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Week 17: Defensive Adjustments Key Victory
Defense avoids club points record with solid second half.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Ryan Fitzpatrick badly overthrew Johnson on a 3rd and 9 pass on the first series. It should have been picked off. He was inaccurate in the first half but threw the ball better in the second half. He only completed 12 passes but averaged nearly 20 yards a catch.
Grade C: Could be mediocre end to average career in Buffalo.

Running Backs:

C.J. Spiller showed his incredible explosiveness on his 66 yard touchdown catch and run. He did fumble the ball away once and couldn't haul in two high passes. He struggled on the ground but was the workhorse
Tashard Choice had a nice 13 yard touchdown run and averaged six yards on five carries.
Grade C: Tough game for Spiller but he kept the clock running.

Receivers:

Stevie Johnson caught six passes for 111 yards including a nice 37 yard leaping ground to give him a 1,000 yard season.
T.J. Graham caught one five yard pass but did catch a pass in all 15 games he played in this year.
Brad Smith caught two passes for 26 yards and ran one in for a score out of the wildcat.
Ruvell Martin had an 11 yard reception to get a first down.
Dorin Dickerson was activated but did not play.
Grade B: Nice achievement from Johnson. Best offensive game for Smith on the season.

Offensive Line:

Eric Wood was called for a holding penalty to nullify a 10 yard run by Spiller and led to the stopping of the Bills opening drive.
Kraig Urbik had a great downfield block on Spiller's touchdown.
Grade C: No sacks given up but no room to run.

Defensive Line:

Mario Williams was very quiet. He did draw one holding penalty and was in on three tackles.
Marcell Dareus had a big tackle but let Lex Hilliard go forward after the hit to convert a third down. That was the only play that he was on the stat sheet.
Kyle Williams was again incredibly quiet with just five assists. He got stiff armed by Sanchez when going for a sack.
Shawne Merriman got the surprise start and made a nice shoestring tackle to stop Shawne Greene from a huge gainer on the Jets first possession. Got a big hit on Sanchez who completed the bomb anyway for a 40 yard gain. Was in on seven tackles and was very active.
Kyle Moore had four tackles.
Alex Carrington had a tackle for loss on 4th and 1 to get the Bills the ball back. It was his only tackle.
Spencer Johnson stripped Sanchez of the ball and the Bills recovered the fumble late in the third quarter.
Grade B-: Only one sack but shut down the running game after halftime.

Linebackers:

Nick Barnett was in on 11 tackles including an open field tackle to force a punt.
Kelvin Sheppard had eight tackles but was quiet overall.
Nigel Bradham had a hard hit tackle for a two yard loss on a wildcat run. He then missed a tackle in the backfield on a 3rd and 1 play that resulted in a first down. He recovered a Sanchez fumble late in the third quarter. Had 11 tackles.
Bryan Scott picked off a pass thrown right to him and returned it 20 yards for the Bills first touchdown. Almost had a second pick six but mistimed the play and it was caught for a first down.
Grade B: Very solid in the second half, just 14 of their 133 yards on the ground came after halftime.

Secondary:

Stephon Gilmore was called for a pass interference penalty on the first play of the second quarter.
Aaron Williams was beaten by Braylon Edwards for a 19 yard reception to convert a third down late in the first half. A few plays later he separated Gates from the ball to force an incompletion. He was beaten for a 40 yard pass to Kerley. He had good position but failed to knock the ball away. He also had good coverage on a third down completion to Edwards in the fourth quarter. He followed that up by knocking away a sideline bomb to Edwards.
Jairus Byrd had a quiet five tackles.
George Wilson had an interception that was overturned by replay because it bounced. He had six tackles.
Grade A-: Really shutdown the Jets anemic passing attack.

Special Teams:

Shawn Powell had five punts and none were returned. His average was 39.2 yards per punt with two going inside the 20.
Rian Lindell missed his second and third field goals of the season when he was wide left from 50 and 46 yards about three minutes apart.
Justin Rogers had a 27 yard kickoff return.
Brad Smith returned three kicks for 80 yards.
Coverage Units Mana Silva was called for a penalty for running out of bounds then coming back in and making the tackle. Held the Jets to a 16.6 yard average of five kickoff returns.
Grade B: Lindell's misses were the main blemishes.

Coaching:

Chan Gailey should have coached like he had nothing to lose but was timid like he was all year. On 4th and 3 from the Jets 32 they try a 50 yard field goal instead of going for it. If it was from 51 yards they probably would have punted. His team did show up for him and they really seemed to win the game for him.
Dave Wannstedt had his defense confused when Jets went four wide in the first quarter causing the Bills to have 12 men on the field. Adjusted nicely to shut the Jets down in the second half.
Bruce DeHaven sure has the art of the block down pat. Carrington and Dareus both blocked field goal attempts. One of them went through one didn't.
Grade B+: Nice to end the year with a win. It likely was all their last game with the Bills.



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