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Game 8: Everyone Contributes To Complete Victory
Big plays all around give Bills the upset.
by Steve Saslow

It was another solid all around effort from the Bills as they came away with the upset win over the Jets. The offense made the plays when they had to. The defense was solid and had a safety. Special teams had a few nice kick returns and one beautiful coffin corner punt. Put it all together and it is a Bills win. Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Drew Bledsoe managed a solid game in the tricky wind conditions. He finished with a quarterback rating of 88.8 as he completed 18 of 30 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown without throwing an interception. Bledsoe also had an uncharacteristic 17 yard third down scamper for a first down. He did a nice job moving around in the pocket to avoid getting sacked for the second game in a row. Grade B+: Second straight game that he managed very well. No mistakes equals a victory.

Running Backs:

Willis McGahee was a workhorse, he ran the ball a whopping 37 times and gained 132 yards. They were tough yards but his 12 yard touchdown run on fourth and one was a beautiful move to the outside. Travis Henry was in on more formations but carried the ball only four times for 15 yards. Daimon Shelton caught two passes for 11 yards. Grade B+: McGahee was a true workhorse but yards per carry were on the low side.

Receivers:

Eric Moulds led the team with seven catches for 85 yards. Lee Evans caught five balls for 64 yards. His touchdown catch was a very nice fingertip catch in the back of the end zone. His other huge catch was on the Bills final possession and converted a third down. With the injury to Josh Reed the Bills used Sam Aiken and Freddie Smith a lot. Aiken caught one pass for six yards and Smith was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. There were no catches from the tight ends. Grade C+: It was all Moulds and Evans.

Offensive Line:

The offensive line did a great job of pass protection as Bledsoe wasn't sacked for the second straight game. They gave him plenty of time to throw. The run protection wasn't as sharp however. Marcus Price filled in well for Mike Williams when he was hurt. Trey Teague returned and called a good game. Ross Tucker moved over to left guard and played most of the game for Lawrence Smith. Grade A: This unit appears to be gelling.

Defensive Line:

Chris Kelsay was a machine as he was a very disruptive force in the backfield. He had five tackles and a sack. Aaron Schobel was quiet in this one, finishing with three tackles. Sam Adams was also quiet. Pat Williams finished with four tackles including the stop of Curtis Martin in the end zone for a safety. Grade B: Held another running back to under 100 yards.

Linebackers:

It was a quiet day for this group. London Fletcher only had four tackles and was beat in pass coverage on one big play. Takeo Spikes was in on six tackles. Jeff Posey was in on two tackles. Grade C: Quiet, but efficient.

Secondary:

Terrence McGee was toast in this game. He was beaten for four long pass plays including the 51 yard touchdown pass. Nate Clements was also beaten for a score but forced a fumble that was picked up and returned nicely by McGee. Pierson Prioleau was called for an illegal contact penalty as was Izell Reese. Lawyer Milloy had an interception and knocked away another pass in the red zone. Grade B: Team may think twice about moving Vincent to Safety.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman had a nice game after a slow start. He finished with seven punts for a 41.7 yard average. He hit a beautiful 64 yarder but his biggest punt was a coffin corner one in the fourth quarter that went out of bounds at the 1, setting up the safety. Terrence McGee averaged 23.5 yards on four returns. Rian Lindell was two for two on field goals in the wind, and kept his impressive extra point streak in tact. Nate Clements had one punt return for 5 yards. The coverage units were superb once again. Grade A: Deserved the introduction they received before the game.

Coaching:

Mike Mularkey had some very good play calls as he came in with wrinkles. Moving Tucker into the guard spot was a good move. Using Jabari Greer at wide receiver for a play and then handing him the football was an interesting move, although it didn't work. The clock management before halftime was an embarrassment. Grade B: Two straight wins, not bad.



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