MMQB: Week 8

The Bills had an unimpressive day against the Dolphins, who humbled them with a 25-16 loss on Sunday. Rich Pulvino breaks down what went wrong for the Bills with his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column...

Quarterback: D-

It may seem that Trent Edwards deserves an F for his performance, but his first half was relatively effective, hence the D- grade. Edwards let his inexperience show today. In the second half, he fumbled when reaching for a first down, he threw an interception when the Bills were driving, and he held the ball too long in the end zone, resulting in a fumble that was recovered for a safety. He was 21 of 35 for 227 yards on the day. A third of those passes went to Lee Evans, meaning that Edwards was not able to spread the ball around like he usually does. So much for being the best fourth quarter quarterback in the NFL.

Running Back: B

Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson both had a pretty productive day. There were only 23 rushing plays called, with the two backs combining for 102 yards. Lynch had 13 carries for 61 yards and a powerful 8-yard touchdown run, giving the Bills a 16-7 lead in the second half. Both backs averaged at least 4 yards a carry. This is something the Bills are going to need every week if they want to win.

Offensive Line: C-

The run blocking was pretty good and the pass protection was satisfactory. The times Edwards was sacked seemed to be a result of holding the ball too long, not because of poor pass protection. There were plenty of plays where the protection was weak and where there were no holes opened up for the run. Against a defense like Miami's, the line should have been much more productive. They must've made a pact with Joey Porter to let him have a game similar to the one he had against New England earlier this year. Stupid holding penalties cost the Bills field position throughout the day… another factor in the offensive struggle during the game.

Tight Ends: D

Robert Royal's fumble on the Bills' last chance to compete sums up the tight ends perfectly. I think there may be a reason Edwards doesn't utilize these guys more often. Derek Schoumann caught a 9-yard pass, I guess that counts for something.

Wide Receivers: C

Lee Evans had a solid day with seven catches for 116 yards. It was great to see James Hardy used early in the game, but after two catches in the first half, his day was done. Josh Reed also only had two catches. Marshawn Lynch had five receptions, making him the second most used receiver on the team. Overall, they were not running the quick open routes Edwards needed to release the ball earlier. Quicker patterns could have made the offense much more unpredictable.

Defensive Line: C+

Ronnie Brown only had 43 yards on the ground and Ricky Williams only had 16 yards on seven carries. The defensive line did well in stopping the run, but when it came to pass rushing, they failed. Chad Pennington had all the time in the world in the pocket and it resulted in him having only eight incompletions. The pass rush needs to improve. By not putting any pressure on the quarterback, the secondary is going to have to work much harder… as shown frequently throughout the game.

Linebackers: C-

Like the defensive line, they did well in stopping the rush. The "Wildcat Offense" did get some first downs for Miami, but overall it was not a gamebreaker. While the line had trouble getting to Pennington, the linebackers had trouble in short coverage. Pennington's quick routes were open all day, resulting in his high completion percentage and 314-yard afternoon. Keith Ellison and Paul Posluszny each had seven tackles, but the linebacking corps was whisper quiet throughout much of the game, proving to be ineffective on any pass rush they took part in.

Secondary: F

Poor Terrence McGee. He did not appear to be 100-percent healthy and it showed every time he got burned by Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn had 175 receiving yards, a career-high. You would think that the secondary would make changes throughout the game, but that never happened. Pennington had a Pro Bowl worthy game, picking apart every defended the Bills had. He finished 22 of 30 with 314 yards and a touchdown. Averaging over 10 yards a completion is unacceptable for a supposedly eighth-ranked pass defense. Bryan Scott had the one high point for the secondary with a sack, but it didn't matter. The secondary stunk something fierce today.

Special Teams: B-

A botched long snap early in the game was nicely recovered by Moorman, resulting a short 22-yard punt, but at least it wasn't a safety… that came later in the game, thanks to Edwards. Rian Lindell had a good day, kicking three for three field goals with a long of 47 yards. Kick return coverage was solid and Leodis McKelvin averaged over 20 yards on returns.

Coaching: C-

A pretty ineffective day for Dick Jauron and his staff, coming on the same day it was announced he received a three year extension on his contract. The first point that didn't make sense in the game was why the Bills decided to use Jackson on the goal line run on the opening drive instead of putting Lynch in to channel his "Beastmode". It resulted in a field goal, but a touchdown on that drive could have made a huge difference. The Bills seemed to make negative adjustments at halftime because the second half was atrocious. The Bills have now lost two of their last three games. They have the Jets and the Patriots coming up and the Bills can't afford to lose either of these games.

rpulvino@gmail.com


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