Game 12: Bills Win Up And Down Game
All three units overcome poor spots to make big plays.
by Steve Saslow
There were many ups and downs in the 42-32 win over Miami. The offense had some struggles with penalties and sacks but overcame them for four touchdowns. The Defense gave up three first quarter touchdowns but forced six turnovers and scored a touchdown. Special teams scored a touchdown and had a takeaway but gave up some good returns and had some penalties. Here are our position by position grades:
Drew Bledsoe continues to put together a solid second half of the season. He threw four touchdown passes for the 2nd time as a Bill. He threw for a season high 277 yards on 19 of 30 passing for a whopping 132.9 QB rating. He also moved around in the pocket well including a nice seven yard scramble where he broke a tackle. Grade A+: He's on his second best roll since joining the Bills.
Willis McGahee finished the game with 91 yards on 23 carries for a four yard average. He was solid in the fourth quarter getting many big runs to keep the chains moving. He did have a big fumble in the second quarter that cost the Bills points. He had a long screen pass and a long run called back by holding penalties. He was close to another 100 yard game but was stuffed for losses on the final series. Joe Burns played some when McGahee was banged up, he had three carries for eight yards and dropped a pass that would have converted an important third down after Bledsoe did a nice scramble out of the pocket. Grade C+: Wasn't as big as expected.
Eric Moulds didn't catch a pass in the first half but made up for it in the second half. He caught five balls for 68 yards including the 30 yard catch and run for a touchdown. Lee Evans is really developing now, he had four catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns. His 65 yard catch for a score at the end of the third quarter sparked the win. Josh Reed returned to action and caught two passes for 19 yards but couldn't bring one in. The tight ends seemed to be a big part of the gameplan but two of them got injured. Mark Campbell had a potentially serious knee injury in the first quarter. Tim Euhus replaced him and had four catches for 32 yards and a touchdown despite getting banged up himself. Ryan Neufeld had his most extensive action of the year and caught two passes for 40 yards. Grade A+: A complete effort from this unit.
Jonas Jennings and Trey Teague were both called for costly holding penalties that turned aside big plays by McGahee. Jennings was called for two other penalties as well. Marcus Price came in for the injured Mike Williams. Lawrence Smith saw some action at left tackle after Jennings went out along with Williams. They allowed three sacks but Bledsoe had a lot of time to throw for the most part. They did open up some holes late in the game for McGahee. Grade C: Gritty effort for a banged up unit but there were too many penalties.
Aaron Schobel had a big tackle for a loss in the first half and recovered a fumble and had a ½ sack in the second half. Pat Williams had the biggest play with an athletic interception and return for a score. Sam Adams was quiet but blocked up the middle well. Chris Kelsay had the other ½ sack. Ron Edwards and Tim Anderson left holes up the middle when they were in the game in the second half. Anderson was a surprise as he was active over Justin Bannan. Grade C+: Didn't get much pressure on Feeley and gave up some good runs.
Takeo Spikes had an interception, two passes defensed, and a forced fumble. He was all over the field. London Fletcher had a QB pressure and was in on six tackles. He had a chance at an interception in the first quarter but slipped and the play went for a touchdown. Jeff Posey was beaten for a score despite tight coverage. He had a good game as he had a team high seven tackles. Grade B+: Made the plays when they had to.
Terrence McGee was picked on by Feeley in the first half and gave up some plays. He recovered in the 2nd half with an interception of his own and some tight coverage. He finished with six tackles. Nate Clements had a pick and a nice open field tackle on a screen pass but was beaten for some big plays as well. He also had a boneheaded play when he tried to pick up a fumble instead of falling on it, and it squirted out of bounds. He finished with seven tackles. Lawyer Milloy seemed to be late in pass coverage on occasions as Miami beat the zone. He did have a pressure that forced an intentional grounding penalty and five tackles. Rashad Baker had his first career interception and a pass defensed. He was beaten for a few plays as well. Grade C-: The three picks were nice but they were burned way too often.
Started off great with a Terrence McGee kickoff return for a score. Another positive was the forced fumble on a punt return by Mario Haggan that was recovered by Coy Wire, again the Bills couldn't capitalize. Brian Moorman did a great job of punting. A late punt was downed at the 2 to help the Bills wrap up the game. He punted nine times with a 43.7 yard average including a 63 yarder. The kick coverage team was beaten for a 65 yard return on a reverse. It would have been a touchdown if not for the great speed of Jabari Greer. The Dolphins averaged 30.9 yards on seven returns. Rian Lindell missed his only field goal attempt just before the half that would have tied the game. The team was called for three holding penalties on returns in the game Nate Clements struggled returning punts averaging zero yards on four returns as he went backwards too often. Grade C+: They epitomized the up and down day of this team.
Mike Mularkey takes a hit for the alarming amount of penalties this team continues to commit. The defense made adjustments in the second quarter and played much better. Both teams had success with the no huddle offense in the second half. The surprise gameplan to take to the air ended up working because of the play of Bledsoe and the banged up ankle of McGahee. Grade B: Back to back road wins not bad.
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