Game 15: Offense Pathetic; Defense Inspired
Both sides of the ball going in opposite directions.
by Steve Saslow
While the defense continues to improve and become a dominant unit over the last half of the season, the offense continues to be a pathetic bunch of bumbling players. The offense could do no good and gave up more points than the defense did in this loss. It was four turnovers that led to 13 points in Miami's 20-3 win over the Bills. Our position by position grades reflect the difference in the play of both sides of the ball:
Drew Bledsoe continues to be pathetic. He was 12 of 24 for just 114 yards and was sacked six times. He fumbled the ball away once and had his only pick returned for a touchdown. He was responsible for 10 Miami points and the defense set him up for the only three points the Bills got. Alex Van Pelt had a mysterious hand injury and was unavailable, so Travis Brown took over for the final drive and hit 3 of 4 passes for 41 yards and almost had a touchdown pass on the final play of the game. Grade F: Maybe Brown should start the finale? Can't be any worse.
Travis Henry had his case of fumblitis return. He lost the ball twice, the Bills recovered once. He had 67 yards on 24 carries, a pathetic 2.8 yards per carry average. He wasn't even getting yards when the team was running the ball in garbage time. Both he and Sammy Morris caught one pass for six yards and Morris had two carries for two yards. Sam Gash was barely seen on the field. Grade F: The ground game was as anemic as the rest of the offense.
Eric Moulds caught only three balls for 20 yards and dropped one that could have went for a score. Where is Josh Reed? He didn't catch a pass for the second straight week. He did recover a fumble. Bobby Shaw led the way with seven catches for 68 yards, mostly in garbage time. Dave Moore was back in the lineup despite having a hamstring injury but didn't catch a pass and wasn't any help as a blocker. Mark Campbell caught three pass for 55 yards as he has played better the last two weeks after losing his starting job. Grade D: The garbage time stats keeps the grade from failing.
The banged up unit was pathetic. Bledsoe was sacked six times and the running game averaged 2.6 yards per carry. Ruben Brown was called for a holding penalty. The two defensive ends combined for four of the sacks against the two backup tackles. Marques Sullivan was working against Taylor who had 2.5 sacks, and Marcus Price, who was in for Mike Williams, gave up 1.5 sacks to Ogunleye. Grade F-: This unit will be totally overhauled in the offseason.
The unit kept trying to get a jump on the snap count to get to Fiedler. The result was a couple of costly penalties. Ryan Denney had a roughing the passer call on a helmet to helmet hit that negated an interception. He atoned for it by getting a sack and a forced fumble that was recovered by Sam Adams, he was active as he had an unusually high 7 tackles along with his partner Pat Williams. Aaron Schobel continued his hot streak with another sack. He almost had another but Fiedler stepped up out of his grasp. Grade B+: Held the running game down and got pressure on the QB.
The unit was very active. London Fletcher led the way with 14 tackles and Takeo Spikes had 10 of his own. Jeff Posey was in on six tackles. Grade A: Did their job in an uphill battle.
Nate Clements had another interception as he continues to be a Dolphin Killer. Unfortunately this won was called back by a penalty. Antoine Winfield gave up Miami's only offensive touchdown as Chris Chambers beat him in tight coverage when Winfield turned the wrong way. Lawyer Milloy had six tackles and a couple of jarring hits that caused incomplete passes. Terrence McGee had his second interception of the year. Grade A: When you hold a team 46 yards gross passing, you are doing something right.
Brian Moorman averaged 43.8 yards on six punts but his first punt went only 27 yards giving the Dolphins solid field position to setup their opening score. Rian Lindell hit his only field goal, a chip shot 23 yarder with the wind at his back. Antonio Brown averaged only 18 yards on three kickoff returns. Nate Clements had a 24 yard punt return but fumbled it. He also muffed another punt. He made all fair catches after that. The Bills made Charlie Rogers look good on a 48 yard punt return. Grade D: Below average play all around for this group.
When they were inside the 10, why throw on second and third downs? Then, why throw on a third and 1 in the third quarter? Then, they gave up on the passing game when they were down by 17, and ran most of the time, including with the wind at their back. Grade F: Coached like they've given up on their Buffalo careers.
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