Report Card: Week 7

BFR analyst Rich Pulvino hands out grades for Sunday's game against the Chargers. Full grade sheet inside...

Quarterback: A+

What concussion? Those who had their doubts about Edwards' being at full health for Sunday's game were quickly proved wrong. Edwards was 25 of 30 on the day, for 261 yards and a touchdown. Interceptions: zero. Number of times sacked: zero. His short, quick passes opened a plethora of doors for the Bills to capitalize on. Edwards found seven different receivers during the game and had impeccable accuracy, proven by his touchdown pass to Lee Evans. Edwards is back, 110 percent healthy, and an intelligent force to be feared throughout the NFL.

Running Backs: B-

The running game is the one remaining aspect of the Bills' game that needs some tweaking. Marshawn Lynch had an impressive 9-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and a 19-yard run for his longest dash of the game. Jackson's play of the day was his crushing block on Lynch's touchdown run. Lynch and Fred Jackson had just over 100 yards rushing combined, but they are still not that powerful of a one-two punch they should, and need to be. The best thing that can be said about them is that they get the most important yards when it matters. Lynch's "Beast Mode" is not a myth, but he needs to remain in that mode throughout an entire game.

Offensive Line: A-

With Edwards back, it seemed that the O-line upped their play a notch. Edwards was barely knocked around and was not sacked once in the game. While the pass protection was perfect, the run blocking still needs some work. They can't seem to open the necessary holes for Lynch and Jackson, resulting in only a mediocre run game. Once this running game is improved, the Bills could very well have one of the best offenses in the AFC.

Tight Ends: B

Robert Royal and Derek Schouman made a little more noise today than usual. Royal had four receptions on the day and Schouman had a nice 18-yard reception on a Buffalo scoring drive before halftime. It's good to see Edwards utilize these targets more, but like the O-line, they need to work on their run blocking.

Wide Receivers: B+

The wide receiver corps had an effective day. Lee Evans led the receivers with eight catches for 89 yards and a jaw-dropping, one-handed touchdown catch. Josh Reed had three solid catches on the day for 32 yards, but the return of Roscoe Parrish did not add too much to the offense. It would be nice to see James Hardy involved in the offense more often. He's 6-5! That needs to be utilized!

Defensive Line: A

The absence of Aaron Schobel did not have that big of an impact on the pass rush. Philip Rivers was feeling the pressure all day. Rushing Rivers and stopping the run game were huge reasons why the Bills won today. Marcus Stroud and Kyle Williams did a great job of finally breaking through the line. After the debacle in Arizona two weeks ago, it seems the defense finally woke up and decided to put some pressure in the backfield. When Schobel returns, it can only mean bigger and better things for this top-10 defense.

Linebackers: A+

Kawika Mitchell is the obvious choice for defensive player of the game. His interception and forced fumble at the end of the fourth quarter were probably the two most important plays of the game, sealing the victory for Buffalo. Paul Posluszny had seven tackles on the day and the linebacker corps as a whole was a huge part in holding Tomlinson to only 41 yards. Tomlinson's past performances against Buffalo have been 100+ yard games, so today was a big step for Buffalo's run defense. If they can stop Tomlinson, Ronnie Brown should not pose a problem next week in Miami.

Secondary: C+/B-

Donte Whitner and crew struggled a little bit today against the top rated passer in the NFL. Rivers threw only seven incomplete passes and had over 200 passing yards with two touchdowns. Jabari Greer led the Bills with eight tackles, meaning that he was having trouble keeping track of Vincent Jackson. While the passing game was relatively stopped compared to San Diego's past performances, Rivers was still able to pick apart the secondary. The pass defense will have an easier time next week against Pennington and his few targets.

Special Teams: B

Rian Lindell missed a field goal, but it was a 52-yarder. He nailed each of his other three attempts, contributing nine points on the day and helped the Bills achieve victory. Leodis McKelvin was quiet on kick returns, averaging less than 20 yards a return. Roscoe Parrish had one punt return and it was only for five yards. Brian Moorman only had to punt twice and he averaged over 50 yards for the each of them. While Moorman is an all-star punter, the less he is used in a game is a good sign for the Bills offense.

Coaching: A

With the power flickering on and off throughout the game, Dick Jauron and crew did a phenomenal job in communicating with the players on the field. The headsets were not working the entire game so hand signals were important in getting their messages across. The Bills defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, usually calls the game from the box, but since the power was out he was down on the sideline the entire game. Jauron, Fewell, and offensive coordinator Turk Schonert all called a fantastic game. The offensive play calling let Trent Edwards shine and the defense was close to lights out on the NFL's highest scoring team. Jauron's 93 percent approval rating on ESPN.com is definitely accurate. He's done an outstanding job in guiding, shaping, and improving the NFL's youngest team. And it looks like the best is yet to come.

rpulvino@gmail.com


Buffalo Football Report Top Stories