Game 10: Dominating Effort By Entire Team
All three units took turns in contributing to win.
by Steve Saslow
What a difference a week makes. Last week, almost every unit failed in our grades, this week they all pass with flying colors. The offense dominated for the game for a quarter, the special teams led directly to 17 third quarter points, and the defense shut the door on the high powered Rams offense in the second half. Here are our very good position by position grades:
Drew Bledsoe overcame an early interception that led to a 10-0 deficit to have a very efficient game including a second quarter that was reminiscent of the old days. Bledsoe finished with only 185 yards passing, getting 160 in the first half most of those in the 17 point second quarter. He was very efficient on his three touchdown passes but threw to the wrong side of Eric Moulds on one possible touchdown that forced the team to settle for a field goal. Grade B+: Was very efficient in bouncing back from last week's game.
Willis McGahee struggled early but ran well down the stretch in gaining 100 yards on 20 carries. He had a spectacular 49 yard touchdown run partially called back by a downfield holding penalty. On that run he hurdled a defender and amazingly stayed in bounds. He got the hard yards even though he wasn't a big part of the offense during the mid-game explosion. He added three catches for 27 yards. Travis Henry had one carry on a sweep for five yards. Daimon Shelton was called for an illegal motion penalty. Grade B: Wasn't the main unit but did the job down the stretch.
Eric Moulds had a poor game, catching only three short passes and being called for three penalties. Lee Evans made a beautiful 32 yard reception and finished with two catches and drew a pass interference call on the Rams. Sam Aiken had the biggest game of his short career. He caught a 54 yard bomb on a flea flicker and had another seven yard catch as well on the same drive setting up a tying field goal before halftime. Mark Campbell exploded with three touchdowns, his first multi-touchdown game of his career. Grade B: For a change Moulds brings the grade down.
Jonas Jennings was called for a bad illegal hands in the face penalty. The line as a whole did a nice job in pass protection and picking up the blitz. Bledsoe had time to throw all day and was sacked only once. They opened up holes for the running game in the second half when they were running out the clock. Grade A: They get stronger every week.
Sam Adams was very active and a frequent guest in the Rams backfield. He was in on three tackles, with two behind the line of scrimmage. He also tipped a pass that he eventually picked off stopping a Rams scoring threat. Aaron Schobel was neutralized for the most part but did have a big hit on Marshall Faulk stopping him for a loss. He also ran down Steven Jackson after he got past him. Chris Kelsay had a couple of hit on Marc Bulger. Ryan Denney ran down Tory Holt forcing him to fumble the ball and had a sack. Pat Williams had a quiet day. Grade A: Did a solid job against the run and getting some pressure.
Takeo Spikes had a pass deflection that he would pick off. He was in on seven tackles. London Fletcher was surprisingly quiet against his former team as he was also in on seven tackles. Jeff Posey was in on two tackles and had a couple of pressures on Bulger. Grade A: Did their job in shutting down the Rams.
Terrence McGee had his best game in pass coverage as he was in on seven tackles and was only beat once, he also had a sack when he ran down Bulger on a scramble. Nate Clements was all over the field as he was in on six tackles and forced a fumble. He was called for two costly holding penalties. Lawyer Milloy was beat early for a few big plays but he started blitzing and ended up with three sacks to go along with his six tackles. Rashad Baker played well in his first NFL start, he had one tackle. Jabari Greer had a sack late in the game and also had three tackles as he saw the most playing time of his career. Kevin Thomas also saw a lot of playing time as the Bills were prepared for the Rams passing game. Thomas led the team with 10 tackles. Grade A: Five sacks from the secondary! Fantastic.
Jonathan Smith returned a punt 53 yards to the Rams 5 and had a great block from Nate Clements who returned a punt 86 yards for a score leading to a whopping 49.3 yards per punt return. Terrence McGee averaged 23.3 yards on four kickoff returns. Rian Lindell was three for three on field goals and is quietly having a solid year. Brian Moorman averaged 41.3 yards on four punts. The kick coverage unit recovered a muffed punt as Jason Peters came up with the ball. They allowed only 6.7 yards on three punt returns and 14.8 yards on eight kickoff returns as they took advantage of short kicks by Lindell. Grade A+: Led directly to 17 points, can't get any better than that.
Mike Mularkey had the team ready to play and kept them focused after a slow start. Great adjustments at halftime again for Jerry Gray as he brought the blitz in the second half to keep the Rams scoreless after the intermission. The pass first, run later gameplan shook up the Rams and it played to their weakness. Grade A: Team still fighting for rookie coach.
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