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Week 5: Struggling Offense Can't Overcome Injuries
Defense forces three turnovers but not enough for victory.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:


Tyrod Taylor had issues holding on to the football too long on many of his six sacks. On the second one he had Jones open downfield. He stayed in the pocket where he isn't comfortable and could get nothing going in the second half and his last minute interception was just terrible.
Grade D: Needs some targets but didn't help create anything either.

Running Backs:

LeSean McCoy just looks to be a step behind and slow. He had 63 yards on 19 carries for just a 3.3 yard average. He did lead the way with six catches but just got 26 yards.
Mike Tolbert ran the ball just three times but had 16 yards.
Patrick DiMarco had one big block in the game.
Grade D: Time to be concerned with the ground game.


Zay Jones dropped another pass and caught one for nine yards. He is mentally messed up.
Andre Holmes had one target and it went incomplete.
Brandon Tate caught a 12 yard touchdown pass on a third down play from Taylor. Did a nice job dragging his back leg for his first receiving touchdown as a Bill. A third down pass went off his hands and forced the Bills to punt instead of kicking a field goal. Finished with 25 yards on two receptions.
Charles Clay got hurt when he took a low hit on a 24 yard reception in the first quarter. He did not return and finished with two catches for 31 yards.
Nick O'Leary had a nice 19 yard reception the play after Clay got hurt. He finished with a career high five catches for 54 yards.
Logan Thomas ran a wrong route after Clay came out and Taylor couldn't connect with him looking for a touchdown. Was called for a blatant holding penalty that negated a long run by Shady. Caught his first career pass for three yards.
Grade D: They are in big trouble with injuries to their worst unit.

Offensive Line:

Jordan Mills was johnny on the spot with his recovery of a Shady fumble.
Dion Dawkins got the start even though Cordy Glenn was back active but not 100%. He gave up a sack after Taylor held on to the ball too long on his second sack. Was called for a holding penalty that negated a Taylor scramble for a first down and took them out of field goal range. He then gave up his second sack of the game in the fourth quarter.
Vlad Ducasse was active for the first time this year and got the start for John Miller. He got blown up by Geno Atkins on a 3rd and 2 run by Shady and it lost two yards.
Grade F: No holes in the running game and gave up six sacks but many of them were the result of Taylor holding on to the ball too long.

Defensive Line:

Marcell Dareus got a sack in the second quarter. His first of the year.
Kyle Williams was called for a defensive holding penalty in the third quarter.
Jerry Hughes got called for one of his stupid roughing the passer penalties that kept a Bengals drive alive when they would have to punt. He whiffed on a sack of Dalton. He had four tackles
Shaq Lawson was in on two tackles but was very quiet.
Cedric Thornton was in on three tackles.
Adolphus Washington got the start in the middle instead of Dareus. Got called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Poyer's fumble return.
Grade C-: Didn't get enough of a push against what was perceived a weaker offensive line.


Preston Brown was beaten by Tyler Kroft for a third down conversion in the fourth quarter. He had eight tackles.
Lorenzo Alexander was beaten by Kroft for a 9 yard gain despite having decent coverage in the 2nd quarter. He forced a fumble by Green and had six tackles
Matt Milano was quiet in his first start with three tackles.
Grade C: Didn't do enough for the win.


Tre'Davious White was burned badly by A.J. Green for a 77 yard touchdown reception on the first play of the Bengals second series. Knocked away a pass in the third quarter. He was beaten by Green again for a 49 yard reception on the last play of the third quarter that setup the Bengals go ahead touchdown. He had three passes defensed.
Shareece Wright was picked on right away giving up a 15 yard completion to Green on the first play of the game. He gave up another 15 yard play to Green on a third down pass in the 2nd quarter. He didn't even turn to look for the ball. Dixon broke a tackle behind the line of scrimmage by Wright and ran for 10 yards. Made a nice open field tackle on a screen pass in the third quarter to keep the Bengals from getting a first down. He then knocked down a pass in the third quarter. He had two passes defensed and 11 tackles.
Leonard Johnson had nice coverage on Green on a third down pass to breakup the pass with his back. He then left the game with a hamstring injury.
Micah Hyde sniffed out a reverse and made the tackle for a six yard loss. He then picked off a pass on a tipped ball from Green. He was in on six tackles.
Jordan Poyer also got an interception on a pass tipped by Green. Had a nice open field tackle for a short gain in the third quarter. Recovered a fumble by Green that Alexander forced.
Greg Mabin got a lot of playing time with Johnson going out. He was called for a pass interference penalty that kept a Bengals second half scoring drive going.
Grade C+: Did ok despite being banged up so badly.

Special Teams:

Colton Schmidt punted two balls into the end zone when the line of scrimmage was on the Bengals side of the field. Only had a 38.7 yard net on seven punts and a 45 yard gross. Three punts did go inside the 20.
Steve Hauschka was automatic again hitting all three field goal attempts but they were all on the shorter side for a change hitting from 31, 38, and 28 yards out.
Brandon Tate had a big 40 yard punt return and a 17 yard kickoff return.
Coverage Units did a nice job only allowing four yards on four punt returns and a 25.7 yard average on three kickoff returns.
Grade B+: Not the reason for the loss.


Sean McDermott did everything he could to keep them from having a letdown. It didn't work. They lost.
Rick Dennison had a terrible gameplan on offense. They moved away from the pull blocking scheme that worked last week in the running game. They kept Taylor in the pocket which is where he's the most uncomfortable and it showed.
Leslie Frazier had his defense ready for the most part as the forced three turnovers.
Grade C-: Tough loss before the bye.

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