started his red zone session with a poor short throw that fell incomplete, then heated up and finished really strong, including throwing a couple lasers over the middle for touchdowns while working with and against the third team.

Allen then got some time with the starters. His first play was a handoff that he faked as if he still had the ball after giving it, pretending to get set to throw. His quick hands fooled a linebacker and opened a big hole that was vacated.

Shortly after, the Bills ran an inside / forward jet sweep handoff to LeSean McCoy. Shady ran across the formation from left to right right, behind the line of scrimmage, but in front of Allen who was in shotgun, and took the handoff. A play we haven’t seen from the team in the past, giving an idea of the creativity offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is bringing to the unit. Daboll continues to inject a lot of motion and a host of different formations into the offense.

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