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Week 11: Team Effort Lifts Bills Over Texans
Offense and Defense pick up each other's slack to get victory.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

J.P. Losman may have finally had his breakout performance. He threw for a career high 340 yards on 26 of 38 passing. He had time to throw in this game which could have made a difference. He didn't seem rattled when he threw a pick that was returned for a score. He adapted late in the game and had good command of the two minute offense to lead the team to the winning score. Grade A: The game we've been waiting for.

Running Backs:

Anthony Thomas got his second straight start for the injured Willis McGahee. Yards on the ground were surprisingly hard as he gained just 56 on 19 carries for a paltry 2.9 yard average. He did make a difference as a receiver as he caught 7 passes for 33 yards including 4 for 21 yards on the final winning drive. Daimon Shelton had four catches for 12 yards but struggled in run blocking. Grade C: Not the focal point in this win.

Receivers:

Lee Evans is a superstar. 265 yards on 11 catches and two, 83 yard touchdown receptions just prove that he is a bonafide number one receiver. Peerless Price was being written off after catching just one pass until making a great catch for the winning score. That should add to his confidence level. Roscoe Parrish dropped a pass on third down and didn't catch any. Robert Royal had one catch and one drop. Brad Cieslak had a catch as the Bills used a lot of two tight end formations but sent them out in pass patterns to get this group the ball more. Kevin Everett was non existent in this game. Grade A: Evans carried this unit.

Offensive Line:

Terrence Pennington got his second start at right tackle as part of the OL shakeup and the Texans moved top pick Mario Williams to his side more than half the game to take advantage of a perceived mismatch. Pennington held his own as did the whole line. They gave up two sacks but Losman had more time to throw then he has ever had in his career. He had time to go to his second and third looks. The run blocking was poor as they continue to get stopped on third and short. Can't they get a yard on third down? Jason Peters had a false start penalty. Grade B: Nice job of giving Losman time to throw.

Defensive Line:

Aaron Schobel was quiet except for one series, where he pressured Carr twice including getting a sack. Chris Kelsay had one tackle for loss out of his four tackles and his hit on Carr forced an interception. Ryan Denney had two tackles. Larry Tripplett had his first sack as a Bill but he was rather quiet as was Kyle Williams and Tim Anderson. They gave up big holes leading to 188 yards rushing for Houston. Grade D: Little pressure gave Carr time to run the offense.

Linebackers:

London Fletcher and Angelo Crowell continue their torrid tackle pace. They both had a team high 10 tackles. Takeo Spikes was very quiet and had no solo tackles, just two assists. Grade B+: Fletcher and Crowell are the heart of the defense.

Secondary:

Terrence McGee lost some one on one battles with Eric Moulds early but shut him down late as he had just one catch after halftime. Nate Clements lived up to his playmaker moniker in this game. He had the Bills two takeaways, an interception and a fumble recovery that was forced by Ko Simpson. Clements also knocked down a pass late in the game forcing the Texans to punt when a completion would have wrapped the game up for Houston. He did a solid job on deep passes in one on one coverage with Andre Johnson most of the game. Donte Whitner was active with 7 tackles. Grade B: D early, and an A late.

Special Teams:

This unit could never flip the field as the Bills started deep in their own territory many times. Terrence McGee needs to stop running the ball out of the end zone. He's a great returner but twice he was stopped inside the 20 when taking it out and both times holding penalties were called including one by Sam Aiken. That added to the field position woes. Brian Moorman had a 62 yard punt and averaged 46.9 yards on seven punts, two were downed inside the 20 and he had his second touchback of the season. Rian Lindell hit his lone attempt from 40 yards out. Roscoe Parrish only had 12 yards on two returns and had a bobble that could have been a fatal blow late in the game. Grade C: Lost the field position battle.

Coaching:

Dick Jauron opened up the offense as he continues to use a gameplan week in and week out that takes advantage of the opponents shortcomings. He showed confidence in Losman letting him throw 38 times. I admit I wasn't happy when he decided to punt with 2:25 remaining but it worked out perfectly for the Bills. Perry Fewell made some nice second half adjustments as the Bills held the Texans to just 108 yards offensively in the second half after they gained 289 yards in the first half. Grade A: Good gameplan, and stuck with it.



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