Game 9: Offense, Defense Pathetic In Loss
Awful effort by both units leads to blowout.
by Steve Saslow
The offense only had 125 total yards, the defense gave up 428 total yards. Those two stats added up to a 29-6 blowout loss. Both units played as close to total failure as you can. The special teams put up the only points of the game for the Bills and save these grades a bit. Here are our position by position grades:
Drew Bledsoe had a pathetic game after a decent opening drive. He finished with just eight completions in 19 attempts for a dismal 76 yards with three interceptions and a QB rating of 14.3. J.P. Losman made his NFL debut in the final minutes and managed a slighter higher rating of 16.7. He was just as dismal in his forgettable debut, throwing an interception and fumbling the ball away once. He did complete one pass for five yards. Grade F-: You may have seen the changing of the guard but Losman will need a much better effort the next time he takes the field.
Willis McGahee came back down to earth as he only gained 37 yards on 14 carries and gained 12 yards on one catch. Travis Henry was barely ever seen on the field and didn't touch the football. Joe Burns carried once for no gain. Daimon Shelton didn't do his usual great job in run blocking. He caught one pass for five yards. Grade F: Didn't do anything like the rest of the offense.
Eric Moulds seemed to be the only receiver that Bledsoe was looking to throw too most of the game. The Bills played many three and even four tight end sets, so Moulds was the only wideout on the field on many plays. He caught five balls for 46 yards but was out of bounds on one fourth down play when he could have caught the ball in bounds. Lee Evans wasn't heard from until he made a 15 yard reception in the fourth quarter. Tim Euhus caught one pass but dropped another that ended a drive. Grade F: Plenty of blame to go around for this unit.
The Bills used a max protect scheme to open up holes for the running game and to pass protect. It worked early but when they fell behind the line fell apart too. Jason Peters made his NFL debut at offensive tackle but he was eligible as an extra tight end when he was in the game. The line only gave up three sacks and they were all in the final 32 minutes of the game. Grade D: Only offensive unit that doesn't fail... but just barely.
There were gaping holes in the front four for the running game as they let Corey Dillon use some nice cutback runs to gain 151 yards. Aaron Schobel was a big victim as they ran right by him on many occasions. Sam Adams was the only member of the unit to have a decent day. He had a big sack of Tom Brady early and finished with five tackles. Pat Williams was also active with six tackles. Chris Kelsay had a sack when he touched down Brady when he tripped back pedaling. Ron Edwards and Justin Bannan parted like the red sea on one play up the middle. Grade F: 208 yards on the ground by the Pats started with the front four.
Takeo Spikes and London Fletcher were each in on 11 tackles but most of them were downfield after long gains in the running game. They were too aggressive and beaten by over pursuing. Jeff Posey was in on eight tackles. Grade F: The worst performance of the year by this unit.
They were picked apart by Tom Brady once again as there were receivers wide open in the secondary on many occasions. Terrence McGee was beaten a few times. Izell Reese was beaten on a 47 yard pass play that setup an early field goal. Lawyer Milloy was in on 15 tackles as he was in on run support most of the game and there was a lot of running to support. Nate Clements picked off a pass and was decent in coverage. Rashad Baker was called for pass interference even though it looked like he had good coverage. Grade F: Complete failure by the entire defense.
Jonathan "Freddie" Smith returned a punt 70 yards for a score. For the second straight game, he stepped in front of Nate Clements to return the kick. Brian Moorman had another solid game finishing with a 48 yard average on five punts. Rian Lindell didn't attempt a kick of any kind. They went for two on the only touchdown. It is interesting that they didn't try a 52 yard field goal on the opening possession. It shows that there is no confidence in Lindell to hit the long kick. Terrence McGee averaged just 22 yards on six returns. He caught the opening kickoff at the one and was originally ruled down there but was eventually given the touchback. He also muffed a kickoff but picked it up and returned it. Grade B+: Finally a unit that performed well.
Mike Mularkey was way too conservative early. Punting on 4th and 5 at the New England 35 on the opening possession was a bad call. Take a chance, go for it, or at the very least try the long range field goal. Smart challenge on the opening kickoff gave the Bills the ball at the 20 instead of the 1. No answers after halftime. Getting Losman's feet wet was a good idea on paper, in reality it was a debut that he will want to forget. Grade F: Had nothing for the Patriots on this day.
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