A very encouraging win for the Bills today, but for much of the game I didn't feel like the Bills were dominating and completely in control. It was actually one of the most frustrating routes of a team I've seen. Here's why:
Marshawn Lynch: he played very well today (+100 yards, duh). The only knock I have on his game is that he dances too much sometimes at the LOS. It becomes even more evident when Jackson comes in the game and attacks the LOS and hits the hole hard. Lynch is a rookie so I give him a pass, of course. He has plenty of time learn how to play at the NFL level, I would just like to see him dance more at the second level rather than the first (or the end zone for that matter).
Penalties: 8 penalties for 64 yards is unacceptable. And the the worst part is that at least half of those penalties ruined big plays, particularly Roscoe's return and a nice 3rd down conversion. You could see the look on Jauron's face when the penalties were flying, I hope that officiating crew is not welcomed back to Buffalo any time soon.
Tackling: the Bills tackling made Samkon Gado look like a Pro Bowl RB at times. All 3 of Gado's game-breaking plays were a result of poor tackling. I'm going to have to call out George Wilson and Jim Leonhard on this one. We haven't had a reliable tackler at FS since KO Simpson has gone down. I'm anxious to see if the Bills move Donte to FS next season and give John Wendling a shot at SS.
Overall: the Bills played pretty well and deserve a grade of B for their performance. Points deducted for penalties, a TO, and only converting 33% of 3rd downs against a defense at the bottom of the league. Also, the Bills were aided A LOT by the putrid Phish miscues (muffed punts, botched snaps, the ball slipping out of Beck's hand, etc.)
On the upside: Trent Edwards was phenomenal. His completion percentage on the day does not reflect his accuracy in the bad weather as there were several drops in the game. The only play that got away from Edwards was a pass over the middle to a wide open Roscoe. After seeing Trent finally hit one deep to Lee (a perfect pass in gnarly weather) I know we have a QB who can make all of the throws. Most impressive about Trent's play is his decision-making. He only tried to squeeze one ball into coverage that he shouldn't have. Otherwise, his execution was excellent, we just need our receivers to make more plays.
Fred Jackson was excellent again, looking forward to seeing him continue to split time with Marshawn.
Cleveland: the only thing that scares me about Cleveland is Kellen Winslow. We don't have ANY LB's who can match up with him. I don't know if any teams have a LB that can cover him. Our defense is terrible against teams that utilize their TE's. I'm not worried about their running game or even Braylon Edwards very much. But I know we won't be playing as much Cover 2 against Cleveland because Donte Whitner will be very busy with Kellen Winslow.