Game 13: Bills Put Together Another Gem
The second straight all around solid effort from the Bills.
by Steve Saslow
This is the win that the Bills envisioned all year long. The defense putting together another great performance while Travis Henry put together a dominating performance in the Bills 17-6 win over the Jets. Our position by position grades reflect the second solid effort in a row from the Bills:
Drew Bledsoe didn't have a big game, in fact his stats were down right small. That's ok though, the power running game made passing the ball a luxury. Bledsoe through only 15 passes and completed just nine for 72 yards. That was enough but his two mistakes could have killed the Bills. He fumbled once, but it was recovered by Sam Gash. He also threw an interception but the defense didn't let the Jets turn it into points. Grade C-: Did a nice job of handing off to Henry.
Travis Henry was spectacular again. He had a career high 169 yards on 32 carries for a 5.3 yard average and a touchdown. He also added a catch for six yards. Joe Burns had some work with Sammy Morris out again. He ran six times for 29 yards a nice 4.8 yard average of his own. Sam Gash was used more than he has been all year. He was a devastating blocker for Henry and recovered Bledsoe's fumble. He also caught a pass for 11 yards. Grade A+: Henry just dominated the football game.
Josh Reed was the only member of this unit that did anything. He caught four of Bledsoe's nine completions for 30 yards. He made some tough catches in traffic like he did many times last year including the six yard touchdown catch on a third and four play. Eric Moulds is a shell of his former self with his groin injury. He caught a pass on the first play of the game and then didn't catch another one until late in the game. He had 11 yards receiving. Bobby Shaw had a bad game, catching just one ball for 14 yards and dropping two other passes. The tight ends were again non existent. Bledsoe was throwing for Mark Campbell on is interception and another pass for Campbell was almost picked. Grade D: Tough to have a big day when there are just 9 completions.
The Bills averaged five yards a carry as the line did an excellent job in run blocking. They constantly got a great push and opened holes for Travis Henry. He ran a lot on the left side of the line behind Marques Sullivan, Ruben Brown and Trey Teague. Mike Williams did a solid job in keeping Shaun Ellis off of Bledsoe. They did allow two sacks however on just 15 pass attempts. Grade A: Nice job from a makeshift unit.
Sam Adams had a monster day. He was very active in the middle of the field and got a tremendous push in the middle of the Jets line against pro bowl center Kevin Mawae. Adams had two sacks, knocked down a pass, and uncharacteristically had seven tackles. He had many hits of Curtis Martin in the backfield. Pat Williams was a little quieter than Adams but added four tackles. Aaron Schobel had another sack and forced a Pennington fumble. Ryan Denney was on the field... we think. Grade A: Kept the running game in check and put the pressure on Pennington.
London Fletcher had another huge day with 12 tackles and a sack. Takeo Spikes was unusually quiet but did have a quarterback pressure that forced an incomplete pass and he was in on eight sacks. Jeff Posey was in on four tackles but he kept Anthony Becht at bay most of the game. Grade B+: Held their own as second line of defense.
Nate Clements and Antoine Winfield both were beaten a couple of times but held their own in crunch time. Winfield had one beautiful pass breakup. Terrence McGee had a nice pass breakup of Santana Moss. Lawyer Milloy had a big sack to force a punt but was beaten on a third down pass. Grade B: Gave up some plays, but no big plays.
Brian Moorman had another great day. He averaged 40.3 yards on four punts but three of them were inside the 20. Rian Lindell hit his only field goal attempt, a 32 yarder. Antonio Brown averaged a healthy 23.7 yards on three kickoff returns. Nate Clements returned one punt for six yards. The punt coverage units held Santana Moss to just eight yards on two returns. They held the Jets good kickoff return team to a 20 yard average on four returns. They were helped by the injury to their best returner Jonathan Carter on the opening kickoff. Grade B+: Continuing their fine season.
The team continues to play hard for Williams. They finally put in the game plan that Tom Donahoe envisioned way back in training camp. It was executed perfectly. One eyebrow raising call, was a third and four quarterback sneak. Kevin Gilbride was shown visibly upset after the play which makes me think Bledsoe called this on his own. A good call was the fourth and inches gamble to go for it in the second half, Henry made it easy. Grade A: This team has never given up on Williams in his three years in Buffalo.
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