Bills D Grounds Jets, Running Game Powers O

The Bills made short work of the Jets at the Ralph on Sunday avenging an earlier 30-3 road loss. Aided by cold weather never cracking the freezing mark, the defense once again did more than was expected; holding the Jets to only 20% of their scoring output in the first game between the two teams and 215 total net yards.

Travis Henry also had his best career rushing game logging 169 yards on 32 carries for a 5.3 yard-per-carry average adding one touchdown as well. It was also the fifth time in his last 7 games that Henry has eclipsed the 100-yard mark.

Thus far in games in which Henry plays and has 25 or more carries the Bills are 5-0 while in games where Henry has 23 or fewer carries the Bills are 1-6. Of course the same was true last season where when Henry had a similar 22 or more carries the Bills were 5-2 while when he had 20 or fewer carries the Bills were an unhealthy 3-6. Also last year, and correspondingly, when Bledsoe had 36 or more attempts the Bills were 3-7 while when he had 33 or fewer the Bills were 5-1.

Yet, for most of this season the "high IQ'd" Gilbride has struggled to connect the dots. Well, they were connected yet again for him today. Perhaps some "connect the dots" books for the genius during the offseason will prepare him for his next coaching assignment! You can find them at most primary schools and children's book stores Kevin. They may not be in the "genius" sections, but they're there.

Once again, the Bills come out on top the less Drew throws and the more Henry runs begging the question why the Bills need a quarterback who seems to desire to throw the ball as often as he does and has in the past. For a refreshing change of pace, the Bills rushing attack was responsible for nearly 80% of the offensive production on the day. On the Bills' lone interception, Drew had plenty of time, yet under-threw an open Campbell who had to come to a virtual stop from in stride and even then was well ahead of the pass.

Terrence McGee is making a strong bid in his rookie campaign to be starter next season and mitigate the need for the Bills to re-sign Winfield. He appears to have Winfield's physical playing style yet adds 20 pounds to any hits he levies. He had an A++ game logging the Bills' lone interception.

Other than the game ending drive, the Bills were 2-of-4 in red zone opportunities with one of the failed opportunities ending on Henry's fumble on 2nd-and-8 from the Jet 19 with the game thoroughly in hand with just over four minutes remaining in the game. The other resulted in a field goal following a Bledsoe sack on 3rd-and-6 at the Jet 7-yard-line with the Bills leading 14-6 early in the fourth.

Game Grades:

QB: C- Bledsoe has a history of struggling vs. the Jets and did so again. Bledsoe's biggest contribution was not having more than one turnover. His lone turnover setting the Jets up at the Bills 35-yard line was overcome by solid defense holding the Jets to minus two yards and a three-and-out resulting in a punt and the ball back for the Bills. Otherwise, the result may have been three or seven Jet points and a possible lead change and loss of momentum for the Bills. It was the first drive of the second half with the Bills nursing a precarious 7-3 lead. Two sacks in 17 dropbacks, 53 net passing yards, fewer than 5 yards-per-attempt, and a game rating of 66.5 highlighted Drew's day.

RB: A+ With 169 yards on 5.3 yards-per-carry, one touchdown, and running well all game long but particularly in the second half and again demonstrating big play ability, Henry had his best career game to date. Bills fans simply cannot ask for more. He logged 127 of his rushing yards in the second half. Burns averaged nearly five yards-per-carry as well in relief of Henry towards the end of the game.

TE: N/A Once again the tight ends were not a part of the offensive game plan other than blocking. Blocking seemed decent.

WR: B Reed is becoming the receiver that the Bills need him to become, continues to improve weekly, and scored the lone Bills receiving TD. Shaw had at least two key drops although one of those drops was thrown behind him. Moulds, and Shaw combined for 3 catches for 25 yards.

OL: B+ With Tucker in for an injured Pucillo again and Sullivan at left tackle, the line played very well providing Drew with plenty of time on most passing plays and blocking well enough to pave the way for the Bills best day rushing all season albeit vs. a 30th ranked rushing defense.

DL: A The defensive unit was very good logging an unusual three of five sacks on the day. Sam Adams had his third or fourth excellent game this season with two sacks. He either seems to play below average or have an extremely good day. Schobel was his usual self playing with intensity and applying pressure logging a sack. Production out of the left defensive end position was average at best, but that is all that was needed in this one as the defense as a unit shone.

LB: A Fletcher logged a sack. Spikes and Fletcher tackled very well leading the Bills in tackles logging a dozen solo tackles between them. Posey was his usual average self.

DB: B- Coverage was good but not great for much of the game. Pressure from Bills blitzes prevented more passes from connecting than the coverage did. The mobile Pennington was sacked five times, once by Milloy. Reese had a few lapses. Dropped balls due to the cold weather and poor passes by a pressured Pennington were equally responsible for an underachieving Jet passing game than Bills' coverage was.

STs: B Kickoff coverage was not good. Kick returns were good. Punting was excellent with three of four punts inside the 20 and two inside the 10 yard lines. Punt returns were not good.

Coaching: A It must have tormented Kevin Gilbride inside to have to shelf Bledsoe in this game to the extent that he did. Yet, the good of the team was the result with a solid win due to outstanding defense and phenomenal rushing. Forty one rushing plays to seventeen designed passing plays for an unusual play selection mix. Defensive coaching, just as it has been for 23 games now generally speaking, was excellent!

Quote of the Day: "He's got a mental clock that's broken!" Steve Tasker on Bledsoe following one of Drew's bumbling and unnecessary sacks. I would add to that, but why bother at this point.

Headscratchers:

First, why, on 3rd-and-4, nearly midway through the 4th quarter, did the Bills call a quarterback sneak when Henry had been averaging over 5 yards-per-carry and had over 150 rushing yards to that point in the game? Particularly since Bledsoe has had two concussions in as many past weeks! It is as if Kevin Gilbride cannot stand to see the team succeed without Drew being the impetus for it.

Second, since the Bills coaching staff seemed to feel comfortable playing Marcus Sullivan at left tackle to start the game, why has it been that Sullivan has been inactive for much of the season? He seemed to handle the task at hand relatively well only justifying puzzled fans' befuddlement as to why the Bills braintrust seems to have wasted much of the beginning of the season breaking in first time starter Pucillo.

Summary:

The Bills solidly beat a Jet team with a horrendous rushing defense on the merits of running the ball. The Bills held their opponent to ten or fewer points for the 5th time this season and for the 7th time over the last 15 games. They also held their opponent to 17 or fewer points for the tenth time this season, for the 13th time over the last 16 games, and for the 16th time over the last 23 games. This game was another game of the "just what the doctor ordered variety." Defense and rushing, the combination of champions, was what led the charge.

Three likely playoff teams with a combined record of 28-11 await the Bills over the remaining three weeks of the season however, two of which are on the road. Next week the Bills go from facing the league's 30th ranked rushing defense to face the league's top rushing defense allowing fewer than 80 yards per game, so it will sure be interesting to be sure to see how that game is coached. Bledsoe will need to be at his best if the Bills are to have any hopes of winning. In spite of playing at home vs. a sketchy Jet D, the Bills managed to only put up 17 points. The Bills matched the fifth lowest total scored vs. the Jets this season, beating only themselves once, the Skins, the Texans, and the Jaguars.

While the 17-6 victory against the Jets was nice, again, the circumstances don't exactly scream out to put money down on playoff tickets. Make no mistake, there will be no playoffs for this Bills squad. The most winnable game of the remaining three figures to be the Miami game as the sole remaining home game. Even then, the Bills offense will likely be required to put up more points than they have vs. decent defenses this season in order to win that game.

The Titans figure to be tough next week following a very tough loss to their division rival Colts leaving them to virtually only make the playoffs via a wild card spot with Indy owning the tiebreaker over them. Enjoy this win for the week before the Bills face a touch 12th-man in Nashville and a angry team looking to wrap up a wild card spot after a self-imposed and mistake-filled tough loss this week.

Comments: mweiler.billsreport@cox.net


Buffalo Football Report Top Stories