Game 12: All Around Team Victory
The Bills dominate in all three phases for nice road win.
by Steve Saslow
We've been waiting for a long time for the Bills to put a game together like they did in their impressive 24-7 win in New York against the Giants. The offense made the plays they needed to make, the defense dominated the game, and the special teams did very well also. Here are our gameday grades:
Drew Bledsoe had a solid performance throwing for 252 yards in just two and a half quarters of work. He beat the blitz a few times for some big plays. He completed 19 of 29 passes. He showed no ill effects of the concussion until taking a cheap shot in the third quarter. He showed guts staying in the game to finish the series and leading the team to a touchdown. Alex Van Pelt finished the game for Bledsoe and completed two of five passes. Grade A: Made the plays that they had to make to win.
Travis Henry ran hard in the second half to salt this game away. He gained 92 of his 113 yards in the second half including a 13 yard touchdown run and a 32 yard run. Sammy Morris did not play because of a knee injury. Joe Burns had 13 yards rushing and 19 receiving. Sam Gash had some nice blocks. Grade A: Ran hard, and ran the clock out like they should with a lead.
A great day for this group as they caught everything thrown at them and made plays after the catch. Eric Moulds looked strong for the first time in a month and a half because of his groin injury. He had five catches for 66 yards. Josh Reed added a team high 6 catches for 61 yards including a nice catch of a tipped ball to convert a third and 19 play and keep a scoring drive alive. Bobby Shaw was the man of the hour though. He caught only four passes but they went for 87 yards including nice runs after the catches. One catch went for a touchdown, another setup a score. Dave Moore showed great concentration in pulling in his 24 yard touchdown pass unfortunately he got a concussion and did not return. Moore started for Mark Campbell who came in after Moore's injury. Campbell couldn't haul in a nearly identical play in the second half that would have went for a score but he drew a penalty. Ryan Neufeld actually carried the ball once on a reverse and gained 14 yards to convert a fourth down play late in the game. He also caught a pass for nine yards. Grade A+: The best unit on the field today.
This unit may have played their best game of the year. They did allow four sacks but for the most part they allowed a lot of time to throw. At least two of the sacks were the result of holding on to the ball too long. The also paved the way for 151 yards on the ground. Jonas Jennings played through his hip injury again. Ryan Tucker started for the injured Mike Pucillo and was solid. Marques Sullivan saw his first action of the season, at left guard for Ruben Brown late in the game when Brown's elbow started acting up. Sullivan was promptly called for a holding penalty. Grade B+: Paved the way well, and protected better than most days.
The line played magnificently. They stuffed the running game, holding the Giants to just 24 yards on the ground. They also got a ton of pressure on Collins even without the aid of blitzes many time. Aaron Schobel had his best career day, with three sacks, a fumble recovery, and five tackles. Ryan Denney had a couple of pressures and Chris Kelsay even was in on two tackles. Sam Adams and Pat Williams were quiet stats wise but they clogged up the middle beautifully to let the ends and linebackers rush. Grade A+: Maybe their best effort of the season.
London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes each had a sack. Spikes forced a fumble and defended a pass as he was very active. Fletcher was also active getting pressure on the QB on more than one occasion. He did have some coverage on Amani Toomer's touchdown and was beat. Jeff Posey played but was slowed by his knee injury. Grade B+: two-thirds of this unit played very well.
Nate Clements and Antoine Winfield had quiet days but played very well holding down the Giants high powered offensive attack. Lawyer Milloy was active leading the way with seven tackles and three pass breakups. He was beat by Toomer on the Giants lone touchdown though. Terrence McGee dropped an interception. Izell Reese was active with six tackles in his return to the lineup after missing last week's game. Grade B: Kept the big play offense at bay except for one play.
Brian Moorman continued his impressive punting angling two inside the 20 including one coffin corner kick going out at the five yard line. He finished with a 41.8 yard average and handling the tricky winds very well. Rian Lindell was 1 for 2 on field goals. He hit from 26 but was far short from 50 into the wind. His kickoffs were better than past weeks. He got a touchback on a semi squib kick and kicked it into the end zone on the opening kickoff. Nate Clements muffed a punt but fell on it. He averaged 2 yards on three returns. The Bills had two, 18 yard kickoff returns. Kick and punt coverage was solid holding the Giants down. Grade B: Now only if the return units could be as good as the coverage units.
We said in our preview, whoever ran for the bus, would lose. Well, give Coach Williams credit, the team stayed and played and won. Solid gameplan, solid execution. Smart move getting Bledsoe out with a comfortable lead and him being a bit woozy. Why did Gilbride continue to throw after Bledsoe was out? He finally did relent, and committed to the run in the fourth quarter. Grade B: Did the job of getting the team prepared.
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