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Game 11: Defense Solid For Three Quarters
Fourth quarter collapse leaves Bills with another loss.
by Steve Saslow

On offense, the Bills scored two touchdowns. On Defense, they shutdown the Colts high powered attack for three quarters. On special teams, they had two bobbled snaps but one turned into the biggest offensive play of the game. Here are the gameday grades:

Quarterback:

Drew Bledsoe didn't do much better than he has done over the last month. He did end up scoring a touchdown on a one yard plunge but threw for just 135 yards. He also threw an interception in the final minute when the team was looking to tie the score. Grade D: When the game is on the line, he just doesn't deliver anymore.

Running Backs:

Travis Henry showed guts and heart as he played the whole game with his cracked fibula. He ran for a hard 77 yards and added 21 yards on a team high four receptions. Sammy Morris also caught three balls for 23 yards and his one carry was a big one. He took a draw play and went seven yards for a touchdown on a third down play. Joe Burns had one carry for five yards. Sam Gash did a nice job opening up holes for Henry. Grade B: Continue to be the best offensive unit.

Receivers:

Eric Moulds struggled as he only caught three passes and should have caught one on a fourth quarter possession that would have been a big first down. Josh Reed also caught three passes and could have grabbed another one but it went off his finger tips. Bobby Shaw only caught two passes and was the target on the intercepted pass in the final seconds. Mark Campbell and Dave Moore were shut out. Moore dropped the two passes thrown to him and Campbell didn't even have a pass thrown his way. Grade F: Not making any plays.

Offensive Line:

Jonas Jennings played with guts through a painful hip injury and only allowed one sack by Dwight Freeney. Mike Williams was also back and played well. They ran behind Trey Teague and Ruben Brown on Morris' touchdown run. Brown then blew an assignment on Bledsoe's pick as he was hit as he threw it despite only using a four man rush. Mike Pucillo had a holding penalty that wiped out a long run by Henry. They averaged 4.1 yards a carry but 21 came on a botched punt. Bledsoe was sacked twice but had time to throw most of the game except for the ill fated final play. Grade C: Collapsed at the absolute wrong time.

Defensive Line:

For three quarters this unit was sound but seemed to tire in the fourth quarter. Sam Adams had a costly offsides penalty but he and Pat Williams stuffed the middle well. Aaron Schobel had a good day rushing the quarterback despite no sacks. Ryan Denney was non existent again. Keith McKenzie saw some playing time again and had one pressure of Manning. Grade C: Didn't do the job in the fourth quarter.

Linebackers:

London Fletcher was solid again as he was in on 14 tackles and had a fumble recovery. Takeo Spikes was in on 8 tackles. Jeff Posey had three tackles before leaving the game with a knee injury. Grade B: Did their job in holding the Colts down.

Secondary:

Nate Clements was in on seven tackles and had a good day in coverage. Antoine Winfield was in on 10 stops and had a sack in the first quarter on a blitz. Lawyer Milloy was active as he was in on eight tackles but missed a tackle on James' first touchdown run. Terrence McGee forced a fumble saving a score but did allow Marvin Harrison to beat him to convert an important third down in the fourth quarter. Pierson Prioleau started for the injured Izell Reese. Grade B: Did a nice job of holding down the top passing offense in the league.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman was a star in this game despite botching two snaps. He fumbled a snap on a punt but picked it up and showed his track speed by running 21 yards for a first down. The play setup the Bills first touchdown. He also botched a hold causing Rian Lindell to miss very short on his only field goal attempt. Moorman finished with a 49 yard punting average, and a whopping 46 yard net as the punt coverage units did a great job allowing only 1 yard on three returns before Wilkins had one 16 yard return. Nate Clements replaced Antonio Brown as the punt returner with a little more success. He had 17 yards on two return. Brown, Terrence McGee, and Sammy Morris each returned kickoffs averaging a very average 22.8 yards per return. Grade B: If it wasn't for Moorman's dropsies this would be an A.

Coaching:

For all the Gregg Williams bashing we have done this year one thing is obvious, the team has not quit on him. They played hard in this game and the defensive game plan was sound, they just tired out in the final quarter. The run play on third and goal was a thing of beauty. Grade B: Coaching didn't cost them this game.



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