Buffalo Bills Week 8 Positional Grades

Certain Buffalo Bills position groups had their best game of the season against the New York Jets. Buffalo won convincingly, but not every positional group thrived. Here's a look at how each unit fared.

The Buffalo Bills entered their bye week 5-3 after a convincing 43-23 win over the New York Jets. Buffalo looked dominant at times against New York, but they also let the team hang in the game a bit too long. How did each positional group fare? Here are my grades.

Quarterback: A+

Kyle Orton only attempted 17 passes on Sunday against the Jets. Buffalo was being conservative with the ball, but Orton made the most with his passes.

The quarterback completed 10 of his pass attempts for 238 yards and four touchdowns. Had Sammy Watkins run hard on a play where he was tackled from behind, Orton could have completed 50 percent of his passes for touchdowns.

Running Backs: D

Buffalo’s run game struggled against the Jets. New York has a terrific defensive line, so yards were going to be hard to come by. On Sunday, Anthony Dixon, Bryce Brown and Frank Summers were only able to garner 67 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries (2.09 YPC).

The bye week came at a good time for the Bills. Buffalo’s coaching staff needs to work on fixing the run game in their week off. Running the ball inside consistently simply isn’t the answer. The Bills could also have Fred Jackson back in Week 10 when the Bills face the Kansas City Chiefs. It’d be a big boost for Buffalo.

Wide Receivers: A+

Sammy Watkins led the way for the Bills with three receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown. As mentioned earlier, Watkins could have had a second touchdown if he had hustled on a reception that went 84 yards. It’s a mistake that he’ll certainly learn from and it didn’t end hurting the Bills.

Robert Woods was also off to a fantastic start against the Jets. He caught three passes for 50 yards and a touchdown in 18 snaps before leaving with a back contusion. This is solid production for the limited amount of snaps that he saw.

Chris Hogan also added one reception for 14 yards against the Jets. In all, the receivers had seven receptions for 221 yards and two touchdowns. Based on the lack of passes, this is terrific.


Tight Ends: B

Buffalo’s tight ends also got involved in the touchdown party against the Jets. Scott Chandler and Lee Smith each scored one touchdown. Chandler’s touchdown was his only reception on Sunday and it went for 12 yards. Smith had two receptions for five yards and Buffalo’s third tight end, Chris Gragg, did not record a reception. Gragg did do a nice job as a blocker on Sunday.


Offensive Line: C

The offensive line of the Bills weren’t expected to stop the Jets defense. Their job was to hold the Jets defense in check, give Kyle Orton time to pass and open running lanes.

The Jets were able to sack Orton four times on Sunday and stopped Buffalo’s run game. That said, Buffalo’s offensive line did enough to allow Orton to throw four touchdown passes. It wasn’t an outstanding effort, but it was good enough to get the win.

Buffalo still has issues along its line. The biggest issue is now right guard. For the time being, Pears may be the best option. In the second half of the season, Cyril Richardson and Cyrus Kouandjio, Buffalo’s second round pick, may get an opportunity to take Pears’ job.

Defensive Line: A-

The Bills had four sacks on Sunday, and all of them belonged to Buffalo’s defensive line. Kyle Williams recorded 1.5 sacks, Corbin Bryant and Jarius Wynn each registered one sack, and Mario Williams added half a sack.

Mario Williams and Bryant also registered forced fumbles, while Stefan Charles recovered a fumble.

Buffalo’s defensive line was certainly disruptive in pass defense, but they struggled a bit in run defense, especially when Michael Vick entered the game. The Jets rushed for 175 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday, with Vick leading the way with 69 yards on eight carries. This certainly doesn’t all fall on the defensive line, but there’s work to be done.

Linebackers: B-

Stats can be a bit deceiving. Nigel Bradham led the team in tackles with 11 (10 solo, 1 assist) and a forced fumble. That said, this was one of his worst games of the season. Bradham took some poor angles on running plays and Percy Harvin and Michael Vick were able to run around him. He’s been great for the Bills this season, but it was a rough outing for Bradham.

Preston Brown was the best linebacker on the field for Buffalo for the second consecutive week. Brown recorded nine total tackles (8 solo, 1 assist) and logged his first career interception. The rookie linebacker was supposed to be the team’s middle linebacker of the future, but his play has forced him onto the field. He’s played well as Buffalo’s strong-side linebacker, taking the job away from Keith Rivers. Looking ahead, 2015 could be very exciting with Brown and Kiko Alonso on the field together.

Brandon Spikes continued his steady play and seems to be enjoying his time in Buffalo. Signing him to another short deal wouldn’t be a bad idea. Keith Rivers may be one and done on the other hand. He was limited to one snap against the Jets and may be cut following the season.

Secondary: A

The Jets game was certainly one of Buffalo’s best secondary performances of the season. Stephon Gilmore, Aaron Williams and Da’Norris Searcy all recorded interceptions against New York. Duke Williams also recorded a fumble recovery.

The Jets final passing line between Vick and Geno Smith was 20/44 for 158 yards. A lot of this had to do with the inaccuracy of the quarterbacks, but the secondary also deserves credit for holding the Jets to 7.9 yards per completion and a 45 percent completion percentage.

Special Teams: C+

Dan Carpenter was 3-for-3 on field goal attempts, with a long of 53 yards. He finished 4/5 on extra points. That extra point wasn’t needed on Sunday, but kickers shouldn’t be missing chip shots.

Jordan Gay may be playing himself off the roster. Percy Harvin had six kick returns against the Bills. Gay’s role is kicking the ball through the end zone and not allowing returns. Several of his kicks were deep, but Harvin seemed intent on trying to make a big play. It didn’t happen on Sunday, but it’s still worrisome that the Jets had that many attempts.

Colton Schmidt had six punts on Sunday with a 41.5 yard average. Four of his kicks landed inside of the 20 and he had a long of 52 yards. Buffalo’s field position certainly played into Schmidt’s low punt average.

Buffalo’s special teams should be credited for covering New York’s attempted trick play well. No one on the Bills fell for T.J. Graham’s camouflaging in the end zone and they were there to prevent Harvin from passing him the ball.

How would you grade Buffalo’s positional units based upon their play in Week 8? Let’s discuss it in the forums!


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