MINNEAPOLIS – Micah Hyde has come to expect what he saw Sunday from Tre’Davious White.
“I told him in the offseason he can be the best corner in this league,” the Buffalo Bills’ safety said of his second-year teammate Sunday. “Like coach says all the time, it's a process, we understand that, but he's been putting in the work and I think he's mentally ready to take that leap. I'm excited to see what he can continue to do.”
White’s development into a true, lock-down, no-questions-asked No. 1 cornerback continued in Sunday’s 27-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. He spent most of the game matched up with Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, limiting him to just four catches for 17 yards on 10 targets.
White found out last Monday that he’d be following Diggs around.
“He was their big-play guy,” White said. “I go out there every week and just try to prove that I'm one of the best cornerbacks in this league. I feel like so far in this '18 season, my play has been speaking. You can look at all the guys I've been shadowing in the first part of the season and I've been on everybody. Nobody's been doing anything, pretty much. I'm just trying to take my game to the next level like I said last year. I just want my game to be on the next level.”
According to analytics website Pro Football Focus, White had allowed just two catches on three targets through the first two weeks, which allowed 14 yards. A pass wasn’t thrown his way at all in Week 2.
“That’s my calling this year as a defensive back,” White said. “Being the No. 1 corner on this team is, follow the best guy on every team and try my best to limit the big plays. So far these first three weeks, I've been doing a great job of that.”
White even debuted a new catchphrase in the locker room and on Twitter after the win, saying: “Nobody can eat off this Tre."
(OK, so maybe that needs some work.)
White’s steady presence has been even more important considering what’s gone on opposite him. Because of injuries and a surprise retirement, it’s been a revolving door with three different players starting the first three weeks of the season – Phillip Gaines, Vontae Davis and Ryan Lewis.
“We just came out and executed,” White said of Sunday’s win, which few saw coming. "We kept chopping away this week in practice, we had a great week. We came out confident and executed the game plan."
“Like I said earlier this week, ever since I’ve been here we’ve been underdogs, so this is nothing new to us. We just go and play. The analysts can pick whoever they want, but at the end of the day it’s just football. We came out and executed a little bit better today.”
As he came off the field, White pointed to the cameras and yelled, “Y’all like that?” The reference, of course, was to Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, who famously uttered that line after a win with the Washington Redskins.
The answer among Bills fans Sunday was a resounding yes.
Stat of the game: 292-292
That’s the total yardage in the game, which goes to show how misleading numbers can be sometimes. In the first half, the Bills out-gained the Vikings, 245-46. The Bills were content to run the ball and kill the clock in the second half – one small complaint is they weren’t a little more aggressive after halftime – while Minnesota piled up garbage yards late, leading to each team finishing with an identical total.
Game ball: Josh Allen
The rookie quarterback absolutely put on a show in the first half. His numbers – 11 of 18 for 168 yards, seven carries for 37 yards and three total touchdowns – could have been even better if it weren’t for a few drops. Allen did it all, showing the accuracy, poise in the pocket, athleticism and toughness that has to give fans hope he can become the team’s next great franchise quarterback. Maybe that’s putting a lot on his plate after just one win, but that’s how good Allen was Sunday.
Quote of the day
“It's the Buffalo Bills man. Everyone doubts us. Everyone is going to continue to doubt us. It's on us to put in the work and continue to do what we got to do. We know what we're capable of doing – example what we just did – and we're going to build off of that.” Hyde, on using doubt as motivation.
Snap count notes
1. The big guys got more work. Blocking tight end Khari Lee played 33 offensive snaps in his season debut (49 percent), while fullback Patrick DiMarco got a season-high 12 offensive snaps and offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse took five snaps as a sixth offensive lineman.
2. Ray-Ray McCloud played 14 offensive snaps in his professional debut, catching his first career pass on the first play from scrimmage. McCloud also took four snaps on special teams as the primary punt returner.
3. Center Russell Bodine made his first start with the Bills, replacing Ryan Groy in the lineup. Bodine played 58 of 67 offensive snaps, missing some time because of cramps. Groy played 11 snaps, nine at center and two at guard when Vlad Ducasse briefly came out.
4. The safety duo of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer took every defensive snap (66). So, too, did rookie middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who has been on the field for every defensive play this season – the only player on the team to do that.
5. Chris Ivory dominated the playing time at running back in the absence of LeSean McCoy, taking 54 offensive snaps. Marcus Murphy took 22.
The Bills get to play the “nobody believed in us” card again. They opened as 10.5-point underdogs for their road game against the Green Bay Packers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. That makes them the biggest underdog of Week 4.
Here are three things to know about the Packers …
1. The defense is sputtering. From the second half of a Week 2 tie against the Vikings through the first half Sunday against Washington, Green Bay allowed 649 total net yards, including 500 passing yards. "The first half was bad," cornerback Tramon Williams told ESPN on Sunday. "I don't know how else to put it. The first half was bad. A lot of inconsistent play. We came out the second half and did better, but it was a little too late at that point." Former Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is in his first season running the Packers’ defense.
2. The injury bug bit hard Sunday. Defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson had to be carted off the field with a left ankle injury that required him to leave the stadium in an ambulance. Left tackle Bryan Bulaga suffered a back injury against Washington and wasn’t able to return. Replacement Jason Spriggs gave up three pressures on the first 11 plays of the second half, failing to adequately protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is still hobbled because of a knee injury. Starting right guard Justin McCray also suffered a shoulder injury Sunday and could miss time.
3. Clay Matthews is frustrated. The Packers’ linebacker has been called for three roughing-the-passer penalties this season, after coming into the year with just four such calls in his 10-year career. Matthews sounded off after being flagged Sunday for a hit on Washington’s Alex Smith. “Unfortunately this league's going in a direction I think a lot of people don't like. I think they're getting soft," Matthews told ESPN. "The only thing hard about this league is the fines they levy down on guys like me who play the game hard."
Story topics: Chris Ivory/ Jordan Poyer/ Josh Allen/ Khari Lee/ LeSean McCoy/ Marcus Murphy/ Marshall Newhouse/ Micah Hyde/ Patrick DiMarco/ Ray-Ray McCloud/ Russell Bodine/ Ryan Groy/ Tre'davious White/ Tremaine Edmunds/ Vlad Ducasse