BillsZone's Postgame Report Card

Quarterbacks: JP Losman had a pretty good game and showed definite improvement over last season. He started out strong, completing 7 out of 8 passes for 79 yards in the first two drives. Then he cooled down a bit. Losman finished the day completing 15/23 for 164 yards and no interceptions.

But he did have one costly play where he was sacked in the end zone for a safety, instead of throwing it away or at least getting out of the end zone. Overall though, JP Losman showed poise in the pocket and made some good decisions with the ball. Grade: B-

Running Backs: In the first half, they were running the ball and moving the chains. However in the second half the Patriots made some adjustments and closed most of the holes. Willis McGahee had 20 carries for 70 yards and caught 2 passes for 24 yards. He had some nice runs to the outside. But his biggest problem was that he couldn't get 1-yard that the team needed him to get on 4th down and 1. Willis hesitated too much and the hole closed up. Anthony Thomas on the other hand had a great game with 3 carries for 29 yards and a TD, plus 2 catches for 16 yards. He filled in nicely for Willis McGahee, fighting for extra yards on each play. Thomas also took the ball on 1st and 10 during the beginning of the 2nd quarter and took it downfield for an 18-yard touchdown. Daimon Shelton was pretty quiet, but did have some nice blocks. Overall, it was an average day for this unit. It could have been better, but they were facing a very tough front 7. Grade: B-

Wide Receivers: Lee Evans was pretty much taken out of the game by the Patriots. He did have 2 catches for 25-yards, but they took the deep ball away for the whole game. Peerless Price also was kept in check, but he helped free up Josh Reed at times. Price finished the day with 3 receptions for 25-yards. Josh Reed led in yards. He caught 3 passes for 40-yards and had a couple nice tiptoe catches at the sideline. Roscoe Parrish had 2 catches for 20-yards. He wasn't used that often as the Bills usually used the 2 or 3 receiver sets. Overall, it was a quiet day for this unit. It would have been nice to spread the field once or twice, but the Patriots didn't give them much. Grade: C+

Tight Ends: It was a very disappointing day for this unit. Both Royal and Everett had costly penalties that hurt the team. Kevin Everett took a holding penalty on the Bills first drive of the day. It led to a long 3rd down. Robert Royal had a stupid block-in-the-back penalty that negated a nice 3rd down conversion by Peerless Price and stalled the drive. Royal also had a nice 14-yard catch, and a drop. Overall, both tight ends had some good blocks, but those penalties were unnecessary and killed drives. Grade: C-

Offensive Line: I wasn't sure what to put here. They did a pretty good job protecting JP Losman and gave up 3 sacks. They also opened up some big holes for the running game in the first half. On the other hand, they struggled in the second half and couldn't give Losman enough time to avoid the safety. The holes were no where to be found in the second half either. Grade: C-

Defensive Line: Aaron Schobel did a nice job against the Patriots OL and put a lot of pressure on Tom Brady. He finished the game with 2 tackles, 2 knock downs and 1 sack. Chris Kelsay did a nice job too. He put a lot of pressure on Brady and had 4 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. Ryan Denney also saw quite a bit of action. He got some pressure on the quarterback and finished the game with 8 total tackles. Larry Tripplett was also in the backfield a lot, but he only had one assist for the day. Kyle Williams saw a lot of action too and had 6 total tackles at the end of the day. Tim Anderson got the start over Williams and did a decent job with 3 tackles. John McCargo had 1 assist for the day. Overall, it was a tale of two halves. They started out really strong and seemed to get under Tom Brady's skin in the first half. Then they seemed to wear down in the 3rd and 4th quarter and let the Patriots run all over the place. Grade: C+

Linebackers: Takeo Spikes started his first game back with a killer sack on Tom Brady and a forced fumble. He was a man possessed. Sadly, it didn't last as he had felt some pulling in his hamstring and left the game during the second series. Mario Haggan tried to replace him, but was beaten badly, along with Angelo Crowell on a touchdown pass to Troy Brown. Haggan was then replaced by Keith Ellison, who was in on 10 tackles. Crowell did a pretty good job after the touchdown and finished with 8 total tackles. London Fletcher-Baker did the best of the group and recovered the fumble caused by Spikes and ran it in for a 5-yard touchdown. He also had 10 total tackles for the day. Overall, it was a poor day for one of the better LB units in the league. It would have been better if Spikes stayed in. But they still got beat badly by the Patriots running backs. Grade: C

Secondary: Terrence McGee tied with London Fletcher-Baker for a team-leading 10 total tackles. He did a nice job covering his receivers and also helping out with run support. Nate Clements had a quiet day, as the Patriots didn't throw his way much, but he did have 3 total tackles. However, he did have a block-in-the-back penalty that stopped Whitner from getting a touchdown on his interception. Jabari Greer and Kiwaukee Thomas each had 1 tackle for the day. Donte Whitner did a good job coming in to replace an ineffective Coy Wire. He finished the day with 8 total tackles and made a nice read and leaping grab to intercept Tom Brady on one play. Troy Vincent left early in the game with an injury, but did a nice job before he left. He did have 1 tackle. Ko Simpson filled in and had 7 total tackles. He struggled a bit, but wasn't too bad for a rookie. Overall, it was a pretty good day for the secondary. They didn't face much of a receiver set, but still they shut down the Patriots passing game for much of the game. Grade: B

Special Teams: Brian Moorman had an off day, averaging only 40.2 yards on 5 punts. And that's only that high because of a 54-yarder. His shortest was 29-yards. Rian Lindell was his usual solid self. He kicked a 53-yard field goal with no problem and the 2 extra points. Lindell also had 1 touchback on the kickoffs and 3 out of 4 were within the 5-yard line. Terrence McGee had an average of 27.5-yards on 4 kick returns, including a nice 44-yard return. Roscoe Parrish muffed his only punt return, but luckily Sam Aiken fell on it. The coverage units did a decent job. The other problem was a block-in-the-back penalty against an unnamed player which put Buffalo in horrible field position in the 4th quarter and led to the safety. Overall, it was an average day for this unit. It was disappointing for a special teams that you have come to expect so much from. Grade: C+

Coaching: Dick Jauron had this team ready to play. They were more prepared for their opponent than the Patriots were. The problem was the halftime adjustments. New England did make some, whereas Buffalo didn't. The offensive gameplan was very smart and it was nice to finally see a good balance of the run and pass. It would have been nice to see some deep passes though. The defensive gameplan was also good. They had the Patriots a little surprised and seemed to take Tom Brady off his game with all the blitzes. If the injuries didn't occur, they most likely would have won the game. As for the 4th and 1 play, I personally thought it was a great call. When you are playing a team like the Patriots, you have to kick them when they are down. If you don't, they will wake up and pull you to the ground with them. The field goal wouldn't have taken the last breath from the Patriots like a touchdown would have. But that's my personal opinion. Overall, it was a very good game for a young rebuilding team like the Buffalo Bills. If they play like this against Miami, I have no doubt that they will win. Grade: B

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