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Upon Further Review

John Brown, Cole Beasley carrying Bills' passing attack through 2-0 start

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – John Brown and Cole Beasley were expected to add a boost to the Buffalo Bills’ passing game.

Through two weeks, however they’ve done more than that. They’ve carried it.

Brown and Beasley were again quarterback Josh Allen’s favorite targets Sunday in a 28-14 victory over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Brown was targeted eight times and made seven catches for 72 yards, while Beasley caught all four of his targets for a team-leading 83 yards.

Check out these numbers: Combined in the Bills’ 2-0 start, Brown and Beasley have 23 catches for 318 yards and one touchdown. The rest of the team has combined for 20 receptions, 189 yards and one touchdown.

“You never know what it's going to be like, but it's definitely what you hoped for is the chance to make an impact in the game,” Beasley said. “We just do our best to be in the right spots for Josh and make the best of each play when we get our opportunities.”

One of the key plays from Sunday’s win came midway through the first quarter from Beasley. With the Bills facing a third and 4 from their own 43-yard line, Allen threw a low pass that Beasley was able to secure for a 9-yard gain and a first down in New York territory. The Bills scored the tying touchdown five plays later and the offense was on its way.

The play stood in stark contrast to Week 1, when a low pass bounced off Beasley’s hands and led to a pick-six early against the Jets. Beasley had another drop in the fourth quarter, which led to some frustration.

“I knew that wasn't me last week, and it was part of why it frustrated me so much, but you've just got to find a way to move on and keep pushing and just work and go to the next week and put that one behind you,” he said. “I'm supposed to make those type of plays. That's part of why they brought me here. That should be just routine for me. I've just got to come up with those, especially on third down, in big situations like that. Just glad it went my way today and not like it went last week.”

Brown, meanwhile, has shown why the Bills targeted him two years in a row in free agency. His only missed target Sunday came on a bad overthrow deep by Allen. Brown had beaten his man clean and would have walked into the end zone with a better throw.

“It's been great,” Brown said of the team’s 2-0 start. “One thing about this league, it's hard to win on the road. Coaches do a great job of calling plays, and we just execute them. We just had to make the plays.”

That’s something Brown and Beasley have done on a consistent basis.

“Catching the ball. Playmakers. Moving the chains. Making big plays. Everything (we expected) when we acquired those guys in free agency, they’re living up to it,” defensive end Jerry Hughes said. “We’re happy that they’re here on our team.”

Stat of the game: 4 for 4

That’s how the Bills finished in the red zone Sunday. They are now a perfect 5 for 5 through two games – one of just four teams who have scored a touchdown on every trip inside the red zone this year. The Seahawks are 4 for 4 through two games, while Cleveland and the New York Jets are 2 for 2 and 1 for 1, respectively, through one game. They close out Week 2 on "Monday Night Football."

Game ball: Josh Allen

Was he perfect? No. There were a couple of throws Allen would like back, but make no mistake – this was a good showing for the Bills’ second-year quarterback. No turnovers. Two touchdowns. The ability to scramble out of trouble and make plays with his arm and legs. All of that was on display Sunday. Allen and McDermott insisted after the game that Giants coach Pat Shurmur’s take last week about Allen having a chance to be a starter – comments that were displayed on TVs throughout the Bills’ facility – didn’t provide any added motivation, but don’t believe that. Allen is as competitive as they come, and surely used that perceived slight as fuel. The result was a solid road win and a step forward in Allen’s development.

Quote of the day

“I am in New York. … One New York team,” Josh Allen, having fun when asked by New York City-area media members about the possibility of ending up with either the Jets or Giants last year. Allen then got serious, saying, “I care about what the Bills are doing and how our teammates respond to how I play. To have a ‘C’ on my chest and to go out there and put everything on the line for those guys is what I’m striving to do.”

Snap count notes

1. It remained close to an even split at right tackle between rookie Cody Ford and veteran Ty Nsekhe. Ford took 36 snaps (47 percent), while Nsekhe took 40 (53 percent). That’s a slight change from last week, when it was Ford who had a small edge in playing time.

2. Third running back T.J. Yeldon again didn’t get much work – just five offensive snaps. There’s a chance that number goes up significantly in Week 3 if rookie Devin Singletary is unable to play because of a hamstring injury. Singletary saw a sharp decline in playing time even before getting hurt late against the Giants, taking just 25 snaps (33 percent). Veteran Frank Gore led running backs with 45 snaps (59 percent).

3. Slot cornerback Siran Neal played 24 defensive snaps (34 percent) in place of the injured Taron Johnson (hamstring). The Bills also used Kevin Johnson (25 snaps, 36 percent) and Dean Marlowe (14 snaps, 20 percent) in the group effort to replace Johnson.

4. The Bills had the same six defensive players take every snap – linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds, along with the starting secondary of Tre’Davious White, Levi Wallace, Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. It’s a luxury for the defense to have that many reliable starters who can play in all situations.

5. Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei played just one more snap than Harrison Phillips, 29-28. That’s looking more like a timeshare than it is Phillips serving as Lotulelei’s backup. First-round draft pick Ed Oliver again led the defensive tackles with 42 snaps (60%).

Coming attractions

1. The home opener should be lit. The Bills will host the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at New Era Field. The Bengals come into the game 0-2 on the season. They played Seattle close in Week 1, but got smacked at home by San Francisco, 41-17, on Sunday. The Bengals’ defense allowed a whopping 572 yards, fifth most in franchise history. That total included 259  yards on the ground. The Bengals couldn’t get off the field on third down, allowing San Francisco to convert 5 of 9 opportunities, and couldn’t tackle in the loss.

2. Their running game is going nowhere. The Bengals have just 59 rushing yards through the first two weeks of the regular season. That’s the worst total in the NFL. Joe Mixon had just 17 yards on 11 attempts against the 49ers. The inability to run the ball has been a concern for the Bengals since the summer. Making matters worse, starting left guard Michael Jordan was carted off the field with a knee injury suffered against San Francisco.

3. Andy Dalton has started strong. Dalton is 61 of 93 (65.6 completion percentage) for 729 yards, four touchdowns and one interception through two games. Former first-round draft pick John Ross has emerged as a deep threat, with 11 catches for 270 yards and three touchdowns. He’s averaging 24.5 yards per catch. The Bengals are still without star receiver A.J. Green because of an injury, but Ross and Tyler Boyd (18 catches, 182 yards) are still a formidable duo.

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