A pretty bad day for Trent Edwards. A late touchdown to James Hardy didn't help the fact that he threw two interceptions, held the ball too long in the pocket, and was inaccurate throughout the entire game. He was a dismal 13 of 23 for only 120 yards. In the last three games, Edwards has turned the ball over six times. This is one of the main reasons why the Bills have been struggling so much lately. If Edwards continues this trend, the Bills will continue to lose, end of story.
Running Backs: D
Another week and another non-existent game for the Buffalo running backs. Marshawn Lynch had 14 carries for 46 yards and Fred Jackson had only four carries for 14 yards. The Bills running game has dissipated the past three weeks. If the running game is effective, the Bills have been able to pull off wins. Gaining 60 yards on the ground is not going to intimidate any defense in the NFL.
Offensive Line: F
The fact that Edwards was only sacked twice during the game is the high point for the most overpaid and under-talented offensive lines in the NFL. Brad Butler's absence is obviously impacting this group more than expected. No holes were opened up for the running game, resulting in about three yards per carry. Edwards hardly ever had enough time in the pocket to find his receivers. The "revamping" of this line last year seems to have been a big miscue in the Bills front office.
Tight Ends: C-
Two. Count ‘em: two receptions on the day for the least effective position on the team. Robert Royal and Derek Schouman can also be counted in the awful run blocking that was consistent throughout the game. This position is in need of a huge overhaul in the off-season.
Wide Receivers: C-
Roscoe Parrish was the go-to man today with four receptions for 31 yards, including one that involved causing three missed tackles to battle for a first down. The third highest paid receiver in the NFL, Lee Evans, had only two receptions and was not a factor for the Bills' offense today. Good to see Hardy involved in game at the end of the fourth quarter, but it was a too-little-too-late effort and it happened only because Leodis McKelvin set them up on a great kick return.
Defensive Line: D
Pass rush? Nope, nothing, nada. The Bills have not had a pass rush all season, giving the worst of quarterbacks plenty of time to find their receivers. Matt Cassel is nowhere near being the worst quarterback in the league, so it was surprising to see absolutely no pressure put on him. Run defense? That fell apart today too, resulting in BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushing for 105 yards. The defense is hurting these past three games as much as the offense has been. Ryan Denney had two impressive batted-down passes today, as well as a team-leading 11 tackles.
Here's a surprise: The one time the Bills blitzed today, it resulted in a sack AND a Matt Cassel fumble. It seems that if something like this worked once, it may work again or at least be worth trying. The linebackers were bowled-over today, letting Green-Ellis have his way with what started as a top linebacking corps at the beginning of the season. Kawika Mitchell and Paul Posluszny both had at least 10 tackles, but when the running back is already six or seven yards past the line of scrimmage, it doesn't seem too impressive. You knew it was going to be a long day when they left Cassel that huge, canyon-sized hole for his first rushing touchdown on the season.
It appeared as if Wes Welker was left uncovered all day. He had 10 receptions for 107 yards, with about half of those yards coming after the catch. How many games do Bills fans have to watch the zone defense not work? The past three weeks, the Bills have been playing zone and have been picked apart by all three division rivals. The high point for the secondary today was two impressive pass deflections by Terrence McGee when covering Randy Moss. Whoop-dee-doo.
Special Teams: B
Brian Moorman had a 60 yard punt in the air when going against the wind. The Bills' most talented player did his part in giving the Patriots a long field to work with, but the defense let him down in their efforts. Leodis McKelvin had some good returns, including a season-best, 85-yard return in the fourth quarter. Lindell remains perfect when kicking from less than 40 yards and had a decent attempt at an on-sides kick, that looked like the Patriots grabbed first, but the replay booth didn't have the best view and the call could've gone either way.
Perry Fewell needs to realize that the zone coverage on defense has not been working the past three weeks. When the Bills send blitz packages, and leave the secondary in man-to-man coverage, the opponents' pass offense usually suffers. Turk Schonert needs to look at his game plan and start including the running backs. Dick Jauron and crew struggled throughout the entire game. Whether it was not challenging a questionable long pass on the Pats' first drive or calling timeouts at inappropriate times, Jauron and company need to be on their toes, especially when playing a team like the Patriots.