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Week 7: Defense Comes Up Big On The Road
Big plays on defense allowed the Bills to pull off the upset.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Thad Lewis threw the ball accurately early as they did several screen passes. He struggled at times and did throw an interception. He also fumbled once but recovered it saving a field goal attempt. Made some big throws on the first two field goal drives. Finished completing 21 of 32 passes for 202 yards.
Grade B: He held serve with a solid effort.

Running Backs:

C.J. Spiller was even more limited this week than last week with his ankle injury. He ran the ball six times for 11 yards and had three catches for -4 yards so that is 7 yards on 9 touches. Had one nice 11 yard run.
Fred Jackson caught a 21 yard screen pass to convert a third and long on the Bills first possession but injured his knee on the play, he played sparingly the rest of the way but gutted it out with a huge 10 yard run to convert a third down in the final minutes. He finished with 85 tough yards on 15 touches, 49 of them through the air.
Tashard Choice probably should have been used more but had 16 yards on six carries.
Frank Summers had a 16 yard run than lost two yards on his second carry.
Grade C+: Gutted it out but much too banged up.

Receivers:

Stevie Johnson dropped a pass but made a nice diving grab in the second quarter. Showed off some good moves in getting a first down on a short third down reception. Led the way with six catches for 61 yards.
Robert Woods continues to be nearly invisible with Lewis at the controls. Had three catches on four targets for 24 yards.
T.J. Graham had a nice 30 yard catch downfield but the only other pass thrown his way was a six yard reception.
Scott Chandler had two catches for 18 yards.
Lee Smith had a nice 18 yard reception.
Grade B-: Made a few plays but could have made more. Constantly got stopped and ran routes short of the first down marker on third downs.

Offensive Line:

Doug Legursky was called for a holding penalty negating a decent gain on a screen pass.
Erik Pears did a good job against Cameron Wake.
Grade D: Gave up four sacks and almost five yards per carry.

Defensive Line:

Mario Williams just took over the game in the fourth quarter. He got good pressure twice to force incompletions in the first quarter. He made a great tackle for a four yard loss and hit Tannehill very hard on a fourth quarter sack. He then forced a fumble on his second sack of the fourth quarter and almost had the hat trick on the final play of the game.
Marcell Dareus made a big hit on a tackle for loss and had six in total as he was very active and dominant in this game.
Kyle Williams didn't do much until recovering a fumble.
Jerry Hughes only had one tackle but did have a pressure along with Mario.
Grade A: Took over the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter.

Linebackers:

Manny Lawson was hampered by the hamstring injury and had just two tackles before leaving the game in the third quarter.
Kiko Alonso was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty otherwise was very quiet with one good tackle to shut off a hole and had a third down tackle for loss on a screen pass. He was in on only four tackles in total.
Nigel Bradham had a sack negated by a holding penalty.
Arthur Moats was in on three tackles.
Grade C: This unit didn't have its best game.

Secondary:

Jairus Byrd got a great hit on Gibson to force an incompletion inside the 10 and was in on four tackles.
Stephon Gilmore played once again with the club on his hand that limited and hampered his play. His fingers were once again wrapped up in the cast. He was beaten for a 46 yard pass play by Wallace and was called for holding that negated a sack and followed that up by giving up a 19 yard reception to Hartline.
Leodis McKelvin had a nice tackle for loss on a WR screen. He batted down a pass on the final desperation drive by Miami.
Ron Brooks played in spots in the second half when Robey went out.
Nickell Robey read Tannehill's first pass perfectly and returned the interception 19 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the game. Got pressure to force a punt. Battled through a shoulder injury.
Aaron Williams played corner once again this week with Gilmore still limited by his cast. He picked off a pass in the end zone. Got called for an illegal contact penalty. Made a nice open field tackle on Wallace short of a first down to force a fourth quarter punt. Led the way with six tackles.
Da'Norris Searcy was in on two tackles.
Grade B-: Did the job most of the game but still are giving up too many big plays.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman had seven punts for a 45.4 yard average with a net of 41. He had one touchback and one short punt.
Dan Carpenter had revenge against his former team hitting field goals from 39, 20, and the game winner from 31 yards out without missing a kick. Had a poor final kickoff that was returned for a big gain giving the Dolphins a chance.
Leodis McKelvin had two punt returns for 14 yards. Maybe shouldn't have fair caught one at the 5 yard line.
Marquise Goodwin had two kickoff returns for a 24.5 yard average.
Coverage Units got holding penalties called on Chris Hogan and Jamaal Westermen on returns. Got a great tackle for a loss by Marcus Easley before halftime. Gave up a 44 yard kickoff return in the final minute to give Miami a chance to steal the game.
Grade B: Coverage units are awful.

Coaching:

Doug Marrone continues to build a mentally strong team with solid character and now has his first road win under his belt against a decent division opponent.
Nathaniel Hackett added a lot more screen passes in the first half than had success with the read option after halftime. Did move the ball ok in spots but were hampered by a very banged up running game. Perhaps should have used Choice more.
Mike Pettine had his defense ready to play and they made big plays. He does lose some luster since they couldn't get to Tannehill until the fourth quarter and gave up good chunks of yardage on the ground.
Grade B: A road division win is rare and nice.



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