Week 16: Defensive Lapses Catch Up To Bills In Loss
Defensive struggles against the run cost Bills.
by Steve Saslow
Here are our position by position grades:
J.P. Losman had a good day playing in the elements once again but did throw two interceptions. One of them was a desperation throw, the other one was when he tried to force the ball into coverage. He finished with 266 yards on 19 of 33 passing and a touchdown pass to Lee Evans from 37 yards out. Grade C: Made some plays but needed one more in his arsenal.
Willis McGahee ran well but they didn't give it to him enough. He did throw up on the sidelines as he appeared to catch the flu bug but he returned to the game. He had 22 carries for 95 yards. Anthony Thomas saw limited action but had one carry for seven yards. Daimon Shelton was out with a head injury so the Bills used TE Brad Cieslak at fullback, he had some nice blocks but couldn't come up with a ball that was picked off. Grade B+: 4.9 yards a carry were great, needed more carries.
Lee Evans had five catches for 64 yards and a 37 yard touchdown. He even made a perfect pass on a gadget play to Robert Royal but he lost site of the back of the end zone and stepped out of the end zone costing the team a touchdown. Peerless Price had his most active day going against Pacman Jones. He caught a season high seven passes for 73 yards. Roscoe Parrish didn't catch a pass again. Josh Reed had two catches for 70 yards including the 52 yard hail mary just before halftime that gave the Bills three points thanks to a defensive penalty. He also lined up at halfback for a play and got the handoff and rumbled 15 yards for a first down. Grade A: Made some nice plays.
Terrence Pennington got called for a costly holding penalty as did Mike Gandy but he also did a nice counter move to spring McGahee for a first down on a fourth and one run. They gave up three sacks, two of them on one drive but did assert themselves in the running game. Grade B: The future may be bright with this unit.
Aaron Schobel had a costly facemask penalty that negated a sack possibility. He did end up with one sack. Chris Kelsay had three tackles including one big one for a good stop. Ryan Denney was very active and ended up with six tackles. Larry Tripplett was only heard from when he made a costly holding penalty. Kyle Williams was very active with six tackles. Grade D: Very little pressure and there were holes for the running game.
London Fletcher was in on seven tackles and knocked away a pass. Takeo Spikes was responsible for a big third down stop when he knocked a pass away from the fullback. He finished with five tackles. Keith Ellison was active and in on seven tackles. Grade C: Didn't stop the run when they should have.
Terrence McGee was beat for one touchdown. Nate Clements had a couple of hard stops and was in on five tackles. Ko Simpson and Donte Whitner were solid in run support. Whitner led the way with 14 tackles. Grade C: Didn't give up a lot of yards but didn't make the stops when they needed to.
Brian Moorman only had two punts and both went inside the 20 for a 40 yards average. Rian Lindell had another great day in a great season as he was 5 for 5 on field goal attempts. Terrence McGee averaged 29.3 yards on three returns including a beautiful 52 yard return. Roscoe Parrish had one punt return for no yards. The coverage units struggled stopping Pacman Jones as he averaged 25.4 yards on five kickoff returns but stopped him cold on his lone punt return. Grade A: Solid effort in a losing causing.
Dick Jauron made a mistake on the Bills opening drive by passing the ball on first and goal from the three. Three runs would have got them in the end zone. He rectified it later in the half by running McGahee for a touchdown. They did not stick to the run enough. The call to not go for two on Evans' score was the right call. It was too early to be going for two. The move to not kick a field goal on 4th down in the final minute was also right, he wasn't going to hit it. Grade C: Most of the decision were right but a loss is a loss.
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