ARLINGTON, Texas – Just call it the Cole Beasley Revenge Game.
The Buffalo Bills’ wide receiver did his best all week to downplay his return to Dallas, saying that it was simply the next game on the schedule.
Deep down, though, it’s hard to believe Beasley didn’t have this game circled on his calendar as soon as the schedule came out in April. A Dallas native, Beasley spent the first seven seasons of his NFL career with the Cowboys.
He signed with the Bills because he was eager to be more involved in the offensive game plan on a weekly basis – something he felt wasn’t always the case with his hometown team.
Beasley has delivered for the Bills, coming into Thursday’s game with 49 catches for 525 yards and four touchdowns. He saved his best to this point, though, for his friends on the other side Thursday.
Beasley made six catches for 110 yards and scored the Bills’ opening touchdown in what became a 26-15 win at AT&T Stadium. It was Beasley’s third 100-game of his career and he was just 2 yards short of matching his career high.
"It feels great, man,” Beasley said in a joyous postgame locker room. “I'm just glad I'm in a place that coaches believe in me, teammates believe in me and they give me opportunities to do what I do. I was telling everybody before the game, 'I'm just glad I'm on this side.' It's been a great experience. Everybody else played their butts off, man, and got win No. 9. That's most important. So just glad to take another step forward."
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) November 29, 2019
Beasley’s touchdown catch covered 25 yards and came on a play he’s campaigned for.
"It was actually a play that I used to run in college a lot,” he said. “I got (offensive coordinator Brian Daboll) to look at it and he liked it, so we put it in in training camp and we actually just started kind of running it more so these last couple games. It's been good to us. ... It was awesome to get in the end zone on that play."
Beasley is used to playing on the national stage that comes with a game on Thanksgiving based on his time with the Cowboys, so he quickly shot down the idea of Thursday being the most satisfying game of his career.
"It will be the most satisfying day when we win a Super Bowl, man,” he said. “The work's not done. It's just another win, another step in the right direction.”
Before the game, Beasley met up with several of his former teammates, and shared a hug with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
“I've got a lot of respect for a lot of guys over there,” he said. “It was just good to catch up with them and be back home in a stadium I feel very comfortable in -- I've played a lot of games in, so just excited to see everybody."
As for why he told them he’s happy to be on the Bills’ side, Beasley offered a particularly insightful response.
"There's a bond here that I don't think can happen in many places, with the way it's set up,” he said. “I can't explain everything, but we're always together, man. It's a different kind of brotherhood here. You know, we're always together. Our kids are together. Coaches, players, everything. It's really a unique and awesome thing that we have here in Buffalo. My family has loved every bit of it. That's part of why I said I'll play here until the wheels fall off."
He showed Thursday that time doesn’t appear to be coming soon.
2. Rookie running back Devin Singletary continues to make plays for the Bills’ offense. Singletary was on the receiving end of a 28-yard touchdown pass that came on a trick play ending with a throw by wide receiver John Brown.
Singletary finished the game with 63 rushing yards on 14 carries and added three catches for 38 yards and that touchdown.
3. Shaq Lawson continues to deliver in a contract year. The Bills’ defensive end made two tackles for loss in the first half, then split a sack with defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. Lawson now has 5.5 sacks, extending his single-season best, with 3.5 coming in the last three games.
“Yeah, I got another, man. I got to keep it going,” Lawson said. “I'm hot right now. I don't know what it is. My meditation working. I mean, I don't know, man. I feel like the college me, man. Not a lot of thinking, you know what I'm saying? Just going out there and playing ball free. I've been doing that lately.
“Other guys put me in the right position to make plays, so just got to make them. With a good offensive line right here we played today, (to) make some plays against them, I feel great about that. I ain't going to lie to you.”
4. The Bills avoided a big injury scare in the first half. Safety Micah Hyde was briefly looked at by athletic trainers after the penultimate play of the third quarter and came off the field for a play. Whatever was bothering Hyde, though, turned out not to be serious, because he was back in at the start of the second quarter. Hyde secured Dallas’ onside kick attempt with 4 minutes left in the game.
Middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds also was slow to get up after one play, but waved off trainers and was able to stay in the game.
5. Wide receiver Robert Foster is evidently a quick healer. Foster was in the lineup for the Bills just four days after suffering what looked like a painful hamstring injury against the Denver Broncos that took him out for the rest of the game.
Foster was questionable on the final injury report coming into Thursday’s game after practicing on a limited basis Tuesday and Wednesday. He drew a pass-interference penalty in the first quarter against Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones that gave the Bills 23 yards.
Foster made one catch for 20 yards in the fourth quarter as the Bills went on a sustained drive that ended in a field goal that gave them a three-possession lead. He also rushed once for 7 yards.
With Foster able to play, wide receiver Duke Williams was a healthy inactive for the fifth consecutive game.
6. Center Mitch Morse was back after missing most of last week’s win with a finger injury.
That meant Jon Feliciano, who slid over to center against the Broncos after Morse was hurt, went back to his usual spot at right guard.
7. Stephen Hauschka’s struggles returned in a big way. The Bills’ kicker missed a 50-yard field goal in the second quarter, then followed that up with a missed extra point before halftime.
Hauschka’s issues were magnified in the Week 10 loss at Cleveland, when he missed field goals from 34 and 53 yards in a 19-16 loss to the Browns. They appeared to be corrected when he went 3 for 3 on field goals the following week at Miami, including a 51-yarder on the game’s first drive. Evidently not, though, as Hauschka looked out of sorts against the Cowboys in the first half.
He rebounded in the second half to make a pair of field goals – but the first of those wasn’t easy. Hauschka banked in a 41-yard try off the right upright in the third quarter. They don’t ask how, though, and the kick extended the Bills’ lead to 16-7.
8. Corey Bojorquez couldn’t come through – in pregame. The Bills’ punter didn’t come close to hitting the massive scoreboard that hangs over the field at AT&T Stadium, which he was excited to try.
“Oh, yeah. I tried hitting the cross beams in Detroit, too. I almost got those, so I’m definitely going for it,” Bojorquez said.
After another windy home game in Week 12, Bojorquez was excited to play indoors Thursday.
“It’s going to be awesome,” he said. “You kind of get used to playing (in Orchard Park). I walk out and it’s 40 mph winds and it’s just like, ‘OK.’ You see some of these (other punters) coming in and they’re like, ‘Holy crap, what is this?’ I’m like, ‘This is any other day.’ ”
Bojorquez, who has been solid for the past month or so, took advantage of the favorable conditions in the first quarter, booming a 58-yard punt that went out of bounds at the Cowboys’ 5-yard line. Bojorquez’s next punt went out of bounds at the Cowboys’ 10-yard line, covering 35 yards. Bojorquez’s only punt in the fourth quarter wasn’t as good, going out of bounds at the Cowboys’ 30-yard line after going just 33 yards.
9. Veteran right tackle Ty Nsekhe missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. That meant rookie Cody Ford once again started and played the entire game. Ford was blown up by Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence on a run play that led to a 3-yard loss by Singletary, but all things considered, Ford held up well.
10. In addition to Williams, the Bills’ other healthy inactives: Running back T.J. Yeldon, safety Dean Marlowe, guard Ike Boettger, defensive tackle Vincent Taylor and tight end Tommy Sweeney.
Yeldon and Sweeney have been inactive the last seven weeks, Marlowe has sat three of the past four games, Boettger has dressed just once this season and Taylor has sat the past four games.
Story topics: cody ford/ Cole Beasley/ Corey Bojorquez/ Dean Marlowe/ Devin Singletary/ Duke Williams/ Ike Boettger/ John Brown/ Jon Feliciano/ Micah Hyde/ Mitch Morse/ Robert Foster/ Shaq Lawson/ Stephen Hauschka/ T.J. Yeldon/ Tommy Sweeney/ Tremaine Edmunds/ Ty Nsekhe/ Vincent Taylor