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Week 5: Secondary Shines In Win
Big plays by defensive backfield holds off Dolphins.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Kelly Holcomb gave the Bills play at the position they haven't had all year. He was calm in the pocket, accurate in his passes, and even threw a touchdown pass to a wide receiver. He matched J.P. Losman's output from last week and the week before in the first half of the first quarter. He had a 106.1 QB rating and was 20 of 26 for 169 yards and no interceptions to go along with his one touchdown pass. Grade A: Earned another start.

Running Backs:

Willis McGahee was a workhorse as he carried the ball 31 times for 86 yards, just a 2.8 yard average but he also had a score. He also caught two passes. Shaud Williams had one carry for two yards and one catch for two yards. Daimon Shelton had two catches, including a 15 yarder for a first down. Grade C: Didn't get the yards, but kept the defense off the field in the first half.

Receivers:

Eric Moulds pushed for the QB switch and then came to play. He had seven catches but showed he is no longer a deep threat but just a possession receiver. He had only 59 yards on those catches but scored his first touchdown in nine games with a third down catch in the end zone. Lee Evans only had three catches but had a beautiful 49 yard catch and run on the first touchdown drive. Josh Reed caught two passes. The Bills made an effort to get the ball to Mark Campbell, he had three catches for 15 yards. Jason Peters lined up at tight end a few times as he now has a tight end number. Sam Adams also lined up at tight end and had a pass thrown to him that went incomplete. He did draw a pass interference penalty on the pass play in the end zone. Grade B: New QB, new life for this unit.

Offensive Line:

Mike Williams did not start because of his high ankle sprain but did see some action. Greg Jerman started in his place. Chris Villarial got ill and was inactive, Duke Preston started in his place. The line did a bad job opening up holes for the running game and struggled at times in blitz pickup. They did only allow three sacks however as it could have been a lot more. Grade D: After all these years, still a weak link.

Defensive Line:

Aaron Schobel was a non factor as he was in on only three tackles and didn't get a good rush on Frerotte. Chris Kelsay was also quiet besides getting called for roughing the passer. He did get a sack on the last ditch final series by Miami. Ryan Denney also had a sack on the last series. Sam Adams came alive in this game, he had four tackles and was a force in the middle. Tim Anderson and Justin Bannan struggled a bit replacing Ron Edwards. Anderson was called for an offsides penalty. Grade C: Need to put more pressure on the QB.

Linebackers:

London Fletcher was fired up for this game and was very active. He led the team with eight tackles. Jeff Posey was his usual non existent self. Angelo Crowell was in on four tackles. Grade C: Allowed 5.7 yards per carry. Not the same unit without Spikes.

Secondary:

Terrence McGee had four tackles, an interception, and a pass defensed. He was beaten deep once and was called for pass interference once. Nate Clements was also beaten deep once but did have seven tackles, a pick, two passes defensed, and the huge forced fumble that saved the game. Troy Vincent recovered that fumble, had a pick and a forced fumble of his own. Lawyer Milloy was in on three tackles but kept TE Randy McMichael at bay most of the game. Grade A+: Three interceptions and two forced fumbles, not a bad day's work.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman is back on track with his second solid game in a row. He averaged over 50 yards on six punts and put three inside the 20. Terrence McGee continued his great play on kickoff returns averaging 40 yards on two returns, beating last week's effort. His 53 yarder was huge when Miami had pulled within three in the fourth quarter. It took the momentum back. Rian Lindell was 2 for 2 on field goals including a huge 47 yarder after McGee's big return. Jonathan Smith had a 25 yard kickoff return and two short punt returns. The punt coverage unit was on the ball quickly when Miami fumbled a punt. Grade A: The most consistent unit on the team.

Coaching:

Mike Mularkey still had some questionable calls. Why not run it four straight times with McGahee on the one yard line? He tried throwing to Sam Adams. He tried putting Adams wide outside. He tried screen passes to Shelton. He did have the team ready to play and Jerry Gray held off on the excessive blitzing that has burned the defense the past two weeks. Grade C+: Had the team ready to win.



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