Week 4: Offense Struggles Again In Loss
Offensive woes continue in second straight defeat
by Steve Saslow
So the offense finally got going after running their scoreless streak to eight quarters. That is the time the defense picked to fail when the Bills clawed their way back into the game. It was a poorly executed game right down to the coaching. We break it down with our grades:
Drew Bledsoe finished with solid statistics. He threw 43 passes with the running back corps depleted. He completed 27 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a score. Bledsoe was also the victim of several drops. He had a bonehead play of his own, throwing the ball away on fourth down and not realizing what down it was. Grade B+: Good comeback game from last week, same results.
With Travis Henry and Sammy Morris out Joe Burns became the main man. He ran the ball only eight times for only 17 yards. He caught three passes for 34 yards. Ken Simonton made his NFL debut in the second half and ran twice for four yards. Sam Gash could be on the missing persons list as he was barely used. Grade D: They really missed Henry.
Against a depleted secondary the numbers were very good for Eric Moulds and Bobby Shaw but that only tells part of the story. Both caught eight passes, Moulds had 114 yards and Shaw 92. Shaw did have a costly fumble in the first half that held off a Bills drive and led to an Eagles field goal. Shaw also dropped a few passes. Moulds had good numbers late but was very quiet early. That can't happen when he is your number one threat against an injured secondary. Josh Reed may be in trouble. He dropped another pass and Bledsoe stopped looking his way. He caught only one pass the whole game. Mark Campbell was Bledsoe's favorite receiver in the second half, he caught five passes for 38 yards but did drop one pass. Dave Moore caught one pass but failed to get the ball across the goal line. Grade D+: Decent numbers were not telling of a poor effort.
This line may be overrated as they once again didn't open holes for the running game. They failed picking up the blitz as Bledsoe was sacked twice and hit a few other times. Trey Teague had another low snap in the shotgun. Mike Pucillo gave up a sack on the first possession that set the tone for the game. Grade D: Struggling once again.
The line did a good job against the run and containing McNabb for the most part. Sam Adams did spend a lot of the game on the sidelines. Aaron Schobel had a sack and missed McNabb twice on another sack. Ryan Denney knocked down two passes. Pat Williams had one nice tackle in the backfield and was in on five tackles. Grade B: Nice effort in the loss.
London Fletcher was in on seven tackles and had decent coverage downfield on one long pass that fell incomplete. Takeo Spikes was spying McNabb and did have a pass breakup to force a punt. He was in on nine tackles. Jeff Posey had a sack but was quiet again for the most part. Grade C: An average performance by an above average unit.
Nate Clements had a bad game as he got beat twice early and missed a few tackles. Lawyer Milloy was called for a bad unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that kept an Eagles drive going. Antoine Winfield was unusually quiet as they threw away from him. Kevin Thomas gave up the third down conversion pass to James Thrash on the Eagles final series. Pierson Prioleau led the team with nine tackles but was called for a bad hands to the face penalty and missed tackles on a third down conversion by Duce Staley and on the 62 yard touchdown run by Westbrook. Grade D: Too many missed tackles.
Brian Moorman continues his good punting averaging 41 yards on four punts. Rian Lindell missed his first field goal as a Bill, a 51 yarder that he didn't get enough of the ball on. Antonio Brown had a 41 yard return on the Eagles first kickoff and finished with a 26 yard average on five returns. He only had eight yards on two punt returns. Terrence McGee had a 23 yard kickoff return. The coverage units did well despite missed their three leading tacklers. Coy Wire had one really nice tackle on a punt return. Grade B: Only unit to do well in this game.
Penalties, Penalties, Penalties. Gregg Williams has to finally find a way to stop the penalties. He also reverted to is old self on replays. The replay on the goal line was stupid. The 51 yard field goal attempt was eye brow raising. Why didn't the offense exploit the weakness of the Eagles secondary? Why didn't they adjust earlier than the fourth quarter? Grade F-: Williams' career with the Bills is now on the hot seat.
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