Bills grade poorly across the board

After further review, the Bills' loss Sunday was as bad as it looked. Here's the position-by-position breakdown...

Quarterback: C-

Before leaving the game with a groin injury at halftime, Trent Edwards was not exactly on his game, completing less than 50 percent of his passes. J.P. Losman was not better in relief, as he appeared lost in the pocket, despite the considerable time he was given to pass. He was sacked three times, the final instance being an inexcusable sack that kept the clock running on the Bills' final chance to score with less than two minutes left in the game. The passing game as a whole failed to pose a scoring threat, but was not responsible for any turnovers, either.

Running Backs: B

Marshawn Lynch had his most effective day of the season, especially impressive against a stout 3-4 defense. He rushed for 134 yards on only 16 carries, but did lose a fumble. His 50-yard scamper in the third quarter set up the Bills' only points on the day. Fred Jackson struggled to break the line of scrimmage, rushing for only 8 yards. He was stopped on a 3rd-and-1 in the red zone for a loss, forcing the Bills to unsuccessfully try to convert a 4th-and-2.

Receivers/Tight Ends: B

Lee Evans and Josh Reed were effective between the 20s against a soft San Francisco secondary, combining for 138 yards on 12 catches. Derek Schouman filled in well in protection and in the receiving game for the injured Robert Royal. No receivers could find open space in the end zone on the instances when the Bills were passing inside the 49ers' 10-yard line.

Offensive Line: B+

The Bills did manage to win the battle in the trenches for the most part. Edwards and Losman had a lot of time to throw the ball on their dropbacks, and the line created huge creases for Lynch which led to a few long runs. Derrick Dockery should be commended for recovering a Schouman fumble late in the game, which was the result of the Left Guard's hustle downfield. The Losman sacks were not the result of a complete lack of protection.

Defensive Line: B

Finally, a pass rush sans Aaron Schobel. The defensive line sacked Shaun Hill three times and forced two Frank Gore fumbles. The line's strong play forced Mike Martz to give up on the run early in the second half, and keyed the defense's strong overall performance; the Niners were held to 195 total yards.

Linebackers: C

Nothing of note for the linebacking corps in this one. Their crowding of the box slowed the San Francisco run game, and the Bills were able to get some pressure with a four-man rush. No big plays, no major gaffes.

Defensive Backs: D

Leodis McKelvin was exposed a true rookie corner in this one, although a few questionable pass-interference calls in third downs didn't help his cause. Isaac Bruce out- maneuvered McKelvin for the game's only touchdown on the Niners' opening drive. Without Donte Whitner, the secondary seemed to be lacking in swagger, as the DBs were nowhere to be found on floating passes that were opportunities for interceptions.

Special Teams: F

There's no excuse for missing a 20-yard field goal in the NFL under any circumstances. The early shank was obviously in Rian Lindell's head, as he pushed a 40-yard attempt wide in the 4th quarter. Brian Moorman was less than stellar, letting a few punts slip off the side of his foot. McKelvin did have a positive return on his one opportunity. Roscoe Parrish was largely negated in the punting game, and fielded a punt inside the 5, which he failed to get out past the 10. It seems when the Bills lose this aspect, they tend to lose the game.

Coaching: F

Failed execution in the red zone cost the Bills this one. They penetrated the San Francisco 20-yard line four times and scored 3 points. Less than two touchdowns should be inexcusable, let alone three drives that netted zero points. Turk Schonert's playcalling was questionable at best, as every long run was immediately followed by a very similar play that was stopped for a loss. Lining up Jackson at FB in the I formation and handing him the ball? Baffling, and not for the Niners. The inability to get plays in without using up timeouts still lingers.


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