Week 2: Big Plays Made When It Counted
Despite inconsistencies on all units they did enough to win.
by Steve Saslow
Here are our position by position grades:
Trent Edwards got off to a great start going 6 for 6 for 53 yards on the opening possession that led to a touchdown and managed the team very well as he showed poise and accuracy. Gave away a fumble when he was hit from behind but atoned for it with a beautiful winning touchdown drive. The 37 yard bomb to Lee Evans followed by the touchdown pass to James Hardy were big time plays from the young player. Grade A: He may be the real deal.
The Bills used Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson on the field together in awful lot with some success. Lynch had three carries for 25 yards on the opening drive and finished it with an 11 yard touchdown run. Fred Jackson was used extensively in the passing game and had two big runs after catches to finish with 100 all purpose yards. Darian Barnes didn't see the field that much with the other two backs playing so much. Grade B+: Were very important on both touchdown drives.
Lee Evans had two big catches on the opening drive to set the early tone. He also set the late tone with a nice grab to setup the winning touchdown to James Hardy. His first NFL touchdown was a great catch in the back of the end zone where he managed to keep both feet inbounds despite getting pushed. Roscoe Parrish had one catch for 12 yards. Josh Reed had four catches for 36 yards including a couple of big third down grabs. Robert Royal didn't catch a pass but Derek Schouman had a big catch on the final series of the game offensively. Grade B-: It was more the backs than the receivers making the grabs.
The offensive line was superb on the opening drive giving Edwards time to throw and opening up a huge hole on Lynch's touchdown. They also gave Edwards plenty of time to throw late in the game especially the big play to Evans. Brad Butler got called for holding. The unit gave up three sacks. Jason Peters was limited because of the heat and the fact that he wasn't in football shape. He also got beat by a rookie tackle on the play that forced Edwards to fumble. Langston Walker did a fantastic job going back and forth between left and right tackle depending on when Peters was in or out of the lineup. Kirk Chambers saw some time at right tackle. They rotated Duke Preston into the game a lot as well to try to keep the big linemen as fresh as possible in the extreme heat. Grade C+: Did give up three sacks and little room to run but had great protection when it counted in rough conditions.
There was a lot of rotation on the defensive line as well as all eight active linemen played a lot. Aaron Schobel was quiet with two tackles but did get into the backfield to disrupt a couple of plays. Chris Kelsay had two tackles one was behind the line of scrimmage. Marcus Stroud was fairly quiet against his former team as they were able to play him pretty well despite being decimated by injuries in the middle of the offensive line. He did tip the pass that was picked off by Terrence McGee and knocked down a third down pass attempt. He also had a big pressure forcing an incompletion. Kyle Williams had a huge sack after the Bills took the fourth quarter lead. He also had five tackles and was very active. Ryan Denney and Spencer Johnson were quiet. John McCargo was active and disrupted one play. Grade C: Got minimal pressure against a banged up offensive line and gave up some big gains in the middle that looked like last year.
Paul Posluszny was called for a facemask penalty on the opening drive of the 2nd half. He was more active than last week and had six tackles and one pressure. Kawika Mitchell had five tackles. Keith Ellison had only one tackle and was quiet. Grade B+: Played well and made plays all over the field.
Terrence McGee had a big interception just before the end of the half to keep the Jaguars off the board going into the locker room. He led the team with seven tackles. Jabari Greer had a big third down pass breakup forcing the Jaguars to settle for a field goal early in the 2nd quarter. Ashton Youboty had a sack as he came untouched on a blitz but he needed help to bring Garrard down. He then needed no help to bring him down on a third down scramble to force Jacksonville to settle for a field goal. He also had a second third down stop on an open field tackle of a swing pass to Reggie Williams in the fourth quarter. Donte Whitner was uncharacteristically quiet. Ko Simpson had three tackles. Grade A-: Did their job to hold down the passing game.
Got called for a tough illegal block penalty on Donte Whitner on the first punt return that negated a good return from Roscoe Parrish. He would averaged 12.7 yards on three returns including a big 27 yard return to setup the insurance field goal by Rian Lindell. He was Mr. Automatic once again hitting 21 and a very clutch 45 yarder late in the game. Jon Corto was called for a late hit on one punt. Blake Costanzo got called for offsides on the 2nd half kickoff. Brian Moorman averaged 47.7 yards on only three punts with a 40 yard net. Terrence McGee and Leodis McKelvin split the kick return duties. McGee returned two for 35 yards and McKelvin returned two for 43 yards. They did give up an average of 28.3 yards on three kickoff returns by Witherspoon. Grade C+: Not the best game for this unit but did make two big plays late.
Got to hand it to the strength and conditioning staff of the Bills. They stressed hydration all week and it didn't appear like anyone left because of cramping or anything in awful heat. Turk Schonert using Jackson and Lynch together in the backfield worked very well. Bobby April's bunch wasn't ready for the onside kick in the 2nd half. Grade A: Coaches deserve credit for the 2-0 start and the great chemistry on this team.
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