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Week 15: Team Fails Again In 2nd Half
Nothing went right after halftime.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Kelly Holcomb got the start for the banged up J.P. Losman. He quickly moved the ball down the field for an opening touchdown and led them to a garbage time score. In between he did very little. He finished 22 of 35 for 202 yards and a 19 yard scoring pass to Joe Burns that was more run than catch. Grade C: He was average, didn't make mistakes but didn't make the big play.

Running Backs:

Willis McGahee got his first touchdown in two months on the opening possession. He did fumble it but he was already in the end zone. He then disappeared from the gameplan once gain although he was hampered with what appeared to be an arm or a shoulder injury. He finished with just 9 carries, one more than last week, for 36 yards. Shaud Williams played a lot before getting hurt. He had five carries for a team high 40 yards including a 28 yarder just before halftime. Daimon Shelton had a big seven yard reception that converted a fourth down play on the opening scoring drive. He also made some good blocks. Joe Burns scored his first TD as a Bill on a nice 19 yard catch and run where he dove for the pylon. Grade C+: Averaged 5.5 yards per carry but didn't get the ball enough.

Receivers:

Eric Moulds came to play looking to makeup for his suspension and knowing it may be his last game in Buffalo as a Bill. He did get called for an illegal shift that stopped them from converting a third down in the 2nd quarter and dropped one pass. Other than that he was a man on a mission, catching 9 passes for 110 yards. Lee Evans dropped two passes and had a miscommunication with Holcomb on another play. He only caught two passes for five yards. Roscoe Parrish was called for an illegal substitution penalty that hurt the Bills. He couldn't haul in one pass and only caught one for 11 yards. Josh Reed had two insignificant catches and one run for -3 yards. Mark Campbell was open for a touchdown but the pass was overthrown. No tight ends caught any passes. Grade C: Moulds only one saving this group from failure.

Offensive Line:

Mike Williams did not play once again as he is battling a chest injury. Chris Villarrial had a holding penalty to thwart one drive and two false start penalties to mess up another one. He also had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to finish the first half with four penalties. Justin Bannan made his first appearance of the year on offense and was used as a pulling guard in place of Bennie Anderson on one plays. He made a nice block to help McGahee convert a third and one play. Holcomb had time to throw against a weak pass rush, he was sacked only once and there were holes in the running game for the first time in a while. Grade C: Played ok, but they couldn't move the football consistently enough.

Defensive Line:

Justin Bannan made a big stop in the backfield on a third and one play. Chris Kelsay was a non factor along with Aaron Schobel. Kelsay had two tackles while Schobel had six. Sam Adams played sparingly. Tim Anderson deflected one pass and had seven tackles as he continues his improvement. Grade D: Got little pass rush and gave up 4.8 yards per carry.

Linebackers:

London Fletcher had a nice pass deflection unfortunately it went for a Broncos score. He only had seven tackles and did not lead the team for the first time in over a month. Jeff Posey got a rare sack. Josh Stamer was in coverage on the goal line defense and was beat for a touchdown by backup tight end Wesley Duke. Angelo Crowell led the team with 11 tackles. Grade D: Didn't make enough plays.

Secondary:

Terrence McGee made a nice pass breakup in the end zone but was beaten for a 40 yard pass to Lelie that setup a Broncos touchdown. Nate Clements was beaten for two big pass plays early including a 34 yard pass to a wide open Rod Smith. He did make a big play by forcing and recovering a fumble. Troy Vincent was beat on a blitz for a first down pass to Rod Smith. He was also beat by Smith for a touchdown on a tipped pass. Lawyer Milloy got beat for a 28 yard pass on a 2nd and 20 play. Eric King was called for an atrocious roughing the passer called on a third down incompletion in the Bills red zone. He was also beat on third down conversion. Both plays led to Bronco touchdowns. Grade D: Gave up 259 yards through the air.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman had a great punt downed at the 5 yard line called back because of an illegal man downfield. He finished with a 42.3 yard average on six punts. Two went for touchbacks and only one was inside the 20. Terrence McGee had a beautiful opening 28 yard kickoff return to the 44 yard line, setting up a touchdown drive. He finished with five returns for a 24 yard average. Rian Lindell hit a 31 yard field goal but had two very short kickoffs. Roscoe Parrish didn't get a chance to return any punts. The coverage units held the Broncos to 1.5 yards on two punt returns and a 11.3 yard average on three kicks but two of them were very short. Grade B: As usual, the best unit on the field.

Coaching:

I don't ever want to hear Mike Mularkey say again that the team's identity is the power running game. They only ran the ball 16 times the whole game and they were running better than last week. He took a gamble on 4th and 2 on the first possession and it paid off as they converted and scored a touchdown. Got very cute lining up Moorman as a the kicker and Lindell as the holder. The result was a quick kick punt that went for a touchback. They can't run a normal offense, what makes him think the trick plays would work? Had a good replay challenge to overturn a completion. Jerry Gray won't give up on the blitzes even though they haven't sniffed the QB much the past few weeks. 12 penalties this late in the year is a joke. Grade F: The team has quit on Mularkey. There is no mental toughness.



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