Week 12: Bills Fail In The End
Defense and Offense collapse in final minutes.
by Steve Saslow
Here are our position by position grades:
J.P. Losman did some very good things and can learn a lot from the game. Unfortunately with the game on the line his inexperienced showed. He finished with a career high 197 yards on 16 of 29 with a QB rating of 62.0. The downside was missing a wide open Eric Moulds for a potential winning touchdown and then throwing the interception that clinched the loss. He also made a mistake on a third down throw to the end zone for Lee Evans. He had Josh Reed open for a first down underneath but threw the incomplete pass deep. Grade C+: Another good learning performance.
Willis McGahee had another bad performance. There wasn't much room to run but he looks disinterested with the ball not showing any fire and power. He finished with just 53 yards on 21 carries and was called for a costly chop block penalty on the Bills second field goal drive. Shaud Williams didn't touch the ball. Daimon Shelton struggled in run blocking and tripped up McGahee on one run accidentally when he fell. Grade F: With a young QB you need a running game even more.
Eric Moulds was the go to guy again. He had seven catches for 84 yards and averaged a hefty (for him) 12 yards per catch. He was also wide open for the winning score but Losman totally missed him. Lee Evans was called for a holding penalty that negated a nice McGahee run but came back to catch five balls for 45 yards including a few third down conversions and a huge fourth down conversion that temporarily kept the game alive. Roscoe Parrish had a great catch on the first field goal drive. He had two in all for 30 yards. Josh Reed made a nice 29 yard catch on that same drive but it was his only grab. Tim Euhus started for the injured Mark Campbell and he was promptly called for a false start penalty on the first offensive play from scrimmage. He did have a big block on a WR screen to Parrish in the 2nd field goal drive but did not catch a pass. Ryan Neufeld also saw action at tight end and had a big catch on the first field goal drive in the first half. It was his only grab. Grade B+: The unit made big plays and didn't drop any passes.
Mike Williams started for Bennie Anderson but left the game with an injury in the first quarter. Jason Peters battled Julius Peppers well all game except one play when he was beat for a sack in the final minute of the first half. Mike Gandy did a nice job holding off Rucker. The Panthers found other ways to beat them though. They gave up four sacks and it could have been worse if it wasn't for Losman's mobility. They also opened few holes in the running game as they averaged only 2.2 yards on the ground. Grade D: As in Donahoe, he has had an awful line his entire time in Buffalo. Why would you expect anything different?
With Sam Adams out, it was tough for this unit to get a push on the Panthers OLine. They didn't run the ball well up the middle but did a nice job outside, first to the right then to the left. Justin Bannan made a big stop in the backfield on a third and inches run on the final play of the first quarter. Chris Kelsay was run at early with much success. He did recover a fumble that was forced by Aaron Schobel that setup a field goal just before halftime. Bannan and Schobel had five tackles apiece. Tim Anderson tipped a pass and had four tackles. Grade C: The big play that setup a field goal and a 3.4 yard avg. per carry keeps this grade average.
London Fletcher had a great game as he was in on 17 tackles and made plays after the line gave up huge holes. Jeff Posey was beat by the tight end Kris Mangum on a play on the Panthers first scoring drive but he had seven tackles. Angelo Crowell was called for a costly face mask penalty that kept the Panthers touchdown drive going. He had a quiet game with six tackles. Mario Haggan had a rare tackle at linebacker. Grade C: Fletcher keeps this unit above water.
The secondary was determined to shutdown Steve Smith and they did for the most part holding him to 3 catches for 55 yards. Nate Clements and Troy Vincent double teamed him most of the game successfully but Vincent missed a tackle on a third and a long play allowing Smith to get the first down. The Panthers moved him into the slot opening him up for two big catches on the game tying field goal drive. Terrence McGee was out with his hamstring injury. He was replaced by Jabari Greer who drew a lot of one on one matchups and he failed miserably, it didn't matter who he covered. He gave up a big 24 yard completion that got the winning drive going for Carolina. Eric King continued as the nickel backer. He was beat on a third down pass to a tight end on the Panthers first scoring drive but otherwise did pretty well. Lawyer Milloy had nine tackles before getting hurt on the final drive. Grade B: Did a nice job on Smith, not so nice on everyone else.
Brian Moorman kept punting the ball too low setting up return opportunities for Smith. He averaged 48.3 yards on his four punts and got two stopped inside the 20 but that was thanks to the solid coverage units. Smith did average 11.3 yards on four returns but that was because he had a head start returning the low, booming kicks. Roscoe Parrish averaged 24 yards on three kickoff returns. He got lucky when he fumbled one away. It was called dead and the Bills got a break. He fair caught both punts. Rian Lindell hit field goals from 31,45, and 33 yards out as he was the main offensive weapon for the Bills. Grade B: Solid performance but what happened to hang time?
Mike Mularkey made a good move to wake a slumbering offense. He went into the no huddle offense a few times. The first time it caught the Panthers off guard. After moving downfield the Panthers were gassed and had to call timeout. The Bills settled for a field goal on that drive thanks to them trying to get too cute again on third and 1 with a pitch play that lost yardage. On the second no huddle drive they failed to get into the end zone again but got another field goal. Mularkey should have used one more timeout on defense on the Panthers final scoring drive. Jerry Gray had a fine scheme to stop Smith and he adjusted when they moved him inside. Grade C: Didn't Donahoe bring Mularkey in for mental toughness? It still isn't showing, they can't finish games.
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