Week 10: Defense Helps Pull Out Game For Offense
When the defense began to wilt the offense finally stepped up.
by Steve Saslow
Here are our position by position grades:
J.P. Losman had an awful first half. He had his first pass knocked down and his second pass was low and forced a three and out on their opening possession. They would go three and out the next three possessions as well. When they finally got something going, he under threw Evans in the end zone and was picked off. He did play better down the stretch in leading the team back for a victory but finished 12 of 23 for 157 yards for a QB rating of 55.9. Trent Edwards was healthy enough to be the backup but didn't get in the game. Grade D: Didn't do enough to keep the QB controversy from growing bigger.
Marshawn Lynch ran hard but the yards were tough to get. He had a big run for the touchdown and an incredible twisting second effort on his two point conversion. He also had a nice 3rd and 2 conversion on the final drive before leaving with an ankle injury. He finished with 61 yards on 19 carries for a 3.2 yard avg. He was replaced by Anthony Thomas late after the injury and Thomas got no yards on two carries. Dwayne Wright had one carry for one yard. Grade D: 2.5 yards per carrry doesn't cut it on most days.
Lee Evans led the way with four catches for 65 yards. Roscoe Parrish was again a non factor in the passing game as he dropped one pass and didn't have a catch. Josh Reed failed to get his foot down inbounds forcing the Bills to their fourth straight three and out to open the game. He did finish with three catches for 40 yards. Robert Royal left the game with a concussion so his route on a deep seam pattern was run by Michael Gaines who dropped the well thrown pass. He did have a nice catch and run that setup Lynch's touchdown. Grade D: Didn't do a lot to help Losman.
Jason Peters had his one on one matchup with Jason Taylor and faired pretty well before Taylor left the game with an ankle injury. He did have one sack but that was a coverage sack after about six seconds of Losman holding on to the ball. Both of the sacks given up were coverage sacks as Losman had a lot of time to throw as they did a good job picking up blitzes. The run blocking was awful gaining only 2.5 yards per carry against the second worst run defense. Grade C: Once again A for pass protection and D for run blocking.
The Bills played a unique formation at times going with four defensive ends. In Miami's third quarter touchdown drive they allowed Cleo Lemon to break free on the outside twice, to convert a third down and to score the touchdown. Aaron Schobel had pressure on him on both those plays. Schobel also had a nice tackle coming across the field on the opening possession. That play led to holding Miami to a field goal on that drive. He had a costly offsides penalty on the 2nd Miami possession that led to a first down. He was all over the field most of the game. Chris Kelsay had the big sack for a safety. Jon McCargo was in on three tackles. Larry Tripplett didn't have any tackles. Kyle Williams was in on two tackles. Ryan Denney had a stop for no gain to slow down Miami's 2nd possession, he had five in all. Anthony Hargrove had one tackle. Grade D: Did a bad job against the run, too many holes on cutback runs led to 143 yards on the ground for Miami.
John DiGiorgio had seven tackles. Keith Ellison had three. Angelo Crowell had six. The backers were caught out of position on numerous occasions on the cutback runs early but did a much better job after the intermission. They also were caught out of position on a few slant patterns. Grade C-: Not their best day.
Terrence McGee had a big pass breakup on third and 1 on Miami's 2nd drive. He also defended two passes and had seven tackles. Donte Whitner had the big tackle for a two yard loss on 4th and 1 to end that 2nd drive. Jabari Greer defensed two passes including a crucial knockdown on 4th down in the final seconds to put the game away. George Wilson was in on six tackles as he continues to play more run support. Kiwaukee Thomas didn't do anything before getting hurt late in the game. Grade A: Best unit on the field today.
Brian Moorman had two of his six punts downed inside the 20 including having one downed at the one yard line that setup the Bills safety. Rian Lindell hit his only kick of the day but it was the game winning FG from 34 yards out. The Dolphins kicked away from Terrence McGee allowing him to return only one kick for 21 yards. Anthony Thomas returned two short kicks for 26 yards. Roscoe Parrish even returned a kickoff for 24 yards. He had four punt returns for 81 yards for a whopping 20.3 yard average. He had the big 40 yard return to setup the winning field goal. Justin Jenkins has done a nice job on the coverage teams. He had one tackle and he kept a punt out of the end zone that was downed by John Wendling at the one. Grade A-: Played a nice role in the win.
Interesting defensive scheme using four defensive ends at times, it wasn't one of Perry Fewell's best ideas. All the in game decisions worked well for them including going for it on 4th and 1. Offensive game plan was a bit too vanilla against a defense that was suppose to be weak. Squib kick after the Lindell field goal almost gave Miami good enough field position to score. Grade C: Lucky to get out with a win.
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