A brutal showing from the Buffalo Bills led to a 34-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The loss pushed the Buffalo Bills to 3-3 on the year. For more notes on that loss, click HERE.
The grades for how the Bills fared in each facet of the game:
- Passing Offense: Backup QB EJ Manuel had a typical performance for his career: not good enough to take over and win, but nowhere near bad enough to be the blame for a loss. Manuel was erratic after the first drive, but after the four straight 3-and-outs, Manuel drove downfield and brought Buffalo to within 3 points at the end of the first half. After Cincy extended their lead, Manuel was asked to do too much. Throughout the day, Manuel had low throws and high throws, some bailed out by receivers, and an underthrown ball picked off. Manuel had a relatively clean pocket, as he was sacked only twice. GRADE: C-
- Running Offense: With RB LeSean McCoy coming back sooner than expected, Buffalo experienced a boost in the running game. McCoy had 90 yards and a touchdown. Blocking was rather consistent against a tough Bengals front seven, allowing McCoy to get through holes to greener pastures. Manuel also had a rushing touchdown on a sweep that was well blocked. GRADE: B+
- Passing Defense: It’s a shame that CBs Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby had great games and this unit is STILL about to get trashed. Head coach Rex Ryan over-thought this game. With the success of Bengals QB Andy Dalton, Ryan decided to drop his pass rushers into coverage in an attempt to confuse Dalton or alter passing lanes. Dalton, however, was not like Giants QB Eli Manning and Patriots QB Tom Brady, and was holding onto the football for long periods of time. Dalton faced 3-man rushes from Buffalo several times, which is more than terrifying to witness. Bengals WR Marvin Jones went off for 95 yards and a touchdown, victimizing Bills SS Bacarri Rambo. Rambo also looked lost against Bengals TE Tyler Eifert. This team is missing SS Aaron Williams. But Ryan’s schemes led to this defeat more than anything. GRADE: F
- Running Defense: While the Bengals didn’t feel the need to call a lot of running plays, both Bengals RBs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard ran for over 50 yards each, while Bernard also ran for a touchdown. There were several run stuffs, thanks to DT Marcell Dareus. The linebackers on the Bills defense play almost at the line, which basically negates a second level. So while there were run stuffs, there were some big gains to be had by Cincinnati. GRADE: C
- Special Teams: This unit can only do worse by allowing a return touchdown, but based on their current performance in coverage, that will happen soon. However, Marcus Thigpen was cut for Denarius Moore, as Ryan was looking for a spark in the return game. Moore has not played up to snuff for Buffalo’s special teams. Moore has yet to flip the field with a big return, something Thigpen was able to do. And another personal foul on special teams hurts this unit again. GRADE: D-
- Coaching: Another coaching brain fart, another loss. Ryan’s defensive schemes against Dalton and the big-play Bengals offense were anemic at best. It caused a lot of the defensive lapses for Buffalo, whose players look lost at the line of scrimmage. The Bills need to simplify the defense, simple as that. The Bills offense was under great guidance from Greg Roman, as the banged-up offense still scored 21 points, none of it in garbage time. GRADE: D
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