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Week 1: Special Teams Mistake Brings Down Bills
McKelvin's fumble costs Bills game.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Trent Edwards ran the offense effectively completing 15 of 25 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. He had a QB rating of a very impressive 114.1. The drive to the Bills final touchdown should have been enough to give him a win. Grade B+: Did enough to win the game.

Running Backs:

Fred Jackson had a solid game as the starter. He mixed in 57 yards rushing and 83 yards receiving. He did drop a third down pass on the Bills first possession but really took control on the Bills final touchdown drive. Xavier Omon had two carries for eight yards. Corey McIntyre did not play on offense. Grade A-: Jackson had an outstanding game.

Receivers:

Terrell Owens dropped the first pass thrown his way which would have converted a third down. He also had a pass interference penalty and didn't catch a pass until late in the third quarter. He caught two passes. Lee Evans had three catches and couldn't hold on to one after a big hit. Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish didn't do anything. Derek Schouman had three catches for 41 yards including a big catch to setup a field goal. Shawn Nelson caught two passes including his first NFL touchdown. He did get called for a false start penalty. Grade D: Wide receivers caught just five balls.

Offensive Line:

The line did a nice job protecting Edwards and opening up some holes in the running game. They averaged 4.7 yards a carry. Edwards was sacked four times but two of them were on the desperation final drive. Demetrius Bell was called for two illegal formation penalties that cost the Bills two first downs, a holding penalty when he was beat badly, and a false start penalty. Geoff Hangartner, Eric Wood, and Adam Levitre did a nice job against the middle of the Pats defense. Grade C+: Better than expected against the Pats.

Defensive Line:

Welcome back Aaron Schobel! He had an interception return for a touchdown. Almost had another pick and had the team's only sack. Chris Kelsay was getting nice pressure before he got hurt. Marcus Stroud got some decent penetration up the middle with two tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Kyle Williams had no solo tackles. Ryan Denney played a lot in the 2nd half and had three tackles. He was called for a defensive holding penalty. Grade B: They got a good pass rush at times but the Patriots made adjustments in the 2nd half.

Linebackers:

Paul Posluszny was very busy until he left with a broken arm as he had six tackles in less than a half. He combined with Keith Ellison for a big fourth down stop on the Pats first series. Ellison had 15 combined tackles in the game. Kawika Mitchell had six tackles. Grade C+: Didn't do well in stopping short and intermediate passes.

Secondary:

Terrence McGee was very busy as he was in on six tackles. Leodis McKelvin was beaten for a 20 yard gain by Randy Moss to convert a third and long. He also whiffed on an open field tackle that let Kevin Faulk convert a third down pass. He made a big third down stop in the running game just before halftime forcing the Patriots to settle for a field goal. Bryan Scott picked off a two point conversion pass but was very quiet otherwise. Donte Whitner was called for spearing late in the third quarter. He was in on 10 tackles. Reggie Corner had a couple of nice open field tackles. Grade D: Did allow almost 400 yards passing.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman struggled with a couple of short first half punts. He did drop one inside the 5 in the 2nd half. Had a 37.5 yard net. Rian Lindell hit a 40 yard field goal. Roscoe Parrish had one punt return for five yards. He ran lateral too long which invited an illegal block in the back penalty. Leodis McKelvin fumbled two kickoffs. The first one was returned for 16 more yards by Nic Harris. The 2nd one cost the Bills the game. The opening kickoff was returned 52 yards by Lawrence Maroney. Grade D: Not a nice night for Bobby April's unit.

Coaching:

Dick Jauron had his team ready to play despite the distractions of the last week and a half. Alex Van Pelt chose to keep things short and didn't challenge downfield but his gameplan seemed to work as the offense moved the ball effectively and good spurts in the game. Perry Fewell had the bend but don't break defense doing well until they broke at the end. Grade B: Did better than anyone expected but got to give Jauron a shot at the mental softness of this team.



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