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Week 3: Defensive Toughness Comes Through In Win
Solid fourth quarter allows fans to breathe easy.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Ryan Fitzpatrick had three touchdown passes and no interceptions. He completed 22 of 35 passes for 208 yards. The one blemish was his fumble when the wet ball slipped out of his hand.
Grade A: Don't look now but he has eight TD passes in three games.

Running Backs:

C.J. Spiller had a nice 32 yard screen pass for a score than was on his way to big yardage on a shovel pass when he hurt his shoulder. The play was brought back by a penalty. He had 58 yards the six times he touched the football. Probably would have had a huge game if he didn't get hurt.
Tashard Choice really had a nice game getting the heavy workload finishing with 91 yards on 20 carries. The drop off was felt in the receiving game as he seemed to be lost on one pass that hit him in the head and another broken play where he wasn't looking in the right spot.
Johnny White had 15 yards on two carries and did well in his limited role.
Corey McIntyre touched the football! He was thrown to twice and caught one pass for nine yards.
Grade A: Nice performance even after Spiller went out.

Receivers:

Stevie Johnson was used in the short passing game and couldn't break any tackles for big gains. Did make a nice play on his touchdown that wrapped the game up. He was called for a holding penalty that brought back a 25 yard shovel pass to Spiller. He was called for a 2nd holding penalty late in the half. He couldn't break a tackle that would have likely gone for a score in the third quarter. He then couldn't haul in a pass in the end zone. Had seven catches but just 61 yards.
Donald Jones made great 17 yard reception when he was drilled on the play and somehow held on. He had a 20 yard reception called back because he pushed off. Finished with five catches for 42 yards.
T.J. Graham caught his first NFL touchdown pass on the first drive of the game. He was wide open in the middle of the field. He then had a nice run on a bubble screen to convert a third and nine to setup Johnson's score.
Brad Smith got the start but didn't catch a pass.
Scott Chandler had two catches for 22 yards.
Grade B: Didn't make big plays but made enough of them.

Offensive Line:

Eric Wood did a solid job handling the middle of the field.
Cordy Glenn called for a false start penalty on the Bills first possession.
Chris Hairston saw some time in a backup role and on the goal line.
Erik Pears still being spelled a few times a game.
Grade A: Allowed their first sack of the year. It was a cheap one and that was it. Even without Spiller they averaged over four yards per carry.

Defensive Line:

Mario Williams got his first Bills sack late in the first half and had another half later on. He did much better as the game progressed and seemed to take over in the fourth quarter.
Marcell Dareus was a bit quiet but had a half a sack with Mario.
Kyle Williams tackled Richardson for a 2 yard loss from behind and then got a sack on consecutive plays on the Browns 2nd series. He was called for two offsides penalties in the game.
Mark Anderson had his first sack as a Bill.
Chris Kelsay forced a play when Richardson was held to no gain on a 3rd and 1 carry.
Spencer Johnson knocked down a pass.
Grade A: Did a great job in stuffing the running lanes and got pressure on Weeden getting four sacks.

Linebackers:

Nick Barnett had eight tackles to lead the team.
Kelvin Sheppard read a TE screen pass perfectly to stop it for a loss and had another nice open field tackle.
Arthur Moats made a nice tackle for loss on Trent Richardson's first run. Was deep in coverage but was lucky the pass was overthrown. He had six tackles
Bryan Scott picked off a pass in the final minute and returned it to the one yard line.
Grade A: Nice job by this unit as well as they were very active.

Secondary:

Stephon Gilmore was beaten by Massaquoi for a completion to setup the Browns first touchdown. He was beaten for the Browns second touchdown as well but it appeared to be more zone coverage.
Aaron Williams illegal contact penalty negated a third down interception by Byrd. He rebounded quickly by knocking away a bomb on the next play. He also closed quickly to break up a bomb in the third quarter.
Terrence McGee had a nice pass breakup in the third quarter.
Justin Rogers broke up a pass and he was inches from getting a pick six. He had four tackles.
Jairus Byrd had an interception called back by a penalty.
George Wilson had six tackles.
Leodis McKelvin had the game clinching interception.
Grade B: Allowed some plays in coverage but not enough to lose the game.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman kept trying to keep his punts away from Josh Cribbs. His six punts went for a 42 yard average but just a 34.8 yard net.
Rian Lindell finally attempted a field goal. He hit it from 37 yards out. He hit all three extra points.
John Potter did a better job after his first two kicks keeping the ball away from Cribbs. There were two touchbacks and three returns.
Leodis McKelvin did a nice job returning kicks and punts. His one kick return went for 34 yards. His two punt returns averaged 26.5 yards.
Coverage Units allowed Cribbs a average of 14.3 yards per punt return and 28.3 per kick return. He had three of each..
Grade B: Didn't give up a big play.

Coaching:

Chan Gailey Had a great game plan early and did a nice job getting the team to re-focus after a lull following the Spiller injury.
Dave Wannstedt had his defense ready and they made the big plays late in the game. Should have blitzed more early.
Bruce DeHaven also did a better job as the game progressed. Found ways to keep Cribbs from big returns after a few early ones. Punt coverage units are a concern after three games.
Grade A-: The team has one two in a row now.



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