Week 15: Offensive Ineptness Keeps Bills Down
No fire power leads to 13th straight loss to Pats.
by Steve Saslow
Here are our position by position grades:
Ryan Fitzpatrick made a few heads up throws to the hot receiver on some early blitzes including screen passes to Jackson and Owens to get first downs. He threw with accuracy but couldn't convert enough third downs so he was benched in the fourth quarter for Trent Edwards. They wanted to get a spark but didn't get one until Edwards got hurt and Fitzpatrick came back to lead the Bills down the field twice late resulting in a touchdown pass to Evans. He finished 17 of 25 for 178 yards. Edwards had four plays and was sacked twice. Grade D: Why not see what Brian Brohm can do?
The Bills were committed to duplicating last week's efforts on the ground. Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch had tremendous success running the football on the team's opening possession but they seemed to get away from running the football as they game moved along. Jackson finished with a team high 80 yards rushing on 15 carries for a nice 5.3 yard average. He gained 32 yards on four receptions. Lynch had eight carries for just 25 yards. Grade A-: The best unit is the most underused.
Terrell Owens got called for a false start and didn't fight for a first down on a third down catch in the fourth quarter. He finished with just two catches for 20 yards. Lee Evans got involved in the 2nd half as they took a few shots deep to him. He caught three balls including a touchdown pass on a fade pattern. Minutes earlier he almost scored on a similar pass but was knocked out of bounds. Josh Reed made a big fourth down catch and run for 29 yards but then dropped a fourth down pass that could have got the Bills back in the game. He did make a big catch on the ensuing touchdown drive. He finished with a team high four catches for 63 yards. Shawn Nelson had four catches for 17 yards. Jonathan Stupar deflected one pass but it was caught by Jackson. Grade D: Very overrated receiving corps.
This unit was in disarray all afternoon as they gave up six sacks and were called for many of the team's 11 penalties. Richie Incognito got the start just four days after being claimed off of waivers and there were a few communication issues. He had one of the holding penalties and an illegal block in the back. Jonathan Scott gave up at least one of the sacks. Kirk Chambers gave up three sacks to Tully Banta-Cain. Geoff Hangartner was called for a holding penalty. Andre Ramsey got his NFL debut and lined up at tight end on the goal line. He was promptly called for a killer false start penalty on third and goal from the 2 on the opening possession forcing the Bills to settle for a field goal. Grade F-: The worst day of the season for the worst unit on the team.
Aaron Schobel had great pressure on Brady on the Pats first series and forced him into an interception. He also had a pressure from the linebacker spot that forced an incompletion and a punt. Chris Kelsay had a very quiet six tackles. Marcus Stroud knocked down a pass and gave up way too many yards through the middle of the defense. Spencer Johnson had two tackles while Kyle Williams had three. Ryan Denney was a non factor as well with two tackles. Aaron Maybin had one lousy assist. John McCargo had a tackle. Grade C: No sacks but gained a little pressure.
Paul Posluszny picked off a pass on the Patriots first series thanks to pressure by Schobel. He is also had a tackle for a six yard loss and a team high nine tackles. Bryan Scott missed a tackle at the line of scrimmage to allow a good run by Laurence Mulroney on the Pats first series. He finished with five tackles. Chris Draft had a nice tackle to keep Laurence Mulroney out of the end zone but he scored on the next play. Draft had eight tackles. Grade B: Played pretty well in the loss but there were some lapses in the running game.
Terrence McGee had a nice pass breakup on a bomb to former Bill Sam Aiken. He was out muscled for a pass up for grabs to Randy Moss. He was hurt on the play. Drayton Florence struggled mightily against Randy Moss. He got called for an illegal hands in the face penalty and a holding penalty. He hit him on the line then was beaten for an easy 16 yard completion late in the first half. George Wilson had a tackle for loss. Jairus Byrd was beaten for a touchdown by Moss when he was out of position while the blitz was on. Reggie Corner dropped an interception and then was called for pass interference in the end zone. Donte Whitner was called for pass interference on a bomb to Randy Moss. It was awful coverage and technique by Whitner on the play. Grade C+: Penalties killed this unit even though Brady only had 115 yards passing.
Brian Moorman had an off day. He averaged 38 yards on five punts and a net of 34.6. Rian Lindell hit a 25 yard field goal but missed from 56 yards out. The Bills did not use Roscoe Parrish to return punts in the first half, he then fumbled his first opportunity in the fourth quarter but the Bills recovered. His one return went for 20 yards and set the Bills up at the New England 28. Fred Jackson called a fair catch and Josh Reed bobbled a punt that they also recovered. Jackson averaged a healthy 27 yards on four kickoff returns. The coverage units allowed only a 15 yard average on three kick returns and two punt returns for 17 yards. Aaron Maybin was called for a costly offsides penalty on an onside kick that the Bills had recovered. Grade C: The missed FG was a long one. They are lucky the two fumbles didn't hurt. The penalty was a killer.
Perry Fewell looked like Dick Jauron in this game. They played undisciplined and made way too many penalties. They were just flat after the opening drive. They did tighten up on penalties in the second half and did not quit. His QB switch was a desperate move but why not? They wasted two second half timeouts that really came back to haunt them. As a defensive coordinator, he moved people around on defense trying to bring pressure from different places. He had some success but not enough. Alex Van Pelt fell in love with the third down screen passes to diminishing returns as the came went on. They ran well but still threw too much. Bobby April had a nice onside kick play call but he had to be furious by the penalty. Grade F: Just a major step backwards from a team that was showing a little bit of improvement.
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