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Week 17: Defense Disappoints On The Ground
Special teams gaffes also cost Bills a chance to win.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Thad Lewis heated up in the second half after a slow start. He finished 16 of 29 for 247 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
Grade B: May have earned another shot at the backup job next year.

Running Backs:

C.J. Spiller continued his tendency to run out of bounds too often but finished with 105 yards on the ground and 28 yards receiving.
Fred Jackson had 60 yards on the ground and a touchdown and added 53 yards receiving.
Grade A: The great duo ended things on a high note for the team's best unit.

Receivers:

Robert Woods only had one catch but it went for 27 yards.
T.J. Graham caught a 41 yard bomb down the field and did a good job getting open for a touchdown. He dropped a fourth down pass late in the game. Finished with 62 yards on three catches.
Marquise Goodwin had a nice 22 yard grab but it was his only catch.
Scott Chandler dropped a third down pass that would have kept the Bills second drive alive. Made three catches for 55 yards and all of the grabs were nice considering the playing conditions.
Grade D: Not a big enough factor.

Offensive Line:

Grade C: Gave up four sacks but did pave the way for a 4.8 yard average on the ground.

Defensive Line:

Mario Williams was extremely quiet with just one solo tackle.
Marcell Dareus missed the first half of the game for violating team rules. Went offsides on a field goal attempt giving the Patriots a first down and setting up a touchdown.
Kyle Williams had just three assists and was a non factor.
Jerry Hughes was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Alan Branch was also called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the same play as Hughes.
Stefan Charles was beaten a few times early on runs up the middle as he played for Dareus in the first half. He did get his first career sack late in the first half before getting shaken up. He returned quickly and forced a fumble.
Grade F: Worst game of the year for best defensive unit.

Linebackers:

Manny Lawson got an easy sack when Brady bobbled a snap and fell on the ball. He then picked off Brady late in the game.
Kiko Alonso had a very quiet six tackles and a whopping eight assists.
Nigel Bradham was in on nine tackles.
Grade D: Didn't do much to stop the run.

Secondary:

Jairus Byrd forced a fumble that was recovered by the Patriots for a first down on their opening possession. He ended that drive with a pressure on Brady to force an incompletion and hold the Pats to three to start the game. He then left with an ankle injury.
Stephon Gilmore was called for a holding penalty that allowed the Patriots to keep their first drive alive. He did break up a pass on the next play.
Leodis McKelvin was called for a pass interference penalty on an uncatchable pass in the first quarter. He was also beaten by Edelman for a third down conversion slant on the same drive.
Nickell Robey held Amendola to one catch.
Jim Leonhard was beaten on Blount's first touchdown run.
Grade B: Did a good job against the passing game.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman averaged 44.2 yards on four punts and had two downed inside the 20.
Dan Carpenter hit both field goals from 51 and 37 yards out.
Marcus Easley had a 28 yard kickoff return.
Coverage Units were awful allowing an 83 and 62 yard return by Blount.
Grade C: Special teams coach needs to be fired.

Coaching:

Doug Marrone did what he had to do when he benched Dareus for the first half but it definitely hurt the team on the field. He made a mistake not going for it on 4th and 3 from the Pats 41 in the first quarter. Made the right call going for it on 4th and 1 from their 44 in the 2nd quarter. Made the right play call to with the QB sneak but it was the wrong formation and that's why it failed. Should have spread the field and snuck it. The team didn't quit on him as they battled back in the second half.
Nathaniel Hackett used a short passing game and got Spiller more involved and the offense adjusted in the second half and scored 17 points.
Mike Pettine had the same problem so many before him have, watching his defense not stop the run.
Grade C: Average grade for an average finish to the season.



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