Week 5: Great Defensive Effort In Loss
Offensive struggles and Special Teams gaffe costs Bills.
by Steve Saslow
Here are our position by position grades:
Trent Edwards got his second straight start at QB and seemed poised in the pocket again. He made one big mistake on the Terrence Newman interception. He should have been more conservative, a field goal down there and they may win the game. He managed the game well otherwise however as he completed 23 of 31 passes for 176 yards. Grade C-: Three offensive points not enough even with six turnovers by the opponent.
Marshawn Lynch struggled for most of the day on the ground as yards were tough going. He was stopped twice from gaining one yard on third and one and then fourth and one in the first half. They did get him in the passing game more but he did drop a third down pass that would have moved the chains. He finished with 20 carried for just 66 yards but added two catches including a nice 23 yard reception. Anthony Thomas did a fantastic job in blitz pickup and pass blocking in general. He caught two passes for 16 yards. Dwayne Wright saw some action in the fourth quarter with Lynch banged up a bit. He carried once for two yards and caught a pass for four yards. Grade D: A solid ground game could have put the game away.
Lee Evans was non existent, carrying one pass. Roscoe Parrish was used more this week with Peerless Price out. He finished with a team high six catches for just 37 yards on mostly screen passes. Josh Reed caught five passes for 35 yards and made a few tough catches. Sam Aiken didn't catch a pass. Robert Royal caught four balls for 34 yards also mostly on screens. Michael Gaines had two catches for six yards and was used in the fullback position a lot. Grade D: Didn't do enough.
Derrick Dockery got called for a bad holding penalty that wiped out a long completion into the red zone in the 2nd quarter. Jason Peters did a nice job in keeping DeMarcus Ware away from Trent Edwards. Duke Preston gave up a sack subbing for the injured Brad Butler. Grade C-: They did a decent job in pass protection but did allow three sacks. Run blocking was poor.
The defense had no sacks but the line did generate pressure on the ends and they pushed the pocket in the middle to shut down the running game. Aaron Schobel had a forced fumble and a lot of pressure getting two hard hits in on the QB. Chris Kelsay had the beautiful deflections and interception for a score but he was called for a questionable roughing the passer penalty. Jon McCargo, Larry Tripplett, and Kyle Williams each made their presence felt in the running game as they Cowboys had just 76 yards on 22 rush attempts. Anthony Hargrove was very quiet in his return. Grade A-: Best game of the year from this unit despite no sack.
John DiGiorgio was a wild man going sideline to sideline to finish with nine tackles and had a big interception. Welcome back Keith Ellison who started and saw his first action of the season. He was in on five tackles but was beaten for a touchdown pass to Whitten. Angelo Crowell had a pick and was busy and in on six tackles. Grade A: Great job from this unit.
Terrence McGee had a great day in coverage as he deflected three passes and was in on seven tackles. Jabari Greer did a fantastic job against Terrell Owens. He knocked away the two point conversion attempt near the end of the game and held the star receiver to two catches. George Wilson got the start at free safety and Donte Whitner stayed at strong safety. Wilson had an interception for a touchdown and had a fine first start, he also had four tackles and a pass defensed. Jerametrius Butler had to play when McGee went out for spells with cramps. Butler was called for a face mask penalty. Grade A: Shutdown for the most part a great passing attack.
Brian Moorman did a fantastic job on the fake punt running 10 yards for the first down and made a nice juke move in the process. He had a coffin corner punt that went out at the 2 yard line. He averaged 47.4 yards on his five punts with a 41.6 yard net. Terrence McGee had the 103 yard kickoff return for a score and averaged 48 yards on three returns. Roscoe Parrish had a rare kickoff return with McGee slowed by cramps. He returned it 21 yards but had no punt returns. Rian Lindell missed an important 54 yard field goal late in the first half. That allowed the Cowboys to drive for a field goal of his own, a big six point swing before halftime. Grade C: The big touchdown and fake punt was clearly offset by the lost onside kick and missed field goal.
Dick Jauron had the team ready to play and had a solid gameplan that had them tied or leading for 59 minutes and 59 seconds for the second time this year in a losing effort. They finally tried to get Lynch involved in the passing game and used a lot of screens finally. The problem is Dallas has a very fast defense, not one to run screens on. Throwing the ball on third down on the Edwards interception was a bad call, they needed to take time off the clock and kick a field goal. It would have been the difference. Grade B: Great gameplan, solid execution, just not enough for victory.
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