Week 10: Offensive Woes Cost Bills Upset Shot
The Defense and Special Teams make big plays but it wasn't enough.
by Steve Saslow
Here are our position by position grades:
J.P. Losman didn't make too many plays but that is hard when you only throw it 12 times in a game (one completion was taken away after the game). He did complete eight of them for 83 yards, hitting only two different receivers. He was sacked four times. Grade D: Didn't really have too many chances though.
The Bills went with a heavy dose of Anthony Thomas in this game as he filled in admirably for the injured Willis McGahee. Thomas ran the ball 28 times for 109 yards a healthy 3.9 yard average per run. Shaud Williams got his first handoff of the season for no gain on the Bills opening field goal possession. Daimon Shelton did his usual stellar job blocking. He did fumble a handoff but it appeared to be a cross up as Losman thought Thomas was in that spot of the split set. Grade B+: Thomas did everything he could to get the win.
A quiet day when only two receivers catch passes. Lee Evans caught five balls for 70 yards, including a 24 yard grab on third and 13 on the opening field goal drive. He caught another 24 yarder in the fourth quarter on the final field goal drive. Peerless Price caught four passes for 13 yards. That was bad but it was enough for the 2nd most on the team! Roscoe Parrish was non existent and his role was supposed to expand with Josh Reed out. Robert Royal didn't catch a pass, he had two thrown his way, which counts for half of Losman's incompletions. He was beat by Dwight Freeney for a sack in the 2nd half ending a potential winning scoring drive with a missed field goal. Ryan Neufeld saw more time this week as the Bills were committed to the running game until he got hurt late in the game. He was called for a holding penalty that slowed down the Bills opening field goal drive. Kevin Everett was called for a false start penalty in the fourth quarter. Grade D: Evans is the only receiver worth anything right now.
Terrence Pennington got his second start at right tackle as part of the OL shakeup. He got beat for a sack in his one on one battles with Robert Mathis. The second sack Mathis got wasn't his fault according to the coach. Jason Peters lost his battle with Freeney. Peters got away with a facemask on one play and was beat on another that forced Losman to step up and take a sack by Anthony McFarland who beat Mike Gandy on the play. Grade F: Pathetic is the norm from this unit. Four more sacks given up.
The line got some pressure on Manning but he is cool in the pocket and always gets rid of the ball, holding the Bills sackless. Aaron Schobel forced the Colts second fumble but was quiet with only two tackles. Chris Kelsay and Ryan Denney were also very quiet. The Colts had success with misdirection runs up the middle as Larry Tripplett, Kyle Williams, and Tim Anderson didn't do too much at all. Grade F: No sacks, little pressure and a 5.1 yard average by the Colts running game.
London Fletcher had his second straight 14 tackle game and even deflected a pass while covering Marvin Harrison. Takeo Spikes was quiet again but did manage nine tackles. Angelo Crowell was very active he knocked down two passes and forced the fumble that resulted in a Bills touchdown. He had 13 tackles, 12 of them solo ones. Grade A: Solid effort from this crew.
Terrence McGee had the huge fumble return for a touchdown. He made a nice pickup and used his speed to score. He was beaten by Reggie Wayne for the Colts first touchdown although he had very good coverage on the play. He had good coverage later on Wayne but the ball was on the money and resulted in a 19 yard sideline reception on a Colts touchdown drive. Kiwaukee Thomas was beaten for a 23 yard pass to TE Dallas Clark on the Colts first scoring drive. He did have a nice breakup later in that drive. Nate Clements had a solid day covering Marvin Harrison all day long. He knocked the ball out of Marvin Harrison's hands to prevent a third down conversion on the opening defensive series forcing a three and out. He constantly pushed him out of bounds making him ineligible on several plays. That seemed to cause some problems with Harrison and Manning on the sidelines. Harrison had two catches on the day for 21 yards. Ko Simpson had three tackles and Donte Whitner had four but no glaring mistakes by the rookie against the Colts potent offense. Grade B: Solid effort from this unit holding Manning to 236 yards and gaining two takeaways.
Special teams made some big plays in this game. Terrence McGee returned a kickoff 88 yards to setup a field goal. Brian Moorman faked a punt and ran 1 yard for a first down. He had another huge punting day. His first punt was for 52 yards from his end zone and he followed it up with a 61 yarder downed at the Colts 9. Moorman had three of four kicks stay inside the 20 yard line. He averaged 49.3 yards on the day. Andre' Davis made a nice open field tackle on the kick to stop Terrence Wilkins for no gain. Mike Schneck had a false start penalty on the first punt. Kevin Everett was called for a controversial 15 yard roughing the punter penalty. McGahee fumbled one kickoff return but Jim Leonhard recovered it. Rian Lindell was 3 for 4 on the day, hitting from 22, 30, and 43 yards out but missing a 41 yarder that would have given the Bills the lead late in the game. Roscoe Parrish had a 21 yard return that helped kick start a field goal drive. Grade A: Missed field goal and penalties aside, this unit did its part to pull off an upset.
Dick Jauron had a good game plan running the ball a lot to take time off the clock and keep Peyton Manning off the field. It was a good plan but it does seem like he has lost confidence in Losman as they only threw the ball 13 times in the game. One instance of lack of confidence was on the Bills opening possession as they got very conservative when they got to the 10 yard line with three straight runs with the end result being a field goal. They did a nice job faking a punt on a 4th and 1 play but then inexplicitly decided to punt eight yards closer, three plays later. The Bills wasted a valuable timeout in the fourth quarter after a sack of Losman. It was a close play and they should have challenged it instead of taking the timeout for no reason. A lost challenge would have been the timeout anyway. Bobby April had the special teams ready and the fake punt worked this time. Perry Fewell made adjustments and they shut down the Colts defense for a good portion of the 2nd half. Grade B: Solid game plan, good execution, no offense.
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