Week 13: Bills Still Need To Play 60 Minute Game
Defense continues trend of solid second half after poor first half.
by Steve Saslow
Here are our position by position grades:
J.P. Losman had trouble holding on to the ball in this loss. He threw an interception and lost a fumble in the first half but had at least two more balls that could have been picked. He did throw his second pick late in the game but got the ball right back when the return was fumbled. He did lead the offense to scores all three times in the red zone. He finished 21 of 37 for 184 yards and two scores. He did a nice job of scrambling for 26 yards, including a couple of third down conversions. Grade C-: Made some plays, but made many mistakes in the loss.
Willis McGahee struggled as they couldn't move the ball on the ground except for the short touchdown drive after the fumble. McGahee scored on that drive from two yards out but finished with just 26 yards on 16 carries. Anthony Thomas saw a lot of playing time with McGahee banged up with an ankle injury. He did only carry twice though for 11 yards. He caught four passes for 33 yards as he's developing into a big target for Losman. Daimon Shelton did do much as the team didn't use two backs a lot. Grade F: Not a factor in this game.
Lee Evans was very quiet in this game but still managed to lead the team with five catches for 45 yards. Peerless Price had just three catches for 17 yards but one was for a touchdown. He nearly had a big catch with the game in the balance but his heel just came down out of bounds. Roscoe Parrish fumbled the ball away on the last play of the first half and finished with three catches for 33 yards. Josh Reed made a solid return to the lineup and caught four passes for 50 yards, including a 23 yarder on the opening series. Robert Royal had one catch but it went for a touchdown. Brad Cieslak had a catch called back by a penalty. Grade C-: Did do that much either.
The line did a nice job in pass protection against the team with the most sacks in the NFL heading into the game. They did allow three takedowns but for the most part Losman had time to throw. They did a poor job in run blocking as there were little holes all day. Grade C: Still improving as a unit.
Aaron Schobel was active in this game and finished with a sack, two hits, and four tackles as well as a forced fumble. Chris Kelsay was also busy, he had a fumble recovery and three tackles. Ryan Denney had his best game in a while as a he had a sack and a hit as well as three tackles. Larry Tripplett wasn't a factor as there were holes up the middle for Tomlinson to run through. Kyle Williams wasn't a factor as well. Anthony Hargrove seemed to recover a fumble but the play was ruled down. Grade C: Solid at the ends, awful in the middle.
London Fletcher was quiet in this game as he struggled in pass protection or running Tomlinson down from behind. He finished with 7 tackles and a pass defensed as well as a QB hit. Takeo Spikes played perhaps his best game of the year as he was very active including a pass deflection and a club leading nine tackles. Angelo Crowell was injured on the first series and replaced surprisingly by Coy Wire who finished with five tackles. Wire played more then Keith Ellison because he was just returning from an injury. He did play some but wasn't a factor with just one assist. Grade D: Played well in spots but were really missing Crowell.
Terrence McGee missed the second half with an ankle injury but did well in coverage in the first half, almost picking off a pass. He was replaced by Kiwuakee Thomas who also played well. He had five tackles. Thomas moved to the slot in nickel situations and Jabari Greer played the outside on those downs, he had two tackles. Nate Clements was all over the field and had tight, physical coverage all day. He had seven tackles. Ko Simpson helped out Donte Whitner, who had coverage of Antonio Gates for a good portion of the game. Whitner made a nice pass breakup on a long pass to Gates but was beaten for two big plays late in the first half including a touchdown. Whitner had seven tackles and Simpson four. Grade B: Did a nice job but did let Gates beat them too often.
Another day, another big special teams play. Jim Leonhard took a short punt and returned it 32 yards to setup the Bills second touchdown. Brian Moorman got into a scuffle on the sideline after taking what he thought was a late hit. He was feisty all day but struggled punting with the wind conditions finishing with a 39.9 yard average and a touchback on a 60 yard boot. Terrence McGee averaged 33.5 yards on two returns and really seemed to be hitting his stride on returns before getting hurt. Andre' Davis replaced him and returned one kick for 22 yards. Because of short kickoffs, Duke Preston returned two punts for 10 yards. Rian Lindell hit all three extra points. Roscoe Parrish only had one punt return for six yards. The onside kick was well executed but it was touched by accident two yards early by Sam Aiken. Grade A: By far the best unit on this team.
Dick Jauron was as mad as we've ever seen him just before halftime. He was not happy with some of the officiating including when it appeared the Bills recovered a fumble and a pass completion by Losman that was ruled down by contact. He wasn't happier in the second half with some questionable calls. He waited too long to challenge a Price reception and when he did it cost him two timeouts! That is inexcusable. The team was way too emotional after what they perceived were bad calls, he seemed to lose control of them on the sidelines instead of settling them down. Perry Fewell needs to find a way to get his defense to play a full game. Bad gameplan on Gates, Whitner should not have been one on one with him most of the game. Grade F: Worst coached game in the Jauron era.
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