Bills-Browns Aftermath

Notes, quotes and grades from Buffalo's heartbreaking MNF loss...

NOTES, QUOTES

--WR Lee Evans has suddenly disappeared from the Buffalo offense. The Bills' primary passing-game weapon was invisible in the loss to Cleveland and was held without a catch for the first time in 68 games by a Browns pass defense that ranked 21st in the league entering the Monday night game. Evans now has only six catches for 63 yards in his last three games. It did not help that QB Trent Edwards endured one of the worst games of his career and never seemed capable of finding Evans, but Evans is clearly not getting open. "We need to look at some tape and fix some things here, and see if Lee's open on any of these plays," Edwards said.

--SS Donte Whitner tried his best, but in the end, it could end up costing him more lost playing time. Whitner suffered a separated shoulder on Nov. 2 against the Jets and sat out the Bills' loss to New England. But with the team playing on Monday night, against his hometown Cleveland Browns, Whitner made it a priority to put aside his pain and play. He made it through the first half but never came out of the locker room after the break as he apparently re-injured the shoulder, and this time it could be worse. The Bills also lost starting CB Jabari Greer in the first half to a leg injury, and he could not finish.

Coach Dick Jauron would not elaborate, but he termed the injuries "significant" and that can't be a good thing.

--Rookie CB/KR Leodis McKelvin made quite a prime-time debut against the Browns. He scored the first touchdown of his NFL career on an electrifying 98-yard kickoff return, and he also had returns of 38 and 49 yards. His 185 return yards set a Bills rookie record and tied for the third most in team history. With 1,073 yards on the season, McKelvin is now just 133 yards shy of breaking the team rookie record for kickoff return yards in a season set by Eric Moulds in 1996. The overall record is 1,391 yards by Terrence McGee in 2005.

"I've been waiting for that chance since Week 1," McKelvin said. "If you look at some of the games, I've been one play from scoring. I was just telling the guys, 'Y'all do a great job of blocking for me, I'll get one.'"

The Bills' average drive start after Cleveland's seven kickoffs was their own 40.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

--RB Marshawn Lynch had the best game of his career, as he rushed for 119 yards, his first 100-yard game of the season, and set a personal record with 10 receptions for 58 yards and the first receiving TD of his career.

--QB Trent Edwards had a brutal game, as he threw three interceptions in the first quarter and finished with just 148 passing yards and a passer rating of 50.3.

--WR Steve Johnson was on the field more often than he has been all year, and the rookie made three catches for 41 yards.

--KR Leodis McKelvin scored the first TD of his NFL career when he returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score in the fourth quarter. He finished with 185 kickoff return yards.

--RB Fred Jackson rushed for 60 yards on 12 carries and returned four kickoffs for 61 yards.

REPORT CARD VS. BROWNS

PASSING OFFENSE: D -- It was a brutal night on the national stage for Trent Edwards. He threw three interceptions in the first quarter and finished 16 of 26 for 148 yards with one TD and a passer rating of 50.3. Edwards looked clueless early in the game as he forced passes into areas he shouldn't have been thinking about. He actually had pretty good protection for once and was not sacked, but the Browns were dropping seven and eight men in coverage, and the Buffalo receivers could not get open. WR Lee Evans was blanked for the first time in 68 games, and rookie James Hardy was a non-factor again and was even benched in favor of seventh-round rookie Steve Johnson. RB Marshawn Lynch had 10 of Edwards' 16 completions, but they went for only 58 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- The Bills finally found some room to run, though it came against a Cleveland rush defense that entered the game ranked 26th in the league. With some good push up front, the Bills gained a season-high 186 yards, with Lynch rolling for a season-best 119 on 23 carries with a long of 28. Fred Jackson chipped in 60 yards on 12 carries and even ran a few plays out of Miami's Wildcat formation. Of their 19 first downs, 10 came via the rush, which was a season high.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The Bills did a pretty good job with their blitz package and had good pressure on Brady Quinn much of the game. They only recorded one sack, that by LB Kawika Mitchell, who also had three QB hits, but they forced Quinn to throw a number of passes too early, and he finished just 14 of 36 for 185 yards. However, the Bills were unable to get any interceptions for the third time in four games. Braylon Edwards made some big plays and finished with 104 yards receiving, but the Bills did a nice job limiting Kellen Winslow to three catches for 40 yards. CB Terrence McGee had a nice game, as he broke up six passes and also made six tackles.

RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus -- For the most part it was pretty good, as Jamal Lewis averaged just 3.6 yards per attempt in gaining 65 yards. However, there was a major breakdown on the first play of the fourth quarter as Jerome Harrison broke a 72-yard TD run that gave Cleveland a 23-13 lead. LB Keith Ellison missed a tackle, and FS Ko Simpson took a bad angle and overran the play. Because of that big play, Cleveland gained 161 yards on the ground, becoming only the fourth team to top 100 yards against the Bills this season. Ellison and Paul Posluszny were credited with eight and six tackles, respectively.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- In the end, the play of the game was Rian Lindell's failed 47-yard field goal with 38 seconds left, and Lindell also had a brain cramp when he pooched a kickoff out of bounds at the Browns 43 that helped Cleveland drive to a field goal that made the score 26-20 in the fourth. Leodis McKelvin had a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, his first in the NFL, and he also had returns of 38 and 49 yards. The kickoff coverage unit did a good job controlling Josh Cribbs and limiting him to a 21.3-yard average.

COACHING: C-minus -- When your team is on a four-game losing streak, some of the fault has to lie with the head coach. Dick Jauron was looking pretty smart when the Bills were 5-1, and he's looking pretty ordinary now that his team is 5-5. Jauron has been unable to snap the Bills out of their funk, and their playoff hopes have dimmed considerably. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell did a good job bringing pressures, and offensive coordinator Turk Schonert managed to get a very shaky Edwards through the game after he threw three early interceptions.

Courtesy of The Sports Xchange


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