Grading the Bills: Week 4

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The Buffalo Bills lost their second game of the year on Sunday, 24-10 at the hands of the New York Giants.

Here are the grades for each facet of the game.

Passing Offense – It took 4 games, but Tyrod Taylor finally came down to earth. Taylor finished 28/42 with 274 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Taylor was off target on several short throws (not the strongest part of his game), and didn’t get into a rhythm until the 3rd quarter. Pass protection was relatively good, but holding calls kept… well, holding the Bills back. A hold by G Kraig Urbik negated a touchdown, while a chop block negated another one. While Charles Clay, Robert Woods and Percy Harvin did well, this unit clearly missed Sammy Watkins. GRADE: C+

Running Offense – With LeSean McCoy out for some time, it was not the kind of “next man up” performance the Bills would’ve hoped for from Karlos Williams. Williams wound up with 18 carries for 40 yards, but it was hard to blame him for the poor yardage. The blocking on the right side of the line, G Kraig Urbik and T Seantrel Henderson, left a lot to be desired. More times than not, Williams was met behind the line before he could hit a running hole. GRADE: D

Passing Defense – The Bills had issues with a quick passing attack once again. Eli Manning was getting the ball out FASTER than Tom Brady 2 weeks back. Unlike the Patriots game, Buffalo adjusted and pressed the Giants’ wide receivers. It paid off, because after halftime, New York didn’t score until late into the 4th quarter. There were bright spots in this game, as Stephon Gilmore rebounded from a tough start and Ronald Darby played very well. The duo halted Giants superstar Odell Beckham Jr. to just 5 catches and 38 yards and his longest catch was only 9 yards. However, the Bills pass defense missed injured SS Aaron Williams. Reserve SS Bacarri Rambo also left with injury, but also played a negative role in all 3 Giants passing touchdowns. GRADE: C

Running Defense – The Giants running backs had 92 yards combined yards rushing, but the Bills looked rather weak in run defense. Each New York back (Shane Vereen, Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams) had explosive plays, created by the over-aggressive pursuit of the Bills linebackers, Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown. New York was halted from time to time, but not a great performance by the defense. GRADE: C

Special Teams – In a game where Buffalo’s offense and defense were off to a slow start, special teams didn’t recover from it. Buffalo’s punt team let up several returns to favor the Giants in field position early. Kicker Dan Carpenter missed a 30 yarder, normally a gimme kick. Then, after a Jordan Gay kicked a short kickoff, the Bills missed 3 tackles and let Vereen get New York past the 20. Add in the woes of punt returner Marcus Thigpen, who called for fair catches from inside the 10 yard line on three separate occasions, which is a huge no-no. Their only saving grace is not allowing a return touchdown. GRADE: D-

Coaching: Where to begin?

    • Offensive coordinator Greg Roman called for many short passes despite a Giants secondary known for having coverage liability Brandon Meriweather as their safety. The Bills didn’t attack over the middle as often as they should have. Taylor struggled with short passes, and the offensive line was getting no push in the running game. However, Roman didn’t move from those play calls until later in the 3rd quarter.
    • The defense looked lost in the first half, not able to stop a quick-fire passing attack. The Buffalo pass rush has been non-existent for the second time this year as well. Luckily, head coach Rex Ryan did adjust this time, but the defense unraveled at the wrong time.
    • 17? 17?! 17?!?! The Bills were on the hook for an unbelievable 17 penalties for 135 yards. From holding calls to the usual demons of personal fouls, the Bills couldn’t get out of their own way. The Bills have accumulated a disgusting 13 personal foul/unsportsmanlike penalties in just 4 games. There are penalties that happen, like holding, false start and pass interference. But the Bills CAN NOT continue to average more than three 15-yard penalties per game and succeed in the NFL.

Penalties are still an awful issue, the Miami game looks like the anomaly. Offensive playcalling was not good in this contest, and the defense looks like it has somehow regressed under Ryan. The Bills coaches need to clean this up, and fast. GRADE: F

Written by Derek Kramer

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