Buffalo Bills Week 10 Positional Grades

The Buffalo Bills were in position to move to 6-3, but some costly fumbles led to them falling to 5-4. The team will have a chance to bounce back quickly as they play the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football. As for Sunday's game, here's how each positional unit graded out.

Turnovers and missed opportunities sunk the Buffalo Bills against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills fell to 5-4 on the season and lost another important game within their conference. With a game on Thursday, the Bills need to regroup.

Quarterback: C+

Kyle Orton didn’t come up with the game plan, but he threw far too often in a tight game. Simply put, Orton shouldn’t be throwing 48 times in a game that the Bills were winning until the fourth quarter. Making matters worse, Orton seemed “off.” He completed 29 of his pass attempts for 259 yards and a touchdown, but many of his passes were thrown too high or just out of the grasp of his receivers.

His touchdown pass to Chris Hogan was right on the money, as were a few other passes but there are definitely a few throws Orton would like to have back. A pass to Scott Chandler in the end zone wasn’t close. Chandler was wide open. A high pass to Robert Woods, was just a bit too high. Orton’s throw had to be high due to the coverage, but it was out of Woods’ reach. Late in the game, Orton had Hogan come open in the end zone. The throw was just out of his reach. Three plays that could have resulted in a touchdown were just off. Orton wasn’t the reason the Bills lost to the Chiefs, but he missed throws that Bills fans expected him to complete.

Running Backs: B+

The Bills had their run game working on Sunday, yet they only attempted 20 runs (22 if you count two Orton scrambles). In a close game, the Bills should have used the run game more. Anthony Dixon had his best game with 62 yards on nine carries. Bryce Brown also looked good, carrying the ball seven times for 35 yards. Brown had a costly fumble as he was cruising into the end zone, but he was effective when given the ball. He certainly needs to work on ball security though. Fred Jackson didn’t get much work running the ball, only rushing for 10 yards on three carries.

Brown and Jackson were both valuable in the passing game. Brown led the team in receiving with 65 yards on six receptions and Jackson added four receptions for 39 yards.

Buffalo’s backs accounted for 211 yards, with FB Frank Summers chipping in another three yards. Overall, it was a good day for the team’s running backs.

Wide Receivers: C+

Chris Hogan was the best receiver on the field. He caught the team’s only touchdown and came open late in the game where he could have added another. On one play where Orton ran with the ball, he came wide open in the middle of the field. Pressure on Orton is the likeliest reason that the quarterback didn’t see him come open. He finished with five receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown.

Robert Woods looked to be completely healthy after injuring his back against the Jets. He caught six passes for 52 yards, but dropped a pass early in the game that should have moved the chains. Woods was solid, but not spectacular.

Sammy Watkins played the majority of the team’s snaps but didn’t look 100 percent. He was targeted 10 times on Sunday, but finished with four receptions for 27 yards. Many of the passes in his direction were off, but Watkins himself wasn’t completely healthy. We’ll see if he has another big game against the Dolphins on Thursday.

 

Tight Ends: C-

Buffalo’s tight ends were not great on Sunday. Scott Chandler led the way with three receptions for 17 yards on six targets. He did come open in the end zone on a play but Orton missed his target. That play was on Orton. Chandler also had an opportunity to recover Brown’s fumble in the end zone, but it bounced off of him and went out of bounds for a touchback. Now we can’t really blame Chandler for how the football bounced, but he had an opportunity to save the Bills from a big time blunder.

Chris Gragg and Lee Smith each had a pass bounce off of their hands. Gragg’s came on a play where Tamba Hali was covering the play well, but Orton’s pump fake was able to get Gragg open. The ball bounced off of the tight end’s hands. Smith’s drop came on a nice play call where the Bills faked a pitch and Smith was open for what would have been a decent gain. Smith couldn’t reel the pass in though. He was also called for a penalty. Smith and Gragg are both good blockers and did a nice job in that area against the Chiefs.

 

Offensive Line: A

This matchup scared me quite a bit, but overall the line fared well. Orton was pressured quite a few times on Sunday, but he was only sacked once. This is pretty impressive as Chiefs have players like Dontari Poe, Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. All three can be disruptive in the passing game and run game. The unit gave up the one sack to Poe, but overall they were very strong in pass blocking.

They may have been even more impressive against the Chiefs run defense. The offensive line created good lanes for Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown to exploit. It was the best the run game has looked in weeks and the line deserves praise for this. Overall, it was a very encouraging game for a unit that’s struggled throughout the season.

Defensive Line: A-

Six sacks and a fumble recovery? Yeah, that’s a pretty good day at the office. Marcell Dareus added three sacks on Sunday and moved his total to 10 on the season. Jerry Hughes added two more sacks and now sits at 7.5 on the season and Mario’s one sack bumps him up to seven on the year. Jarius Wynn also chipped in with a fumble recovery. The starting defensive line was outstanding and the backups were solid for the most part. The only lineman who struggled was Manny Lawson. Both of Kansas City’s touchdowns came on plays where Lawson didn’t set the edge. He’s the reason the line gets an A-, rather than an A+.

Linebackers: A-

The linebackers were terrific on Sunday. Preston Brown and Nigel Bradham were each on their “A” game and Brandon Spikes was strong in run support. This may have been the unit’s best performance of the season. The trio combined for 18 total tackles and a forced fumble.

Secondary: B

The secondary was pretty strong as they provided good coverage throughout the game. The only cornerback who disappointed was Leodis McKelvin. Smith picked on McKelvin whenever the corner was on Dwayne Bowe. He struggled in coverage and gave up good chunks of yards. Aaron Williams tried to prevent Alex Smith from scoring the game-winning touchdown, but the touchdown wasn’t his fault. Lawson giving up the edge on the play is the reason it went for a touchdown.

Special Teams: C+

The muffed punt led to Kansas City’s game-winning score, so we can’t pretend it didn’t happen. That said, McKelvin had a fantastic return after this that put the Bills deep in Kansas City territory.

Dan Carpenter connected on his two field goal attempts, but both were chip shots. Colton Schmidt’s punts were excellent. Four of six landed inside of the 20 yard line and he had a long of 57 yards. He’s the real deal. Jordan Gay was good on kickoffs as well, but one was returned for 38 yards by De’Anthony Thomas.

How would you grade Buffalo’s positional units based upon their play in Week 10? Let’s discuss it in the forums!


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