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Week 9: Bills Play Tough But Not Good Enough
Not talented enough to battle AFC powerhouse.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:


Ryan Fitzpatrick was accurate most of the day but wouldn't pull the trigger on the downfield passes. He completed 25 of 38 passes for 239 yards. He did fumble the ball away in the fourth quarter.
Grade B: Did decent against a very tough defense.

Running Backs:

Fred Jackson had a 13 yard run in the 2nd quarter but finished with just 21 yards rushing on 6 carries and 14 yards on five catches.
C.J. Spiller had a 28 yard gain on a screen pass and a 22 yard run as he also had six carries and five catches but gained 102 total yards.
Grade B: Outstanding weapons should have had more chances.


Stevie Johnson battled hard through a painful thigh injury. Made some tough catches but didn't come up with a 3rd and 2 pass in the third quarter that forced the Bills to settle for a field goal. He finished with just three catches for 29 yards.
Donald Jones had perhaps his best game of the year with six catches for 65 yards as he was targeted nine times.
T.J. Graham got away with a holding call on Spiller's big screen pass gainer in the 2nd quarter. He caught two passes for four yards and just isn't in the gameplan.
Scott Chandler had three catches for 51 yards but had a big drop on a third down pass.
Dorin Dickerson caught a 13 yard screen pass in the middle of the field.
Grade B: Were more involved than they had been in recent weeks.

Offensive Line:

Andy Levitre got called for a false start penalty in the red zone late in the first half.
Cordy Glenn returned to action after missing three games and played ok.
Kraig Urbik returned to action after missing three games as well and seemed to hold his own.
Chris Hairston moved over to the right side to start for Erik Pears and faced a very tough battle against Watt but hung in there.
Grade C: Gave up three sacks and didn't open up huge holes for the running game.

Defensive Line:

Mario Williams led the way with seven tackles including two for a loss and had a sack but didn't seem to make the big plays.
Marcell Dareus had three tackles and blew up the middle twice.
Kyle Williams blew up a running play for a four yard loss and had three other tackles.
Kyle Moore got a third down sack to force a punt.
Shawne Merriman was called for an offsides penalty.
Grade B: Got some nice pressure from the line.


Nick Barnett had four tackles including one for a loss.
Kelvin Sheppard had a stop for no gain on the Texans first series. Finished with six tackles and a quarterback hit.
Nigel Bradham got pressure forcing an incompletion of a screen pass. Was beaten by Owen Daniels for a 7 yard completion. Had six tackles, one for a loss.
Bryan Scott wasn't much part of the gameplan finishing with one assist.
Grade C: This unit is average on their best day.


Stephon Gilmore moved over to play against Andre Johnson after the injury to Aaron Williams. Was beaten by Johnson for a third down conversion in the third quarter. Did breakup an end zone pass in the fourth quarter.
Aaron Williams was beaten for a 13 yard gain on 2nd and 12 in the first quarter. Was also beaten for a 34 yard bomb to Andre Johnson to setup the Texans second touchdown.
Leodis McKelvin took his turn with Johnson late in the game and gave up a reception.
Justin Rogers knocked down a third down pass forcing a field goal attempt that was blocked.
Jairus Byrd had a nice tackle for no gain on an outside run by Foster in the first quarter. He finished with five tackles.
George Wilson drew a holding penalty on a first quarter blitz. He had five tackles.
Da'Norris Searcy saw a lot of playing time in place of Wilson and was active. He finished with three tackles.
Grade D: Gave up big plays in the passing game.

Special Teams:

Shawn Powell had his first punt downed at the 4 yard line. He finished with five punts for a 49.4 yard average and 42.6 yard net.
Rian Lindell had to handle the kickoffs as John Potter was inactive. He blooped kick the opening kickoff nicely but it was recovered by the Texans. He missed his first field goal of the season when he missed a 37 yarder in the 2nd quarter. He then hit from 22 and 38 yards out later in the period and added a 39 yarder in the third.
Leodis McKelvin was held in check for the most part. He had four punt returns for a 9.3 yard average. He returned two kickoffs for an 18.5 yard average.
Brad Smith had a 15 yard return.
Alex Carrington blocked his second field goal of the season.
Coverage Units allowed a 20.7 yard average on three kickoff returns and 17 yard average on two punt returns.
Grade A: Did their part in the game.


Chan Gailey had some questionable play calls on offense. They had two third quarter three and out series that consisted of all pass plays. He never once threw it in the end zone when down by the goal line three times in the first half. Only gave the ball to Spiller six times in the running game. He needs to get the ball more.
Dave Wannstedt used blitzes more than he has at other times this season and they did get more pressure early.
Bruce DeHaven tried a bloop kickoff that was executed well but was recovered by Houston.
Grade D: Play calling was uninspiring for after a bye.

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