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Week 1: Offense Collapses In 2nd Half
No first downs after failed fourth down play does Bills in.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

J.P. Losman didn't make any big mistakes besides not getting rid of the ball on the game winning safety. He really didn't have much of a chance to get rid of it then. Throughout the game he threw the ball well and knew when to just get rid of it. He showed poise on a bad snaps to complete a pass to Josh Reed for a first down early in the game. He played a nearly perfect first half but seemed to succumb to the pressure in the 2nd half when things started going wrong. He finished with a respectable 15 of 23 for 164 yards. Grade B-: He was not the reason the Bills lost although he didn't do enough to win the game.

Running Backs:

Willis McGahee had Barry Sanders syndrome. He had some nice, long cutback runs but many other runs were stuffed for little or no gain or sometimes losses. His biggest stop was on the fourth and one play. He played banged up and ran the ball 20 times for 70 yards and caught two balls for 24 more. Anthony Thomas replaced McGee on one series when he was banged up and promptly caught two balls including a 14 yarder. He also had the 18 yard touchdown run and finished with 29 yards on three carries. Daimon Shelton had some good blocks. Grade B: Needed to see more of the A-Train as he had something special for the one series.

Receivers:

Losman sprayed the ball around. Lee Evans didn't catch a first half pass and finished with 25 yards on two receptions including a big 18 yarder where he went up for the ball. Peerless Price caught three balls for 25 yards. Roscoe Parrish had 20 yards on 2 catches and made a nice play on his 15 yarder to convert a third down. Josh Reed led the way with 40 yards on three catches and they were all tough grabs. Robert Royal caught only one pass and missed catching another high one. He was also called for a costly block in the back penalty in the fourth quarter. Kevin Everett had a costly holding penalty on the Bills first drive. Grade C: Didn't make the big play when needed.

Offensive Line:

The line blocked well at times against the run and the pass but were inconsistent as they couldn't do anything right in the second half. Mike Gandy gave up one of the three sacks, one of them resulted in a safety. There were some good holes for the running game up the middle as Melvin Fowler seemed to open up holes. Grade C: A for the first half, F for the second half.

Defensive Line:

Aaron Schobel did a nice job keeping the way clear for Fletcher to pickup the opening fumble. He also knocked down two passes and had good pressure throughout the game. Chris Kelsay was active and has a sack that forced a fumble and added four tackles. Ryan Denney made one really nice move and put pressure on Brady while getting in on seven tackles . Larry Tripplett was active and disruptive but only had an assist and a pass knockdown. John McCargo had only an assist as well. Tim Anderson got the start but Kyle Williams played a lot. Anderson had three tackles while Williams had six. Grade C: Put some pressure on Brady but allowed big gaps for a running game that averaged 4.5 yards a carry.

Linebackers:

London Fletcher was johnny on the spot on the Bills first touchdown with the fumble recovery for a score. He was in on 10 tackles and was the quarterback of a defense that had four rookies on the field at the same time. Takeo Spikes was sharp early with a sack, forced fumble, and a tackle. He left with a hamstring injury. Angelo Crowell was beaten for a touchdown on a third down pass to Kevin Faulk. He had one hard tackle for no gain on Corey Dillon and finished with seven tackles. Mario Haggan was beaten on the first Patriots touchdown along with Crowell. He was replaced by Keith Ellison who was in on nine tackles. Grade C: Fletcher came to play but nobody else in this unit did.

Secondary:

Terrence McGee was in the right spot to breakup a bomb in the first quarter and was excellent in run support as he finished with 10 tackles. Nate Clements was very quiet as they didn't throw his way. Troy Vincent left early with an injury opening up playing time for Ko Simpson who was in on seven tackles. Coy Wire got the start instead of Donte Whitner but struggled mightily. The rookie came in in the 2nd quarter and played most of the rest of the game and had an interception that could have went for a score if it wasn't for an odd whistle and a penalty on Clements for an illegal block in the back. Grade A-: Shutdown the passing game most of the game.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman shanked a couple of punts and finished with an average 40.2 yards thanks to a 54 yard boot. Terrence McGee averaged 27.5 yards on four returns thanks to a 44 yarder in the fourth quarter. Rian Lindell picked up where he left off last year with a 53 yard field goal. Roscoe Parrish had one punt return and fumbled it, he was lucky Sam Aiken came up with it. Grade C: Average but we have come to expect more from this unit.

Coaching:

Dick Jauron had his team ready to play and made the one gutsy move that came back to haunt him. With the Bills up by 10 and moving the football to open the third quarter the fourth and one gamble did not pay off. It was the right call as the Bills went for the jugular but it was also the turning point in the game for the Pats. The way they were running the ball you thought they could get a yard but the play took too long to develop. He said he would do the same thing again. Should have challenged the spot on McGahee's stop but was told not to by the people upstairs. Perry Fewell didn't do the right adjustments when New England started moving the ball. Steve Fairchild didn't do enough adjustments when the offense became bogged down in the second half. Grade B: Showed the players have bought into the system.



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