Bills face Redskins in start of run against losing teams

Field Level Media

November 01, 2019 at 6:38 pm.

Buffalo Bills fans who were hoping for another receiver to jazz up the NFL’s 24th-ranked scoring offense didn’t get their wish before Tuesday’s trade deadline. The team chose not to make any moves, feeling the nucleus that has them off to a 5-2 start is plenty capable of securing a second playoff spot in three years.

The wisdom of that decision could be played out as soon as Sunday, when they wrap up a three-game homestand against rookie Dwayne Haskins and the 1-7 Washington Redskins.

While some fans might not have been thrilled with Buffalo’s inaction, players such as tight end Lee Smith and wide receiver Cole Beasley feel the continuity will outweigh the pros of bringing in a big name that could have taken pressure off Beasley and John Brown.

“These are the dudes that are going to be with me down the home stretch,” Smith said. “It’s nice to know that my brothers and guys I develop relationships with are going to get to finish this thing together for the rest of this season, so that’s cool.”

The schedule certainly syncs with management’s feeling that the Bills as presently constituted are a playoff team. Their next four games are against teams with a combined five wins (Washington, Cleveland, Miami and Denver). They could be 9-2 by the time they run a late-season gauntlet of Dallas, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and New England.

On paper, the Redskins’ arrival gives Buffalo a prime chance to wash away the taste of last week’s 31-13 home loss to Philadelphia. The Bills surrendered 218 rushing yards and allowed the Eagles to convert 8 of 15 third downs.

The Bills, meanwhile, managed only 253 total yards total offense.

Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander says Buffalo needs to get back to fundamentals this week.

“That is the lifeblood of everything else you want to do,” he said. “Football is all about man versus man, and the way you can (win those) consistently is having great fundamentals, great hands, great eyes. And those are the things that allow you to dominate collectively.”

Washington only is dominating the loss and dysfunction columns. The latest soap opera around a once-proud franchise ramped up Wednesday when seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, who ended his season-long holdout Tuesday, didn’t practice after failing a physical.

Interim coach Bill Callahan told reporters that Williams, who underwent offseason surgery to remove a growth from his head, experienced helmet discomfort.

“All I know is that the helmet wasn’t comfortable,” Callahan told cbssports.com. “I’m sure it will be part of the acclimation period in getting him back on the field.”

Reports indicate Williams doesn’t plan to play for the Redskins again, but Callahan is hopeful he’ll reconsider, citing the sacrifices he’s made to maintain his elite level of play during a nine-year career.

Haskins will make his first NFL start this weekend, Callahan announced Friday.

The 22-year-old Haskins has completed 12 of 22 passes for 140 yards with four interceptions in two relief appearances since being selected by Washington with the 15th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Haskins replaced an injured Case Keenum in Washington’s 24-3 loss to the New York Giants on Sept. 29, completing 9 of 17 passes for 107 yards and three interceptions.

Haskins entered last week’s 19-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings after Keenum sustained a concussion. He completed 3 of 5 passes for 33 yards and an interception.