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Week 12: Offense Struggles Again As Bills Lose To Colts
Red Zone woes and poor coaching leads to loss.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Ryan Fitzpatrick overthrew a wide open Spiller on a free play downfield in the first quarter. If he hits him it's a touchdown. He then slightly overthrew Jones who had three steps on his man down the sidelines. If he hits him it would have been an 88 yard touchdown. It didn't get much better for Fitz as he struggled all game long. He threw a one yard touchdown pass and then threw a terrible pick late in the fourth quarter. He got the ball back thanks to Johnson recovering a fumble on the return and promptly went three and out.
Grade F: 17 of 33 for 180 yards was not nearly enough.

Running Backs:

C.J. Spiller showed why he was named the starter but Chan Gailey didn't give him the ball enough. He had 107 yards on just 14 carries. He gave up a sack in blitz pickup after getting the initial chip but couldn't stay with his man.
Fred Jackson played sparingly and carried the ball just six times for 16 yards.
Grade A: Best unit on the team but someone needs to tell the head coach that.

Receivers:

Stevie Johnson had a career long 63 yard reception on his way to his first 100 yard game of the season. Showed great heart and perseverance by running down the defender on an interception and forcing a fumble and recovering it.
Donald Jones should have probably pulled in the slightly overthrown bomb by Fitzpatrick that would have went for a very long score. He did catch nice WR screen for a first down and had a great block on a 13 yard run by Spiller. Had four catches in all for 19 yards including a short catch to the one yard line that setup the Bills only offensive touchdown.
T.J. Graham had a career high 24 yard catch on a WR screen. His only other catch went for zero yards.
Scott Chandler was quiet again with two catches for 26 yards.
Lee Smith caught one pass, it was his first career touchdown.
Dorin Dickerson dropped a possible big gainer in the first quarter.
Grade B-: Johnson needs some help; he is the lone starting caliber player in this unit.

Offensive Line:

Chris Hairston gave up a sack in the second quarter that knocked the Bills out of field goal range.
Grade C-: Gave up a lot of pressure but only two sacks. Opened up some holes for the running game but Spiller did a lot on his own.

Defensive Line:

Mario Williams knocked down a pass than got a sack on consecutive plays to force a first quarter punt. He would add two more third down sacks and three tackles.
Marcell Dareus had three stops right at the line of scrimmage and a sack.
Kyle Williams got great pressure to force an incompletion on the opening possession. He lined up at fullback when Corey McIntyre got hurt and was the initial intended target for a pass to the end zone but wasn't open.
Kyle Moore was called for a false start and was very quiet throughout the game.
Chris Kelsay returned to action after missing a couple of games but couldn't make it through the game as his neck was bothering him.
Grade A: Four sacks, a lot of pressure and not too many gaping holes on running plays.

Linebackers:

Nick Barnett had five tackles and good coverage on a pass that fell incomplete.
Kelvin Sheppard had only two tackles in limited playing time as the Bills played nickel a lot.
Nigel Bradham was very active and had five tackles.
Bryan Scott tied for the lead with six tackles.
Grade B: Did a solid job in run defense allowing just three yards a carry.

Secondary:

Stephon Gilmore had a great downfield pass breakup against Wayne. He then had a good open field tackle keeping Avery short of the first down. Finished with six tackles but was called for a pass interference penalty that clinched the game for the Colts.
Leodis McKelvin had four tackles and was beaten on one downfield pass.
Justin Rogers was faked out by Wayne after a WR screen catch. He possibly could have had a pick six on the Colts first possession but didn't seem to be playing the ball. He then got a pick when a pass deflected off of Wayne's hands. It was his first career interception. He was called for a big pass interference penalty that setup a late Colts FG on the final play of the first half.
Ron Brooks was out there on defense and had good coverage on an incomplete pass down the field.
Jairus Byrd couldn't come up with another diving interception on a first quarter overthrow. It would have been a great play. He also had six tackles.
George Wilson had a quiet three tackles.
Da'Norris Searcy had four tackles.
Grade B: Did a solid job against everyone not named Wayne.

Special Teams:

Shawn Powell was busy with seven punts for a 44.9 yard average. Three of them were downed inside the 20 but one was returned for a score when he outkicked his coverage.
Rian Lindell hit both field goal attempts from 33 and 31 yards out. Gailey wouldn't let him try a 52 yarder.
Leodis McKelvin had two punt returns for 24 yards.
Brad Smith had one kickoff return for 32 yards.
Coverage Units gave up a 75 yard punt return for a score to T.Y. Hilton. It is their second touchdown given up in the past two weeks.
Ron Brooks was called for an illegal block in the back that negated a nice punt return by McKelvin.
Grade F: This unit helped contribute considerably to the loss.

Coaching:

Chan Gailey refused to let Lindell try a 52 yard field goal was way too conservative. Pathetic play calling down in the red zone not running at all after long pass play to Johnson. Poor play calling when trying to run out the first half clock. The :14 possession gave the Colts a chance to score a last second field goal. Punting on 4th and 8 late in the game from midfield was when they lost the game. Failure to give Spiller the ball more than 14 times when he was running well is just a broken record. He never learns from his mistakes.
Dave Wannstedt had his defense playing well for most of the game.
Bruce DeHaven his unit had a poor day. They got called for 12 men on the field penalty and gave up a punt return for a score.
Grade F: The coaches deserve all the criticism they will receive this week.



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