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Week 8: Defense Can't Overcome Inept Offense
Offensive woes lead to defense being run over in the end.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Ryan Fitzpatrick was inaccurate and could do nothing with the football. He was 15 of 23 for just 117 yards with 54 coming on the final garbage time drive. He also threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter while the Texans were scoring three touchdowns. Grade F: Might as well go back to Edwards after the bye.

Running Backs:

Marshawn Lynch ran well early but on a 2nd and 2 play he ran sideways instead of going forward for the first down. He was called for a holding penalty and dropped a pass to short circuit a third quarter possession. He got only 43 yards rushing. Fred Jackson didn't do any better gaining just 28 yards as both players had nine carries. Grade D: Neither back appears to be able to get in a rhythm, it may be time to pick one.

Receivers:

Terrell Owens had a beautiful sideline 29 yard touchdown run on a reverse. He got a great block from Lee Evans on the play. Owens couldn't pull in a fade pattern pass in the end zone. He finished with five catches for 39 yards. Josh Reed is just a beast on third downs as he had two big first half catches to keep drives alive. He had three catches. Evans had just two. Derek Fine caught one ball. Grade F: This unit fails to help the quarterback out at all.

Offensive Line:

Jamon Meredith left early with an injury and was replaced by Kirk Chambers. The line only gave up two sacks and played better in the second half in pass protecting but run blocking only lead to 15 yards on seven second half carries. There were no penalties from this unit. Grade C: Not the worst unit on the offense in this game.

Defensive Line:

Aaron Schobel had a big sack to push the Texans back late in the first quarter. Chris Kelsay made nice open field tackle on a screen pass in the first quarter to help force a three and out. Marcus Stroud recovered a first quarter fumble by Steve Slaton. He was called for a neutral zone infraction that made a field goal attempt easier early in the 2nd quarter. Stroud and Kelsay combined for a third down sack to force the Texans to settle for a field goal on their first possession of the 2nd half. Spencer Johnson had five tackles in his first start for the Bills. Ryan Denney had four tackles while Aaron Maybin got more playing time but was invisible with two catches. Chris Ellis even saw some time at end and had a tackle. John McCargo had five tackles but was relatively quiet. Grade C-: There were big holes for the running game but got some decent pressure.

Linebackers:

Paul Posluszny forced a fumble in the first quarter. and had nine tackles. Chris Draft had nine as well. Keith Ellison left early with an injury so Nick Harris saw extended action and had six tackles including a big hit on a tackle for loss. Grade C+: Played valiantly despite more injuries.

Secondary:

Jairus Byrd did it again with two first quarter interceptions. The first one stopped the Texans opening drive, the second one setup the Bills lone touchdown. He was beaten in coverage a few times. Terrence McGee had a quiet game but did excellent in coverage. Both players had five tackles. Drayton Florence had seven tackles and had decent coverage. George Wilson was beaten for a 22 yard gain to Owen Daniels on the opening drive but led the way with 15 tackles as he continues his consistent play. Reggie Corner was called for a late hit on the QB. Grade B-: Did pretty good pass coverage once again.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman had six punts, only one landed inside the 20. He averaged 48 yards but just a 32.5 yard net thanks to the coverage unit allowing 18.3 yards per punt return. Fred Jackson made a curious call running the ball out four yards deep in the end zone on a kickoff but he took it 75 yards to setup the first field goal by Rian Lindell from 21 yards out. Jackson averaged 35.6 yards on five kickoff returns. Stevie Johnson was called for an illegal block in the back penalty. Justin Jenkins lost three yards on a fake punt. Grade C-: Some good, some really bad.

Coaching:

Dick Jauron has yet to find an identity for his offense at the season's halfway point. Alex Van Pelt used more motion in this game to little success. They faked Owens on a reverse on way too many plays. Perry Fewell's defense tried to hang in there but wilted in the end. Bobby April's fake punt was one move too many. It basically took the Bills out of the game and it was the wrong call to do a reverse there. Grade D: Too much work for this team to do over the bye week.



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