Week 4: Offense Makes Enough Plays To Win
Penalties weren't enough to undermine effort.
by Steve Saslow
Here are our position by position grades:
J.P. Losman continues to mature as he finished the game with 222 yards on 23 of 32 passing. He made right decisions and didn't turn the ball over. His 15 yard run also setup the team's second touchdown. Grade A: He is really becoming a quality NFL starter.
Willis McGahee ran hard but didn't have too much success. He had 78 yards on 28 carries for a 2.8 yard average. He kept pounding the ball in the middle even when stuff wasn't there. He also did a lot of trash talking in the game. He showed a warrior mentality in this game and helped the team to an almost 12 minute time of possession advantage. Daimon Shelton was called for illegal motion on the first offensive play and was on the sidelines much of the day in favor of multiple receiver sets. Grade C+: Did enough to keep the Vikings offense off the field long enough to win the game.
Lee Evans seems to be adjusting well now to being a number one receiver. He led the team again with 7 catches for 90 yards. The yards per catch isn't high but he made some good moves after the catch to get first downs. Peerless Price had a beautiful 8 yard touchdown catch as he caught a screen, went down, got up, broke a tackle and scored. Josh Reed beat Antoine Winfield on a big 23 yard catch in the third quarter. He had four catches in all for 43 yards, converting third down plays and catching everything thrown his way. Roscoe Parrish had three catches for 25 yards as they couldn't get to him for the big play. Robert Royal dropped a pass and had a costly holding penalty but he did catch one ball for 13 yards. Kevin Everett had his first career reception for a whole yard. Grade A-: Made big plays after the catch that let the short passing game be successful.
They allowed three sacks and gained just 2.9 yards a carry but for the most part they gave Losman a chance to get rid of the football. Tutan Reyes had a big fumble recovery. Jason Peters had two big false start penalties in the opening drive in the third quarter but had a big block on a long run by McGahee in the 2nd quarter. Duke Preston played most of the game for an injured Chris Villarrial and graded out ok. Grade C: A decent enough effort to win the game.
Aaron Schobel continues to struggle but was more active in the running game with four tackles. Chris Kelsay was in on four tackles and had a few quick hits. Ryan Denney knocked down a pass attempt to force a punt and deflected another pass that was intercepted by Crowell. Larry Tripplett continues to be very quiet. John McCargo had a big tackle for a loss on the second possession. Kyle Williams was extremely quiet. Tim Anderson had an offsides penatly early in the opening field goal drive. Grade B-: Got no pressure but didn't allow much in the running game either.
London Fletcher was beat on a third down pass to the fullback, Tony Richardson that allowed a long third down conversion. He made up for it with his typical stellar play and a beautiful diving interception in the fourth quarter. Takeo Spikes was out again as Angelo Crowell took his spot on the strongside once again with rookie Keith Ellison starting on the weakside and started strong. He had a tackle for a loss on the first play from scrimmage, had a pressure, and drew a pass interference penalty on the opening drive. Crowell led the team with 10 tackles and had an interception of his own. Grade A: Did their job against the run and the pass in this game.
Terrence McGee had five tackles and did a good job in coverage. He was beat by Robinson late in the game but luckily he couldn't haul in the pass. Nate Clements had five tackles and was more active than past weeks. Ko Simpson was quiet with one tackle. Donte Whitner finished with six tackles. Grade C: Gave up some big plays in the passing game and if they lost, this unit would be criticized even more.
The bloop kickoff after the first touchdown was executed perfectly as Kiwaukee Thomas camped under it. The fluke interference penalty on the kick team spoiled the play. Sam Aiken had two penalties, a block in the back and a running into the kicker call. Andre' Davis also had a fair catch interference penalty in the wacky 2nd quarter. Brian Moorman had a 65 yard punt with his first kick but it was returned 16 yards. He also had some short punts finishing with a 37.7 yards on seven punts. Terrence McGee had two short kickoff returns . Rian Lindell missed a 44 yard field goal attempt in the swirling winds late in the 2nd quarter. The miss allowed the Vikings a chance to steal a late field goal of their own before halftime, it was a big six point swing going into the locker room for the half. He also hit a big 28 yarder in the fourth quarter. Roscoe Parrish did not return a punt but Jim Leonhard did for no yards as the Bills had two guys back their at times. Grade D: Way too many penalties for this unit.
Dick Jauron did a nice job continuing to run the ball to shorten the game. He didn't do enough to get this team to play disciplined football. It's amazing they won with 15 penalties for 104 yards. Bobby April's bloop kickoff when he saw a hole in the Vikings return team was a stroke of genius except that he did not anticipate a fair catch signal would cost the Bills a big penalty that totally flipped the momentum of the game. The team had a solid gameplan defensively but had to hang on in the end. Offensively they moved the ball nicely for a while but got way too conservative in the end. Grade D: Won despite a poor performance from the coaching staff .
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