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Week 11: Bills Wilt In Fourth Quarter Again
Offense inept down the stretch again as defense gives up winning drive.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Ryan Fitzpatrick got his first career start that wasn't because of an injury and threw the ball well after a shaky start. His 98 yard bomb to Owens for a score was a perfect throw and perfect call on the audible. He didn't start off so well as he misfired on his first pass and his second one was picked off. He threw at least three other near picks but for the most part was accurate with his passing. He did take too long to snap the ball just before halftime that almost cost the Bills a field goal. He did throw for 297 yards in the game which we haven't seen in some time by any QB on this team. Grade B+: Showed a gun slinger mentality that has been missing.

Running Backs:

Marshawn Lynch had a costly fumble with the Bills driving in the 2nd quarter and left at that point with a shoulder injury. He was doing nothing as he fumbled twice and dropped a pass finishing with 18 yards on 8 carries. Fred Jackson did a bit better behind a patchwork offensive line. He had 35 yards on nine carries and 20 yards receiving. Grade C: It was a passing gameplan this week.

Receivers:

Terrell Owens was Fitzpatrick's main target all day. He came ready to play and the 98 yard touchdown was a thing of beauty as he blew past his man in one on one coverage. He finished with 197 yards on 9 catches. Lee Evans had only one catch for 15 yards but his best play was coming down with a bomb for a score that was called back by a penalty. Josh Reed had three catches for 40 yards including a nice 22 yard gain on a shovel pass to convert a third and long. Shawn Nelson was called for an illegal block wiping out a Fred Jackson TD run in the first quarter costing the Bills four points as they settled for a FG. He did make a nice over the top catch for 25 yards. Grade B-: It was mostly T.O. but it's nice to see this unit involved.

Offensive Line:

The carousel on this unit continued and actually picked up speed in this game thanks to injuries to Seth McKinney and Eric Wood. Kirk Chambers got the start again at right tackle but ended at right guard because of injuries. Seth McKinney missed some time in the first half and then left the game for good midway through the third quarter. That forced Jonathan Scott into the game at left tackle. He had a false start penalty and an illegal hands to the face penalty that cost the Bills a touchdown. Adam Levitre got his first career start at left tackle but went back to guard both times after McKinney was hurt. McKinney was called for a false start penalty. Jamon Meredith was the last healthy body at the position and came in to play right tackle when Wood went out. They allowed two sacks but for the most part Fitzpatrick had time to throw. Grade B: Not bad considering all the injuries.

Defensive Line:

Aaron Schobel had a third quarter sack and another pressure. Chris Kelsay was very quiet with one tackle and was out of position on one running play. Kyle Williams played very well despite having a gimpy knee. He had a nice sack where he leveled David Garrard and two tackles for loss on Maurice Jones-Drew including one on the final TD drive. Spencer Johnson tackled him for a two yard loss on the goal line and recovered Garrard's fourth quarter fumble. Ryan Denney had two tackles and Aaron Maybin was not on the stat sheet for a second straight week. John McCargo had a pressure and hit that forced a bad pass. Grade A-: The banged up unit did a nice job getting pressure and keeping the running game from getting to the second level.

Linebackers:

Paul Posluszny had a huge forced fumble in the fourth quarter with the Jags driving for possible go ahead score. He had a great pressure to force a field goal on the Jaguars first possession. He also got inside on a blitz that helped Williams get his sack. Got called for a face mask penalty in goal line defense. He finished with 11 solo tackles. Chris Draft had two tackles. Bryan Scott tipped a pass that was picked off by Wilson in the first half than knocked away a third down pass to Jones-Drew to force a punt on the opening possession of the third quarter. He had nine solo tackles. Ashlee Palmer hit Jones-Drew in the backfield to setup a goal line stop. Grade A-: Might be the best game of the year from this unit. They kept Jones-Drew from running wild.

Secondary:

Ellis Lankster played in nickel situations because of injuries at the position and wasn't picked on. Drayton Florence had a nice stop for loss on a WR screen in the first quarter. George Wilson picked off a pass that was deflected by Scott. He couldn't get over quick enough on a 28 yard pass that setup Jacksonville's first touchdown. Jairus Byrd was quiet and did not have a pick as he was hobbled by his groin injury. Donte Whitner came close to pulling off a scoop interception late in the first half. He was beaten for a long gain by Mercedes Lewis. Reggie Corner was beaten for a 25 yard gain by Lewis late in the first quarter and for the winning score by Mike Simms-Walker. Grade B: Had good coverage most of the day.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman averaged a whopping 50.5 yards on four punts for a net of 46.8, great numbers. Rian Lindell hit all three first half field goals from 26, 28, and 22 yards out. Never got a chance to try an extra point as they faked it after their only touchdown and Moorman overthrew his favorite target Ryan Denney in the end zone. Roscoe Parrish was back returning punts and made a bad call to field one at the 4 and he lost two yards putting the Bills at their own 2. He had zero yards on two returns. Fred Jackson returned two kickoffs for a 31.5 yard average. Justin Jenkins had a 19 yard kickoff return. Jon Corto got called for a personal foul for an out of bounds hit in punt coverage. Coverage units were solid allowing a five yard average on punts and 21.8 yard average on kickoffs. Grade B: Needed a big play to tip the scales in this game.

Coaching:

The team played with passion and emotion for interim coach Perry Fewell. He had them ready to go and they looked tougher than they have in the past. He still has no answers for the fourth quarter blues. Alex Van Pelt rolled out Fitzpatrick a bit more and they used both backs together until Lynch got hurt. Bobby April got too cute again with the fake extra point as the two point conversion failed. If you are going to go for two you should just line up and go for it from the three yard line. OL coach Sean Kugler performed miracles keeping the line upright with another rash of injuries. Grade B: Coaching wasn't why they lost.



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