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Week 1: Manuel Shows Good Demeanor In Loss
Defense showed aggression but tired in the end.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

EJ Manuel showed great poise in the pocket and led the Bills back with two touchdown passes but struggled in the fourth quarter. He had his first deep pass almost picked off but came away with no interceptions in completing 67% of his passes for 250 yards.
Grade B+: Very good first test.

Running Backs:

C.J. Spiller fumbled on his second carry that led to a Patriots TD. He didn't do much the rest of the game finishing with just 2.4 yards per carry and 2.8 yards per reception. He had 55 yards total offense in 22 carries.
Fred Jackson played much better with 67 yards on 13 carries and 41 yards receiving.
Grade C-: Jackson gets a solid B but Spiller was awful.

Receivers:

Stevie Johnson made a really nice catch on a good over the shoulder pass by Manuel for a touchdown. He then had a bad drop on 3rd and less than 2 yards in the fourth quarter that ended a Bills drive. He only had three catches for 39 yards.
Robert Woods first career catch went for a touchdown. He was wide open in the end zone for his only catch of the game.
T.J. Graham got called for a holding penalty that was declined and couldn't connect with Manuel on the only pass thrown his way a deep sideline pattern that fell incomplete.
Marquise Goodwin fumbled away his first career catch. He never touched the ball again as he hurt his hand.
Scott Chandler caught the first pass of Manuel's career but did little else. He couldn't pull in a downfield pass that was a bit high. He was called for a false start penalty and a very costly block in the back penalty negating a big play. He had four catches for 38 yards.
Grade D: The two touchdowns were the only plays made by this unit.

Offensive Line:

Kraig Urbik was called for a hands in the face penalty that was very costly wiping out a third down conversion pass to Jackson.
Cordy Glenn called for a costly illegal hands in the face penalty that wiped out a 19 yard pass play.
Grade B: Did a great job in pass protection as Manuel was hurried or hit.

Defensive Line:

Mario Williams had some decent pressure but only had one tackle and an assist.
Marcell Dareus was called for a neutral zone infraction on the first play of the game. Knocked down a pass and was in on six tackles and had a quarterback hit.
Kyle Williams was called for a neutral zone infraction on a 3rd and 4 play to give the Patriots a first down. He had a sack but was largely quiet otherwise despite having one tackle for loss.
Alex Carrington had an incredibly quiet four tackles.
Jerry Hughes had three tackles and a big hit on Brady.
Alan Branch hit Brady hard twice forcing incompletions.
Grade C: The unit had a sack but did allow some big holes in the running game.

Linebackers:

Manny Lawson had four tackles.
Kiko Alonso got beat badly by Julius Edelman for New England's second touchdown. He recovered a fumble on a fourth and goal botched snap. Was in on nine tackles.
Nigel Bradham was very quiet with one tackle.
Arthur Moats cut off the edge for a one yard loss and had three tackles in all.
Grade C-: Didn't do much in this game.

Secondary:

Leodis McKelvin had two good tackles at the line of scrimmage one on Ridley, and one on Brady. Knocked away two passes and defended four in all with six tackles.
Justin Rogers had a big interception setting up a go ahead touchdown in the third quarter.
Ron Brooks was in on three tackles and had a hit on Brady.
Nickell Robey had a big third down tackle on a WR screen pass. He was in on four tackles
Aaron Williams had nine tackles.
Da'Norris Searcy forced a fumble and returned it for a touchdown. He also had a sack and was in on eight tackles.
Jim Leonhard had nine solo tackles to lead the team including an open field stop on a third down pass.
Grade B+: Secondary played much better than I thought they would.

Special Teams:

Shawn Powell had nine punts with a 40 yard net including a 45.8 yard gross average and three punts inside the 20 with one touchback.
Dan Carpenter hit all three extra point attempts and did not attempt a field goal.
Leodis McKelvin did not return any punts and let one bounce he should have fair caught.
T.J. Graham dropped a kickoff and took it out anyway.
Coverage Units were hurt by a face mask penalty on Moats. Searcy had a big tackle at the 14 on the opening kickoff. Allowed 10.7 yards per return on three punt returns. Two kickoff returns went for 35 total yards.
Grade C: Just average day for this unit.

Coaching:

Doug Marrone lost his first challenge which he struggled to get the flag out. The penalty problem from the preseason was never solved as they had way too many costly penalties again including two 12 men on the field calls.
Nathaniel Hackett didn't get creative or open up the offense at all. Most of the running plays looked very similar.
Mike Pettine used secondary blitzes very well and got a lot of pressure on Brady for most of the game.
Grade C: A loss to build on.



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