More terrible grades for the Bills

By Connor Byrne  |   Monday, December 12, 2005  |  Comments( 0 )

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On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills lost their third straight game. The latest defeat came at the hands of their division rival, the New England Patriots. The Pats humiliated the Bills by a score of 35-7 and sent them deeper into their funk. Once again, here are some ugly grades for the Bills...

Offense:

Quarterback = D-. J.P. Losman completed just 10 of 27 passes for 181 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. In defense of Losman, his offensive line gave him very little time to throw and he was missing one of his starting receivers, Eric Moulds. After taking positive steps forward in the last month the first-year starter took a step back in this game.

Running game = F. Willis McGahee had the worst day of his professional career as he rushed for just 3 yards on eight carries. The three Bills who attempted rushes (Losman, McGahee, and Shaud Williams) combined for 14 yards on 12 carries. Awful.

Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends = C-. Second-year receiver Lee Evans highlighted the group yet again as he pulled in four passes for a grand total of 84 yards. Evans proved in this game that he is indeed worthy of being the Bills' #1 receiver in the future. Josh Reed caught two passes for 76 yards, including a tremendous 51-yard touchdown gallop. The other two receivers that caught passes for the Bills, Sam Aiken and Roscoe Parrish, accumulated just 13 receiving yards. Tight end Mark Campbell continued his less than stellar play with one catch for just 4 yards.

Offensive Line = F . The line only surrendered two sacks but they also served as turnstiles as the Patriots' defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs invaded Losman's space at will. The line also generated no push on the defensive line and that helped contribute to the Bills' inability to run the football. Left tackle Mike Gandy gave up one sack to Patriots defensive tackle Richard Seymour. That may not sound so bad but it could have been a lot more than that. Gandy was bullied around all day by the Patriots' All-Pro.

Overall Offensive grade = D-. No running game, three turnovers, no push from the offensive line, and some key false start penalties by said line. Only one word describes this performance...Ugly. Accumulating only 183 net yards against the Patriots' mediocre defense is inexcusable. Losman could have impressed opposing quarterback Tom Brady, instead he made himself look like the latest quarterbacking disaster to come through Buffalo. I still believe Losman is going to be a solid NFL quarterback and that this was simply a setback in an otherwise promising career.

Defense:

Defensive Line = D-. Once again, defensive end Aaron Schobel proved that he's the only player on the Bills' line worthy of being an NFL starter. He continued his fine 2005 campaign as he amassed his 10th sack of the season. Other than that, there was little pressure on Brady by the rest of the line and there was no ability to stop the Pats' running game. New England attempted 41 run plays and totaled 159 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Yet another terrible day for a sub-NFL caliber line.

Linebackers = C-. London Fletcher, the Bills' terrific middle linebacker, added 14 tackles and an interception in this game. It was a well-deserved pick by a man who has had a somewhat unnoticed Pro Bowl caliber season. First-year starter Angelo Crowell totaled 11 tackles and looked solid. Strong side LB Jeff Posey dragged the grade down as he was once again nowhere to be found. Also, the defense of the Patriots' tight ends was somewhat poor and the run defense by the group left something to be desired. When the Bills get Takeo Spikes back to health next year, their linebacking corps will be a force to be reckoned with.

Secondary = F. Nate Clements had an interception in this game but he was also burned by Patriots receiver Deion Branch on numerous occasions. The rest of the Bills' starting secondary, consisting of Terrence McGee, Troy Vincent and Lawyer Milloy, all played poorly on Sunday. They aided in allowing Tom Brady to complete at least two passes to seven different receivers. Brady ended up 29 of 38 for 329 yards, two touchdowns, and two picks. It was truly a putrid day for this entire group. On a side note, Nate Clements continues to lose millions of dollars every week. A Pro Bowler last year, Clements continues to get burned week in and week out and will certainly not become the highest paid corner in the NFL at season's end.

Overall Defensive grade = F. Even the decent play of the linebackers isn't going to stop the defense from earning their well-deserved failing grade. Memo to the Bills' front office, the following defensive starters should either not be starting, or be off the team altogether next season: Tim Anderson, Sam Adams, Chris Kelsay, Jeff Posey, Troy Vincent, Lawyer Milloy, and Nate Clements.

Special teams:

Surprisingly it wasn't exactly a banner day for the top special teams unit in the NFL. Rian Lindell missed his only kick, a 32-yard attempt. Punter Brian Moorman had another very good day as he averaged 43.7 yards in very windy conditions. Terrence McGee averaged 25.2 yards on his kick returns and had a deep one called back because of a holding penalty on reserve tight end Ryan Neufeld. Roscoe Parrish's 43-yard punt return in the fourth quarter highlighted the special teams unit's day. ST grade = B.

Coaching:

Bills coach Mike Mularkey needed his team to look halfway decent in this game to prove that he still has a handle on the situation. Unfortunately for the much-maligned coach, his team was totally flat and demonstrated that they've quit on him. Can someone explain to me why this team is only attempting eight run plays with their franchise workhorse? It's beyond comprehension. Mularkey tells everyone that this is going to be a power football team and it's been the farthest thing from it. Jerry Gray's defense had one of their worst days of the year but it isn't necessarily him who should be seeing all the blame. Only four of his starters are playing up to snuff right now. The rest are either backups at best (Kelsay, Anderson, Posey), over the hill (Adams, Milloy, Vincent), or underachieving (Clements). Coaching grade = F.

As Bills fans have come to expect, there's the latest in a long line of poor grades for their team. When it comes to on-field play, it all starts with the coach. Mike Mularkey has lost this football team because of his inability to handle veterans and his ineptitude when it comes to in-game decision making. The Buffalo Bills' players sent a major message to owner Ralph Wilson in this game, and that message reads loud and clear... "WE DON'T WANT TO PLAY FOR MIKE MULARKEY."

Opinions? Send to Connor Byrne: cbyrne@realfootball365.com
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