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Week 16: Run Defense Embarrassing In Loss To Giants
Special teams miscues turned game in Giants favor.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Trent Edwards looked very sharp early throwing with the wind but looked lost after that especially going into the wind in the 2nd and fourth quarters. He slightly overthrew Parrish on the 42 yard reception that setup Buffalo's 2nd touchdown. It was a touchdown if it was thrown a bit shorter but a very nice pass under the pressure and conditions. He was awful the rest of the way after two touchdown passes in the first quarter. He balanced it out with three fourth quarter interceptions, two were returned for a touchdown although one of them wasn't his fault. He finished 161 yards on just 9 of 26 and a pathetic rating of 42.8. Grade D: Needs to learn how to play in the elements.

Running Backs:

Marshawn Lynch was used early in the passing game and made big catches on both first quarter touchdown drives. He had a 28 yard run and a three yard run after Ellison's interception to give the Bills the lead back temporarily in the third quarter. Lynch finished with 70 yards rushing putting him over the 1,000 yard mark. Fred Jackson got beaten on a blitz in the fourth quarter that forced a fumble by Edwards. Jackson did recover the fumble. He had 37 yards on six carries including a 19 yard run in garbage time. Dwayne Wright got a carry on the last play of the game for three yards. Grade C+: Did some nice things but were bottled up too often.

Receivers:

Lee Evans got wide open on his touchdown grab. He bobbled a pass that was picked off and returned for a touchdown. Roscoe Parrish got open deep showing he can make plays on the outside as well. He made a beautiful diving catch on a slightly overthrown bomb to setup Evans' score. Josh Reed made a nice 21 yard reception on the first play of the game to set an early tone. He dropped a pass in the fourth quarter. Robert Royal also dropped a pass as did Michael Gaines. He did get wide open for the first touchdown of the game. It made up for a holding penalty he had earlier in the drive. Grade D: Way too many drops.

Offensive Line:

Jason Peters was doing a great job in his one on one matchup with the only Giants pro bowler Osi Umenyiora. He then got hurt and left the game with a groin injury and did not return. That was a huge injury for the Bills as Umeniyora then had to go against Kirk Chambers who was promptly called for an illegal motion penalty. Umenyiora beat him for a sack and forced a fumble late in the first half when the Giants started teeing off on Edwards. He had help on Umeniyora a lot of the time from the backs, tight ends, and Brad Butler who did a nice job in run blocking. Langston Walker did a great job against Michael Strahan in mostly one on one coverage after Peters went out. He only had one pressure and no tackles. Edwards was sacked three times and pressured on many others. Averaged a healthy 4.2 yards per carry. Grade C+: For a change did a bit better in run blocking but did ok against the pass considering Peters was out.

Defensive Line:

Aaron Schobel flushed Brandon Jacobs out on one play that allowed Bryan Scott to make a tackle for minimal gain. It helped thwart a Giants drive in Buffalo territory. He got called for offsides but made up for it with a sack, forced fumble, and fumble recovery to keep the Giants off the scoreboard just before halftime. He had five tackles. Chris Kelsay got good pressure on Manning to force a third down incompletion on their opening series. He had five tackles. Anthony Hargrove had just one assist. Jon McCargo combined with Haggan to stop Droughns for a loss on the third quarter goal line stand. He stopped him again for a three yard loss on 4th down to finish the stand. On the next series, he stopped Jacobs for no gain. Larry Tripplett had a huge fumble recovery on the first play of the fourth quarter. Kyle Williams was called for an offsides penalty. Grade D: Too many holes for the mammoth running attack of the Giants.

Linebackers:

John DiGiorgio had a nice stop on third and 1 for a one yard loss in the fourth quarter to force a punt and led the way with 11 tackles but too many were way down the field. Keith Ellison had the nice interception on a tipped pass that setup a Bills touchdown in the third quarter. He had three tackles. Angelo Crowell had nine tackles. Mario Haggan came up big in goal line defense on the stand in the third quarter getting a big tackle. Grade F: Did not contain some of the big runs by the Giants.

Secondary:

Terrence McGee got beat on a third down completion to Amani Toomer that setup a touchdown but had a nice interception in the fourth quarter that could have turned the tide for the Bills. Jabari Greer had a pass deflection that was picked off. Bryan Scott played a lot to try to corral the run game of Brandon Jacobs. He made a nice open field tackle to hold him to two yards in the first quarter and finished with seven tackles. Donte Whitner had six tackles. Jim Leonhard got beat for a 39 yard pass play to Toomer. Grade B: Kept the Giants to 111 yards in the air but of course they didn't need to throw.

Special Teams:

Ryan Neill had a bad snap for the second week in a row and got Brian Moorman banged up in the process while turning the momentum to the Giants as they got back into it with their first touchdown. Josh Stamer was called for a false start penalty on the play before the botched snap, he jumped too late after a Giant went into the neutral zone. The special teams helped keep the momentum with the Giants after forcing them to punt on their next possession. Donte Whitner got called for roughing the punter giving the offense new life and they scored on the next play. Rian Lindell hit all three extra points but didn't attempt a field goal for the 2nd straight game. Terrence McGee returned one kickoff for 23 yards and Roscoe Parrish actually returned kicks in the 4th quarter getting 42 yards on two returns. His lone punt return went for 20 yards. Moorman averaged 38.1 yards on his seven punts with two going inside the 20 in tough conditions. Grade F: This unit is no longer special, in fact, they aren't even good.

Coaching:

Dick Jauron got a bit too conservative after the big goal line stand as they went three and out with a running play on third and long with the wind still at their backs. It was critical to try and score as much as you could with the wind and giving up a possession there was a bad move. Why not go back to using Lynch as a receiver when it worked in the first quarter? Perry Fewell didn't have his defense ready for the Giants running effectively on draw plays and out of the spread formation. Getting caught with 10 men on the field on the pivotal 4th and goal play forced the Bills to waste a valuable 2nd half timeout. Grade F: Didn't have the team ready despite the emotional boost from Everett.



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