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Week 2: Defense Shows Future Is Bright In Win
Young Defense shuts down Mularkey's offense for stunning victory.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

J.P. Losman didn't do too much but he didn't make the big mistake either. He finished with just 83 yards passing on 11 of 18 but had a QB rating of 90.7. He hit a couple of big third down receptions and had Lee Evans open for a touchdown when there was a pass interference penalty that stopped it from being a score. He also had a touchdown pass called back by a questionable penalty. Grade C-: Didn't do much but didn't have to.

Running Backs:

Willis McGahee ran with a purpose in this game gaining 91 yards on 25 carries. He didn't have the big run we've been waiting for but did keep moving the changes and was responsible in a large way for two field goal drives. Anthony Thomas had a solid first carry for eight yards but did nothing else the rest of the way. Daimon Shelton had a few good blocks. Grade B: Did a nice job for most of the game but disappeared at times.

Receivers:

Josh Reed scored the Bills touchdown on a 4 yard reception. He was called for a costly but questionable pass interference penalty that called back an apparent Roscoe Parrish touchdown on a pretty quick slant catch and run. Reed made up for it with two first down catches in the fourth quarter that took valuable time off the clock. Lee Evans had two catches including a nice 14 yarder and had his man beat for a long touchdown but was hauled down for a pass interference call that setup Reed's touchdown. Peerless Price was very quiet with 12 yards on two catches. Robert Royal had one short catch. Kevin Everett was non existent. Grade D: Didn't have much to do since Losman completed only 11 passes.

Offensive Line:

Chris Villarrial was beat for a sack that ended the Bills first possession and was banged up later in the game. Tutan Reyes and Mike Gandy did a solid job in run blocking as McGahee ran to the left a lot in this game. They did give up only two sacks and Losman had time to throw most of the game. Reyes was called for a holding penalty. Grade B-: Did a nice job of run blocking and pass protection in spots in this game.

Defensive Line:

Aaron Schobel was quiet in the game with no stats in the win. He wasn't needed that much as Chris Kelsay and Ryan Denney played very well. Denney was a force early, he forced a fumble and got three sacks in the first half. He also had a vicious hit on Chris Chambers on a reverse. His second sack came from the right end spot. His first sack forced the fumble thanks to pressure from Larry Tripplett who forced Culpepper back towards Denney. Kelsay had a sack and a QB pressure. None of the defensive tackles did anything spectacular as they did give up yardage up the middle. Grade B-: Ends did a nice job in pressure but the tackles gave up a lot of stuff in the middle.

Linebackers:

London Fletcher was quiet most of the game but did end up leading the team with 10 tackles. Takeo Spikes did not play and his strongside linebacking spot was taken by Angelo Crowell who had a beautiful sideline interception to go along with a sack and eight tackles. Keith Ellison played for Crowell and was in on three tackles. Grade B+: Nice job in run support and stopped McMichael from gaining too many yards.

Secondary:

Terrence McGee had a great pass breakup on a deep pass to Chris Chambers late in the game. McGee along with Nate Clements did a solid job against Chambers holding him to four catches for 55 yards. Ko Simpson had a sack and a fumble recovery that was overturned by replay. Donte Whitner had a beautiful pass breakup on Miami's two point conversion attempt that wrapped up the game. Grade A: Culpepper may have thrown for 250 yards but they were mostly meaningless yards.

Special Teams:

Coy Wire came up with the big special teams play, blocking a punt after coming close on two other punts. Andre' Davis recovered for the Bills but missed a chance to pick it up quickly and score. Brian Moorman had five punts downed inside the 20, four of them were downed inside the 10 including stops at the one, the ten, and the seven late in the fourth quarter. Terrence McGee had only one kickoff return, it went for 22 yards . Rian Lindell had a very short kickoff after his 33 yard field goal and two other real short ones with a holder as he was trying to get good hangtime on his kicks to slow down Miami special teams ace Wes Welker. He did manage a 39 yard return but only seven yards on one punt return and 25.3 yards on four kickoff returns. Lindell was 3 for 3 on field goals as he also hit a 45 and 43 yarder. John DiGiorgio had his first NFL tackle on the kick. Roscoe Parrish had a nifty 26 yard punt return that setup the Bills third quarter field goal drive. He averaged 14.4 yards on four punt returns. Bobby April had to waste a timeout because they only had 10 men on the field. Grade A+: The main reason for the victory.

Coaching:

Dick Jauron came out running on the field goal drive in the first quarter. With McGahee running so well it was almost Mularkey-esque to see him off the field on the third and 11 draw play on that series. That's the only criticism and it is a minor one at that. He had his team prepared and Perry Fewell dominated his matchup of wits with Mike Mularkey. The young players were ready to play and that says a lot of the teaching abilities of the coaching staff. Grade A+: Haven't seen a Bills team this well coached since the current GM was on the sidelines.



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