Every Monday, Buffalo Football Report will give out report card grades to each positional unit on the team. Following a 41-14 victory over the Miami Dolphins, here’s a look at how the Buffalo Bills graded out.
Tyrod Taylor gets an A+ as he was close to flawless on Sunday. The quarterback once again completed over 70 percent of his passes after completing 21-of-29 passes for 277 yards. In addition to his tremendous accuracy, Taylor added three more touchdown passes on the season and didn’t get sacked once. Miami wasn’t very successful in getting pressure to Taylor but the athletic quarterback was able to avoid contact when the Dolphins had a player get into the backfield.
It was a great bounce back performance for Taylor after the quarterback threw three interceptions against the Patriots. His play over the first three weeks of the season has him in pretty outstanding company.
Running backs: A-
Karlos Williams ended Buffalo’s drought of games without a 100 yard rusher. The rookie out of Florida State finished Sunday’s game with 110 yards on 12 carries (9.2 YPC). His best run, a 41 yard touchdown romp, put the game away for Buffalo. Williams has been an absolute steal for the Bills through three weeks.
LeSean McCoy had a touchdown reception on Sunday, but he struggled a bit on the ground. He finished the game with 16 yards on 11 carries (1.5 YPC) and admitted postgame that his hamstring injury is still hampering his play.
Last, Anthony Dixon struggled running the ball on Sunday, losing one yard on five carries.
Wide receivers: A
This unit has been as good as advertised. Sammy Watkins left Sunday’s game with a calf injury but others stepped up with Watkins on the sidelines. Chris Hogan reeled in a long 38 yard touchdown pass and finished with 42 yards on three receptions. Percy Harvin has been Mr. Reliable for Buffalo. His seven receptions led the team and he finished the day with 66 yards. Robert Woods chipped in another 38 yards on four receptions and Watkins did have one 39 yard catch. The four receivers finished with 185 yards receiving and a touchdown on 15 receptions.
Tight ends: A-
Charles Clay made his return to Miami memorable. The former Dolphins tight end led the Bills in receiving yards (82) and picked up a touchdown on five receptions. Clay alone was tremendous but MarQueis Gray and Matthew Mulligan were not heard from on Sunday.
Offensive line: B+
This was by far the best game of the season for Buffalo’s offensive line. The unit kept Taylor clean all day and only allowed three quarterback hits. In the run game, the unit helped pave the way for the Bills to rush for 151 yards on 34 carries. It was an impressive showing and much needed after their overall struggles through two weeks.
Rookie guard John Miller left the game on Sunday and Kraig Urbik didn’t miss a beat for Buffalo.
Defensive Line: B+
Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes all recorded a quarterback hit for Buffalo on Sunday, as did backup Stefan Charles. Dareus and Charles each recorded one sack on Tannehill. Hughes' stat line doesn't come close to showing the absolute chaos he created on Sunday.
Penalties negated a few other notable plays from the unit but overall they did a good job of pressuring Tannehill throughout Sunday’s game.
In the run game, Buffalo allowed 102 yards on 20 carries. This is an area that the team can clean up going forward and it all starts up front.
Buffalo’s linebackers played well on Sunday, but Preston Brown was a one man wrecking crew. The linebacker had seven total tackles, one tackle for loss, two passes defensed, two interceptions and one defensive touchdown for the Bills on Sunday. He was, without a doubt, the MVP of the defense on Sunday.
This unit came close to an A+, but Stephon Gilmore’s slip and fall that led to Miami’s second touchdown brought the mark down. Yes, the second touchdown came with the game well out of reach, but it’s still a play that Gilmore has to make.
Rookie Ronald Darby was the best cornerback on the field on Sunday. With four passes defensed and an interception, Darby isn’t playing anything like a rookie for Buffalo. Nickell Robey also played well against the Dolphins.
The Corey Graham signing was very underrated last season. In his first season with Buffalo in 2014, Graham was outstanding at cornerback. This season, he hasn’t missed a beat at safety. Graham finished the game as Buffalo’s leading tackler with 12 combined tackles. He also added one tackle for loss and a pass defensed.
Bacarri Rambo got the start at the other safety position on Sunday and did fairly well. The biggest knock on Rambo is that he almost injured Darby twice in the game. Save those hits for the opposing team, Bacarri.
Dan Carpenter went 2-of-3 on field goal attempts and converted all five extra points. His only miss of the game was a 54 yard attempt where you could argue that the Bills would have been wise to go for it or simply punt the ball as Miami’s offense was putrid up to that point.
Jordan Gay, the kickoff specialist, did allow four passes to get returned, but for all we know he was asked to kick it short. Gay also had some kicks go sailing through the end zone.
Colton Schmidt was better this week than he was last week, but he still hasn’t kicked the ball as well as he did in Week 1. On Sunday, Schmidt recorded three punts that went 137 yards, an average of 45.7 yards. One of three punts landed inside the 20 yard line.
What a difference a week makes. Greg Roman stole the show on Sunday, with a terrific game plan. His first two drives were near perfect and the Bills offense put up four touchdowns. Roman is by far the best offensive coordinator the Bills have had in some time.
Defensively, Dennis Thurman rebounded nicely after his unit was destroyed by the Patriots. The unit forced three Tannehill interceptions, had two sacks, eight quarterback hits and eight passes defensed. Sunday’s game was never in doubt and the defense was absolutely dominant at times.
Overall, Rex Ryan and his coaches had the team prepared and this week he let his team’s play do the talking on the field. Ryan wants to dominant every game and so far, you could argue that the Bills have been dominate against the Colts and Dolphins. Even with games out of reach, Ryan doesn’t want to see the Bills make poor decisions. Look no further than his reaction to a play that negated a big play by Jerry Hughes.https://twitter.com/ddocket/status/648270604987031552">https://twitter.com/ddocket/status/648270604987031552
The best part about this? Buffalo was up 34-8 at the time. You have to love Ryan’s passion.