Week 17: Grades Not Strong In Finale Loss
Despite lower grades team stayed in the game most of the way.
by Steve Saslow
Here are our position by position grades:
J.P. Losman was forced to throw a lot because the running game wasn't working. His accuracy was the worst it has been in recent weeks. Even his touchdown bomb to Lee Evans was under thrown. He had an interception returned for a touchdown when he threw into solid coverage. The next possession he had a chance to make a statement but threw it short for a wide open Robert Royal and it was almost picked off again. A good throw would have gone for a long gain and have given the Bills a chance to get back into the game. He also had more tipped passes then we have seen from him this year. His last pass of the year was picked off but he showed no quit by racing down the field to make the tackle. Grade D: Not the way he wanted to go out.
Willis McGahee had a back breaking fumble on the 2nd play of the 2nd half. He only gained 23 yards on 11 carries, falling short of a 1,000 yard season by 10 yards. Anthony Thomas had only one carry for three yards. Brad Cieslak didn't open up holes for the running game in place of the injured Daimon Shelton. Grade F-: 26 yards from this unit is just pathetic.
Lee Evans seems to always be open deep. He caught a 44 yard TD pass and showed some muscle in pulling in a jump ball for a 52 yard gain. He finished with 7 catches for 145 yards. Peerless Price was quiet with four catches for 25 yards and he didn't come back for the ball that was picked off and returned for a TD. Roscoe Parrish showed he can take a hit for a little guy. He made two catches over the middle and was leveled both times but bounced back up. He finished with a season high six catches for 50 yards. Josh Reed couldn't pull in a high pass from Losman on the opening drive and finished without a catch. He did run the ball once from the backfield for three yards to convert a third down play. Robert Royal was called for a holding penalty to start the 2nd half. He got wide open deep on another play but it was underthrown. He caught one ball for one yard. Brad Cieslak had one catch for eight yards. Grade B: This unit improved throughout the season.
The unit struggled against a fierce front seven. They allowed three sacks and opened up no holes for the running game. Jason Peters was called for an ineligible man downfield penalty. The line was also called for an illegal shift that negated a big gain on a screen pass on the Bills opening drive. Grade D: Overmatched by a great defense.
Aaron Schobel was a non factor and had only one assist. Chris Kelsay failed to get his hands up on one screen pass and seemed a step late in his pressures but finished with five tackles. Ryan Denney had three tackles. Larry Tripplett only had one tackle but did a decent job clogging up the middle. Kyle Williams had his best day as a pro as he had seven tackles. Anthony Hargrove had two tackles. Grade C: Solid against the run for a change, but no pass pressure.
London Fletcher went out with a bang in what probably is his last game as a Bill. He had his fourth interception of the season in the first quarter and finished with eight tackles. Takeo Spikes ended a tough season on a high note as he led the team with 11 tackles. Keith Ellison was in on eight tackles. Grade B: Did a nice job stopping the run but gave up too many short passes over the middle.
Terrence McGee had a nice pass breakup to hold the Ravens to a field goal after McGahee's fumble early in the third quarter. Nate Clements was beaten early a few times on the Ravens opening field goal drive. Ko Simpson was in on five tackles. Donte Whitner knocked a pass away from Todd Heap in the 2nd half but was beaten for a 19 yard reception by Heap at the end of the third quarter and a few times in the fourth as well. Grade C: Bent but did not break like the rest of the defense.
Brian Moorman had two touchbacks in the first half thanks to Jabari Greer and Andre Davis failing to stay out of the end zone to down consecutive punts inside the 2. He finished with two inside the 20 and a 43 yard punting average. Terrence McGee had six kickoff returns for a 21.7 yard average. Roscoe Parrish had one return for zero yards and Rian Lindell hit his only kick, an extra point. Coverage units did a nice job giving up a 4.3 yard average on punt returns and 19.5 on kickoff returns. Grade C: Not great, not bad.
Dick Jauron didn't call the game loose like a team that has been eliminated. With :36 left in the first half he wasted a timeout to talk about going for it on 4th and 10 and decided to punt, why use a timeout if you are going to punt it away anyway? Why punt when you have nothing to lose? The offensive game plan was right to go to the air since the ground wasn't working. The defensive game plan worked nicely although they were beaten by a lot of short passes over the middle. Grade B: Kept the team playing hard to the end in a game that meant nothing for them.
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