Week 16: Offensive Explosion Leads To Win
Special teams made plays and defense stiffened in red zone.
by Steve Saslow
Here are our position by position grades:
Trent Edwards made a triumphant return to the lineup as he got hot after a slow start. He had more time to throw as the game went on and found his stride. He was accurate most of the game and finished with a QB rating of 104.2 completing 17 of 25 passes for 193 yards. Grade B+: Had to be good for his confidence.
Marshawn Lynch was hurting but tried to gut it out despite having pain in his injured shoulder. He ran for 34 yards on 11 carries including a touchdown run. He gave way to Fred Jackson in the second half and Jackson had a huge game. He had a 65 yard reception to setup a touchdown and had a touchdown run of his own from eight yards out. He finished with 43 yards on 10 carries and 70 yards on three receptions. Corey McIntyre didn't do too much in the blocking game. Grade A-: Jackson made the plays to help the team win.
Josh Reed is Edwards go to guy and he went to him early and often. Reed caught nine passes for 79 yards and always seemed to convert third down plays. Lee Evans was a non factor again catching just two passes for 19 yards. Roscoe Parrish had one catch for 14 yards and he made a nice move to get the first down. He had one carry for no yards. Steve Johnson found the end zone on his only catch of the game. Robert Royal was the only tight end to catch a pass and he caught exactly one for eight yards. Derek Fine was called a false start penalty early in the third quarter. Grade C+: Reed is the most reliable receiver on this team.
Kirk Chambers got the start for the injured Jason Peters and played well although he was called for a holding penalty that was declined. Brad Butler had a false start penalty on him. They only allowed one sack and found away to stop the blitz after the first quarter. They didn't open up too many holes in the run game. Grade C: Performed better after an awful start.
They got no pressure on Cutler as he had all day to throw. They did shut the run game down after a bad first quarter. Ryan Denney and Chris Kelsay combined to be in on six tackles. Marcus Stroud got called for a questionable holding penalty that wiped out a McKelvin interception and couldn't quite bring down Cutler as he scrambled away for a first down. Kyle Williams was invisible but had three tackles. Spencer Johnson had three tackles including a nice tackle from behind on Cutler. Copeland Bryan had a pass breakup to force a field goal. Grade C: No pressure at all on Cutler.
Paul Posluszny had a very quiet eight tackles. Kawika Mitchell made two big plays with a sack and an interception, he also had six tackles. Keith Ellison had four tackles but was caught out of position on many plays. Grade C: This unit needs upgrading next year.
Terrence McGee had a huge pass breakup on a bomb to Marshall in the fourth quarter but he was beaten more than the plays he made. He had eight tackles which isn't good from your lockdown corner. Reggie Corner did a solid job in coverage with four passes defensed including the big knock away in the end zone in the final seconds. He also recovered a fumble that Donte Whitner forced. Leodis McKelvin was beaten for a big 23 yard reception on third and 15 that kept the Broncos third quarter TD drive alive but played fairly well in coverage. He was in on six tackles. Bryan Scott had eight tackles. Ko Simpson was a non factor. Grade C-: Kept them out off the end zone enough.
Brian Moorman had a huge day averaging 52.7 yards on three punts including one inside the 20. Only one punt was returned and that was just for two yards. The kick coverage unit did well also allowing just 17.7 yards on six returns. Rian Lindell was three for three on field goals including a big 49 yarder to give the Bills a lift before halftime. They kicked away from Leodis McKelvin but he still had four returns for 88 yards. They kicked short to Jackson twice and he had 47 yards in returns that set the Bills up in great field position. Grade A: Did everything right that led to giving the Bills a big advantage in field position throughout the game.
This team plays hard for Dick Jauron and they showed character by rallying around him and coming back after a pitiful first quarter. Perry Fewell had his defense ready down in the red zone and made adjustments against the running game after a lousy first quarter. Turk Schonert found an answer for the early blitzes by the Broncos and the offense really hummed better with Edwards at the controls. Grade B+: Nice adjustments after first quarter disaster.
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