Game 6: Offense Spoils Solid Defensive Effort
Bumbling offense washed away an inspired defensive effort.
by Steve Saslow
Another week, same scenario, another loss. The defense gave a great effort, especially in the second half as they totally shut down the Ravens attack. Unfortunately the Bills offense did more to help the Ravens on the scoreboard than the defense did to stop them. Five turnovers kept the Bills off the board and handed the Ravens 10 points. A recipe for another road loss. Here are our position by position grades:
Drew Bledsoe by far his worst performance of the season. Four interceptions, two in the red zone, a third returned for a touchdown. He also turned it over a fifth time on a fumble. He threw behind Eric Moulds one time when he was wide open for a touchdown and threw high many times in this game. He finished with a QB rating of a paltry 32.3. Grade F-: The single greatest reason why they lost this game.
Travis Henry started but appeared slowed by his foot injury and gave way to Willis McGahee for most of the game. Henry struggled early and then broke off a 19 yard run when they game was over. He finished with 27 yards on 7 carries. McGahee also struggled but did better as the game wore on, finishing with 58 yards on 16 carries. Henry caught two passes, McGahee one. Daimon Shelton was the main weapon out of the backfield catching four passes for 26 yards as he was constantly the check down option. Grade D-: Neither running back performed well enough to be the starter.
Eric Moulds was the only offensive player to have a good game. He caught six passes for 96 yards. He made a sensational catch on a 49 yard bomb from Bledsoe. He almost made two other acrobatic catches but couldn't come down with a poor pass on the goal line or a well thrown ball into coverage in the end zone. He showed great heart in running down a defender from behind saving a touchdown on a 93 yard interception return that wrapped the game up for the Ravens. Lee Evans did not catch a pass for the first time in his career. Josh Reed caught four balls for 32 yards including a nice catch early in the game. He also dropped two passes. Sam Aiken caught one pass. Mark Campbell caught two passes in the red zone for 36 yards but Bledsoe did not go to him more. Grade C+: Moulds and Campbell were the only ones to do anything.
At times the unit gave Bledsoe some good time to throw and picked up the blitz. At other times Bledsoe was running for his life as he was sacked four times and pressured on a few other plays. They also struggled to open up holes for the running game. The Bills got little yardage on the ground until late in the game when the Ravens were playing more of a prevent defense. Grade D: This unit hasn't played well on the road in a few years.
Aaron Schobel continues his hot streak. He had two sacks, and a forced fumble on the second play of the game. He proved he can play with the big boys as he got the better of Jonathan Ogden today. Chris Kelsay was in on four tackles including one in the backfield. Ryan Denney only had one assist. I was expecting a big game from Sam Adams against his former team after last week's debacle. I was wrong, he was in on two tackles. Pat Williams had four tackles. Grade B: Missed too many tackles on Ravens running backs.
Takeo Spikes led the team with 11 tackles and a sack. He was very active and made some punishing hits. London Fletcher was in on nine tackles and had a sack but was called for another boneheaded roughing the passer penalty that prolonged the Ravens first drive. Jeff Posey made a big play on the fumble recovery in the opening series. Grade A: Spikes and Fletcher were dominant.
Terrence McGee was burned deep by Travis Taylor on a 47 yard pass play but came back and broke up another long pass. Nate Clements did a good job in pass protection as few balls were thrown his way. Lawyer Milloy returned and was in on six tackles. Not bad for someone that is rusty I'm sure. Izell Reese turned the wrong way on a bomb that he should have picked off. Grade A-: -11 yards passing in the second half. Not bad at all.
Brian Moorman won't be winning the special teams player of the week award this week. He averaged only 38.5 yards on four punts. He had two short ones and one for 52 yards. Rian Lindell hit both of his short field goal attempts from 24 and 21 yards out. Terrence McGee averaged only 18 yards on four kickoff returns. Nate Clements averaged only 5.3 yards on four returns. He had one nice return of 16 yards but also lost a lot of yards on another return. Grade C: Average day from a unit that needed an above average day.
Mike Mularkey should have shown some guts and went for the touchdown when they were at the 3 trailing by 14 in the third quarter. The way this offense was playing you have to take your chances. Jerry Gray showed why he deserved the contract extension he got this week. He made adjustments and shut down the Ravens in the second half. Unfortunately the Bills offensive coaching minds didn't do the same. Grade C: Need to learn how to win on the road.
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