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Points after: Vikings 36, Bills 14

By Tim Graham

MINNEAPOLIS -- Some quick thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 36-14 exhibition loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field ...

Bills star of the game: Vince Young took advantage of his chance with the No. 2 offense. He completed eight of his 14 passes for 123 yards, including a lovely 64-yard strike to rookie T.J. Graham to start the third quarter. The play set up a 1-yard Tashard Choice touchdown run.

Back-to-back backup hiccups: In terms of competition for the backup quarterback job, Young's numbers looked even more sterling compared to Tyler Thigpen and Brad Smith. On consecutive plays in the fourth quarter, Thigpen and Smith tried to connect with Naaman Roosevelt, but were intercepted by Vikings linebacker Audie Cole, who returned both for touchdowns.

Play of the night: Facing a blitz, Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick found Donald Jones for a short pass in the middle of the field. Jones did the rest, zipping around Vikings defenders and up the left sideline. Tight end Scott Chandler cleared the way with a timely block, giving Jones enough space to dive for the pylon and score the 31-yard touchdown.

Sacks attack: The Bills' new-look defensive line finally notched a couple sacks, and they came from players who led the Bills each of the past two seasons. On the opening drive, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams dropped Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder.

Chunk yardage: Minnesota's starters played three possessions and had gains of 21, 33, 16, 19 and 35 yards. They drove into at least field-goal range on all of their series. For the game, seven Vikings had at least one play of 20 yards or longer.

Stat line of the night: Christian Ponder looked like an All-Pro. He completed 10 of his 13 throws for 136 yards and a touchdown.

Coming up: The Bills play the Pittsburgh Steelers next Saturday night in Ralph Wilson Stadium, the third of four preseason games.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | tgraham@buffnews.com


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | mgaughan@buffnews.com


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | jskurski@buffnews.com

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