Game 14: Team Struggles In 28-26 Loss
The three units do not play well despite close loss.
by Steve Saslow
It was a hard fought game that the Bills fell just short in losing 28-16. The score is not indicative of the game however, as the Bills played poorly in all three facets of the game. Our gameday grades will reflect the poor play:
Drew Bledsoe was awful once again until the final two minutes. He finished the game 17 of 30 for 168 yards and two touchdowns with a QB rating of 94.9. This is a case of stats being deceiving. He had only 88 yards passing before the final drive. His fumble also was the turning point of the game. The Bills had an 11 point lead and that play got the Titans the momentum and they ran past the Bills. Grade D: It was nice to see him wake up for one final drive.
Travis Henry had a solid game with many runs of 10 yards or more. He finished with 88 yards but only had 19 carries. He needed the ball more. Joe Burns and Sammy Morris split time as the third down back. Morris ran the ball once and caught three passes. Sam Gash had some nice blocks as usual and caught a pass. Grade A: Did their job, needed the ball more when they had the lead.
This unit improved after an awful first half. The wide receivers had just one catch in the first half! They did play better in the second half. Eric Moulds caught three balls for 48 yards including a beautiful one handed grab to convert a first down on a field goal drive in the fourth quarter. Bobby Shaw made some big plays before his boneheaded play. He caught four passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. His 33 yard catch and run kept the final drive alive for his bad play. Josh Reed was shutout although did get called for a false start penalty on the first play of the game. Dave Moore was inactive. Mark Campbell made a beautiful diving catch in the end zone for the final touchdown. He caught four passes for 28 yards. Ryan Neufeld was thrown to in the end zone one play but it was overthrown. Grade C-: They were one big play short, although life was shown in the second half.
The unit did a solid job in run blocking but struggled in pass protection. Where have we said that before? There were two false starts on the first two plays! One was by Mike Williams the other was by a wide receiver. Bledsoe was sacked three times but they averaged 4.5 yards on the ground. Grade C: Need to learn how to pass protect.
The line played very well once again. They held the running game to 2.7 yards a carry and were very active in the Titans backfield. Aaron Schobel had two more sacks while Ryan Denney even had a pressure. Chris Kelsay had an assist on a negative yards tackle. Sam Adams was active but Pat Williams was a star. He was in on 11 tackles and recovered a fumble. He showed some speed by going down the sidelines for a touchdown. Grade A+: The best unit on the team in the last few weeks.
London Fletcher had seven tackles but looked bad when Volek faked him out on a sack attempt. Takeo Spikes was in on nine tackles and deflected a pass. Jeff Posey had four tackles and forced the fumble. Grade C: Played well but struggled on some third down pressure opportunities.
Antoine Winfield had his worst game as a Bill. He was beat for two long pass plays, although he was pushed on one of the plays. He also was beat on a touchdown pass to a tight end in the first half. Nate Clements was in on five tackles and was a better cover corner than Winfield on this day. Lawyer Milloy was a tackling marching as he was in on 14 stops, including 12 solo. Terrence McGee was beaten for one of many third down conversions. Izell Reese was injured and replaced first by Pierson Prioleau than by Coy Wire. He as very active getting four tackles and a sack. Grade D: Made Volek look like McNair.
Brian Moorman averaged 43.9 yards on seven punts but he hit too many on line drives that led to good returns by Derrick Mason. The vaunted Bills Punt Coverage unit allowed 11.8 yards per return on five returns. Kickoff returns averaged 21.2 yards on five Titans returns. Nate Clements shined returning punts today, brining one back 35 yards and if he beat the punter he would have scored. It setup the Bills first touchdown. He finished with a 16.7 yard average on three returns. It's time to stop letting Antonio Brown return kicks. He averaged 15.2 yards on five returns. Rian Lindell was 2 for 2 on field goals. Grade C: Some good, some bad.
Coach Williams was out coached by his good friend. The Titans dominated the game, but the Bills somehow hung in there. The replay challenge cost the Bills a timeout in the 2nd half that they could have used. Henry needed to carry the ball more than 19 times in the loss. Why was Williams seen laughing on the sidelines in an exchange with Frank Wychek with the game slipping away? Grade D: Fisher may have just clinched the firing of his best friend.
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