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Bills Daily Gameday Section

2012 Was A Year Of Unfulfilled Expectations

The 2012 season was the 13th straight year that the Bills missed the playoffs and 8th straight season with a losing record. They had such high hopes of breaking the playoff drought thanks to the signing of Mario Williams. He was a disappointment and the team finished with the exact same 6-10 record as they did in 2011. Now for the 13th year in a row we do our position by position final exam grades as well as individual player grades for key players at each position. We also will take a look ahead at what might happen with next season's roster. This is complicated by the fact that there is a brand new coaching staff at One Bills Drive:

Quarterbacks: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyler Thigpen, Brad Smith, Tavaris Jackson

Fitzpatrick showed that he is just not a franchise quarterback. He played about to the level of his contract and that is a mediocre quarterback. He struggled for most of the season with his accuracy despite completing just over 60% of his passes. He matched last year's total with 24 touchdown passes and threw less interceptions with 16 but that is still too many.
Final Overall Grade D: We may see three new players at this position.
Fitzpatrick D: Fitz may not fit into Doug Marrone's plans.
Thigpen F: Barely played which is good. He was a Gailey guy and will definitely be gone.
Smith Incomplete: Only threw one pass out of the wildcat and saw more time at wide receiver. Not likely an option in Nathaniel Hackett's offense.
Jackson Incomplete: It will be up to Marrone and Hackett to see if they want to try and re-sign him after a lost season.

Running Backs: C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Tashard Choice, Corey McIntyre

This position saw Jackson break down for the second year in a row with injuries and the emergence of Spiller as the biggest star on the team. If Chan Gailey wasn't so stubborn he would have used him more and maybe saved his job. Spiller finished with over 1,700 yards from scrimmage in limited touches finishing with 6 yards per carry on the ground and 1,244 yards rushing. Jackson had a career low 3.8 yards per carry.
Final Overall Grade B+: For the second year in a row this is the best position on the team.
Spiller A+: Marrone will learn from Gailey's mistakes and make him the feature back next year.
Jackson C: Could flourish as a role player in Marrone's innovative offense.
Choice C+: Unrestricted free agent who won't be back with Gailey gone.
McIntyre B: Every team needs a fullback and he is a very good one. Free agent who will likely be re-signed.

Receivers: Stevie Johnson, Donald Jones, T.J. Graham, Brad Smith, Scott Chandler, Lee Smith, Dorin Dickerson

Johnson became the first receiver in team history to have three straight 1,000 yard seasons and Chandler matched last year's total of six touchdown passes. Not much happened after that. David Nelson's ACL injury on opening day really hurt this unit. Jones was starting to finally come around before suffering a season ending injury. Graham struggled in his rookie year.
Final Overall Grade D: Two years in a row of a lack of talent from this unit.
Johnson A: Will be the number one receiver once again.
Jones B: Showed flashes last year. Will it be enough for Marrone to keep him as a restricted free agent?
Graham D: Marrone may be able to develop his talent. If he can't, Graham will be a bust.
Smith C: Gadget player that will be expendable unless Marrone has a thing for the wildcat like Gailey did.
Chandler B: His ACL injury may cost him the start of next season.
Smith B: Solid blocking tight end that should be brought back to compete.
Dickerson C-: Tweener player that will likely be tendered to see if he can fit in to Marrone and Hackett's plans.

Offensive Line: Cordy Glenn, Erik Pears, Eric Wood, Adam Levitre, Kraig Urbik, Chris Hairston, Chad Rinehart

This unit continues to suffer injury after injury but they constantly bounced back. They allowed only 30 sacks but that is seven more than their league leading total of 2011. They paved the way for a 5 yard average per carry thanks to the dynamic running of Spiller.
Final Overall Grade B: Solid unit but slipped a bit from a year earlier.
Glenn B: Was having a fantastic rookie season until an injury cost him a few games. He wasn't the same when he came back. Should continue to develop as the starting left tackle.
Pears F: He was awful before his injury shut him down. Will likely look for a replacement at right tackle.
Wood B+: Stabilizing force on the line will remain the starting center in his contract year.
Levitre A: A must to re-sign him. He wants to stay and they need him since he's the best player on the line.
Urbik B+: Solid starter at right guard should remain there after re-signing with the team.
Hairston C: Decent backup but need him to start less in 2013.
Rinehart C: Solid backup in the middle of the line. Should look to re-sign him.

Defensive Line: Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Chris Kelsay, Mark Anderson, Kyle Moore, Alex Carrington, Spencer Johnson, Shawne Merriman

This unit was envisioned to be a force when Mario Williams signed his $100 Million contract. At times it was dominant but they were very inconsistent and the line disappeared at key points of the season. Mario led the way with 10½ sacks but they came in bunches. The line did have 32 of the team's 36 sacks. It will be interesting to see if Mike Pettine trys to bring a 3-4 back to Buffalo.
Final Overall Grade C+: They were good but should have been, and needed to be, much better.
Mario Williams C-: They need to light a fire under him for next year. He will not be happy if they bring back the 3-4.
Kyle Williams C: Another foot injury hampered him. Needs to be finally healthy to bounce back in 2013.
Dareus C: Needs to finally develop into a dominant player. He is not playing up to the level of a third overall pick.
Kelsay C: New coaching staff and new era should spell the end of Kelsay in Buffalo.
Anderson D: Should show more next year when he's healthy.
Moore B: Should re-sign and could develop into a full time starter.
Carrington A: Had a surprising season and should continue to get a lot of playing time next year.
Johnson B: Played really well as a role player. As a free agent he's worth more to Buffalo than other teams.
Merriman C: His days in Buffalo are over and his career is also in jeopardy.

Linebackers: Nick Barnett, Kelvin Sheppard, Nigel Bradham, Bryan Scott, Arthur Moats

This unit was incredibly void of talent. Barnett was the most experienced player but seemed to lose a step. Sheppard struggled as a first time starter in the middle and the team never really found a third linebacker. Bradham showed the most promise and may develop into a decent player.
Final Overall Grade D: A complete overhaul for this unit is needed.
Barnett D: Time for the team to go in a new direction and cut ties with the aging Barnett.
Sheppard D: Likely a bench player if they can upgrade the talent in the middle of the defense.
Bradham B: Shows promise will likely start again next year.
Scott B: Still a tweener who will likely not fit in with Pettine's plans.
Moats F: Lost starting job and will likely not be in the plans next year.

Secondary: Stephon Gilmore, Aaron Williams, Leodis McKelvin, Justin Rogers, Terrence McGee, Ron Brooks, Jairus Byrd, George Wilson, Da'Norris Searcy

The secondary struggled which was expected with young players at the cornerback positions. Gilmore became the lockdown corner who took on the opponent's top receiver the second half of the season. Williams struggled mightily while Wilson slowly handed off the reigns to Searcy as Byrd had an all-pro type season. The unit only had eight interceptions.
Final Overall Grade D: Need some veteran talent to help the youngsters.
Gilmore B: Looked the part of a top draft pick. Should get even better with more seasoning.
Williams F: The new coaching staff needs to decide quickly if he can be a starter in this league.
McKelvin C-: Will likely try to bring him back next year but more as a returner than a corner.
Rogers D: New staff will likely replace him.
McGee D: His illustrious Buffalo career will mercifully come to an end.
Brooks C: Had some talent and will likely get some more playing time next year.
Byrd A: Great safety who is another must re-sign or they should use the franchise tag on him.
Wilson D: His Buffalo career may be over. If he's back he will be a backup.
Searcy B Will likely be a full time starter next year.

Special Teams: Rian Lindell, Shawn Powell, Leodis McKelvin, Brad Smith, Garrison Sanborn

It was a tumultuous season for this unit. Longtime punter Brian Moorman got released early in the season and Shawn Powell took over with mixed results. Another rookie, kickoff specialist John Potter, was released after not consistently kicking touchbacks. Lindell had a fantastic season after not trying a field goal early in the season. He only missed one kick all year until missing two in the finale. McKelvin did a fantastic job returning kicks with an 18.7 yard average on punt returns and a 28.3 yard average returning kicks.
Final Overall Grade B-: Solid season but weaker than usual in coverage.
Lindell A: Solid kicker in rough conditions will be back next year.
Powell C: Did well enough to return but may be challenged in training camp.
McKelvin A+: Should re-sign for his returning ability only.
Smith B+: Will they use a roster spot on him to return kicks? Probably not.
Coverage Teams F: Gave up three returns for scores.
Sanborn A: Is one of the best snappers in the league. Will be back next year.

Coaching: Chan Gailey, Dave Wannstedt, Bruce DeHaven

It was a total failure for the coaching staff. Gailey seemed clueless with some very questionable play calling. Wannstedt just couldn't adjust when his new 4-3 defense was failing miserably. DeHaven couldn't get his coverage units to play disciplined and was constantly changing parts in key positions.
Final Overall Grade F: Very disappointing season resulted in everyone getting fired.
Gailey F: Three very disappointing seasons come to an end with a 16-32 record.
Wannstedt F: Came with high hopes that came crashing down to earth.
DeHaven D: The game may have passed him by. Couldn't recapture the old Buffalo magic.

Print Friendly Version
2012 Buffalo Bills
Record: (6-10) Division: (2-4)
vs AFC: (5-7) vs NFC: (1-3)
Home: (4-4) Road: (2-6)
Place: t-last

Team Rankings: Final
Total Offense: 19th
Passing: 25th
Rushing: 6th
Total Defense: 22nd
Passing: 10th
Rushing: 31st

Post Season Awards
Player Of The Year
C.J. Spiller - He was far and away the best player on the field this season but was also the most under utilized.

Offensive MVP
Stevie Johnson - Three straight 1,000 yard seasons is very impressive from a former 7th round draft pick.

Defensive MVP
Jairus Byrd - The biggest playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. Need to keep him from leaving in free agency.

Special Teams MVP
Leodis McKelvin - Explosive returner on both kickoffs and punts. He scored two touchdowns and nearly broke several more.

Rookie Of The Year
Stephon Gilmore - Became the lockdown number one corner they expected him to be when he was drafted in the first round.

Unsung Hero
Andy Levitre - Played every snap on offense the entire season and he was consistently the best linemen on the field.

The Bills are now...
81-124 since 2000.
5-14 against the AFC East with Fitzpatrick at QB.
8-1 the last two years when Fitzpatrick throws less than 30 passes.
11-3 when Fred Jackson runs for 100 yards.
44-51 in home games since 2001.
19-12 in OT.
8-17-1 when allowing a safety.
24-69 against team's with a winning record since 2000.
23-51 against the AFC East since 2001.
6-24 against the AFC East since 2008.
10-13 when they have a punt return TD.
5-4 in their history in games where there are no turnovers.
5-0 when each team has a 140+ yard rusher.
14-3 when Terrence McGee has an interception.
42-30 when the QB throws for over 300 yards.

Did you know...
The Returns Team set a club record for highest punt return average (17.1) and highest kick return average (26.6).
The 435 Points Allowed was one more point than last year and the 2nd most in team history.
The 5,809 Yards Allowed was the 3rd most in team history.
The 349 First Downs Allowed was the most in team history.
C.J. Spiller became the 7th player in NFL history to average 6 yards per carry with at least 200 attempts.
Stevie Johnson extended his club record with his third straight 1,000 yard season.
Leodis McKelvin set a club record with an 18.74 yard average per punt return.
Leodis McKelvin now wons the club record with a 16.3 yard career average per punt return.
Ryan Fitzpatrick matched his career high with 24 touchdown passes.
Ryan Fitzpatrick now has more than 10,000 passing yards as a Bill.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is now 3rd on the team's all time TD pass list with 80.
T.J. Graham set a club rookie record with a reception in 15 straight games.
Bryan Scott returned an interception for a touchdown. It was the first and only touchdown scored by the Bills defense this year.
C.J. Spiller had 100 yards from scrimmage in 11 games this year. The first Bill to do that since Thurman Thomas did it in 13 games in 1992.
C.J. Spiller became the first Bill since Travis Henry in 2002 to have over 1,700 yards from scrimmage.
Stevie Johnson tied Andre Reed's club record with his third straight 70 catch season.
Alex Carrington now has a club record five blocked kicks on the season.
The 2012 Bills are the first team in club history to give up 50 points or more in two games in one season.
Scott Chandler has caught a club TE record tying six TD passes for the second straight year.
Ryan Fitzpatrick and Stevie Johnson have hooked up for 23 touchdowns that is 4th all time.
Fred Jackson is now over 4,000 career rushing yards. 4th Bill to do that.
Chris Kelsay moved into 9th place tie on the all-time team sack list.
Fred Jackson moved into 2nd place on the all-time team list for receptions from a RB.
Stevie Johnson is now in 10th on the all time TD reception list with 23.
Rian Lindell is first in team history in FG percentage.

 2012 Results
Click on the final score for Bills Daily review/analysis of the game.
Sept. 9@ NY Jets L 48-28
Sept. 16Kansas City W 35-17
Sept. 23@ Cleveland W 24-14
Sept. 30New England L 52-28
Oct. 7@ San Francisco L 45-3
Oct. 14@ Arizona W 19-16
Oct. 21Tennessee L 35-34
Oct. 28Bye
Nov. 4@ Houston L 21-9
Nov. 11@ New England L 37-31
Nov. 15MiamiW 19-14
Nov. 25@ IndianapolisL 20-13
Dec. 2JacksonvilleW 34-18
Dec. 9St. LouisL 15-12
Dec. 16Seattle*L 50-17
Dec. 23@ Miami L 24-10
Dec. 30NY Jets W 28-9
*-In Toronto


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