The Buffalo Bills' first preseason game Thursday night lived down to expectations.
In what is usually a slog of a game, the Bills lost to the Vikings, 17-10, before an announced crowd of 60,459 at New Era Field.
Whatever. No real conclusions should ever be drawn from the first exhibition contest. The best you can hope for is hints at meaningful information. The Bills appeared to get one of those with the performance of backup running back Jonathan Williams.
With starter LeSean McCoy in uniform but not participating in the game, Williams got an opportunity to work with the first team. He responded with four carries for 39 yards (9.8 yards per carry) and one catch for 7 yards. Another long run was called back by a penalty.
In the most simple terms, the Bills need Williams to be good this year. When Mike Gillislee signed with New England, the Bills lost a capable, trusted backup. Williams was one of the biggest unknowns coming into training camp. He was barely used as a rookie, and struggled with fumbles when he was called on.
It's only one game, but to see him run with a good combination of speed and power Thursday night was encouraging. The Bills' offense will still run through McCoy, but it's imperative that Williams be able to give him a break from time to time.
He showed he just might be capable of that with his performance Thursday.