Bills/Browns: Notes From the Line

Welcome back Brad Butler! Oh, how you have been missed.  Also, welcome back Pro Bowl form Jason Peters. Where have you been hiding?

I was one of those people who was completely mystified by Derek Fine’s selection in the draft. I thought we pretty much already had him on the roster under another name (Derek Schouman) and really wanted Buffalo to pick up a stud FB with that pick. Ooops. While the FB position remains an issue Corey (McIntyre does make contact—an improvement over Barnes—but he either plows into the backs of teammates or fails to stop a defender even when he generates a good pop.) I’m seeing why Buffalo expended a pick on Fine. He’s a hell of a blocker. He was on the field more than Robert Royal, which kind of suggests that Royal’s days in Buffalo are numbered. He won’t blow anyone away with his receiving numbers (he had one catch for 6 yards and couldn’t dig an errant Trent Edwards’ throw out of the dirt) but he’s tenacious in the trenches.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game in which a defense didn’t blitz at all. Ever. Well, I have now. They never sent more than 4 defenders and only sent that many on 10 of 30 (33.3%) of pass plays. Edwards faced 8 man coverage schemes 66.7% of the time. The Browns also didn’t stack the box often—just 5 of 36 (13.9%) of the time. On those runs (5, 10, 26, 33, 36) the Bills picked up (3, 19, -1, 1 TD, 2) 24 yards, or 4.8 ypa. That sort of defense just screams run, and run Buffalo did—6 more times than they passed.

We all (I think) acknowledge that Duke Preston isn’t a starting quality center. While Buffalo had their most productive game on the ground (180 yards), Preston had an absolutely miserable game. He had 2 good run plays, 15 decent ones, an eye-popping 19 bad ones and 4 killed plays. That grades out at a horrible 65.5%. Rogers bent him over and made Preston his woman….even when Preston initially had help from Derrick Dockery or Butler.  While I have heaped scorn (well deserved, I think) on Dick Jauron for his uber-conservative play calling at the end of the game, I hadn’t yet realized how badly Preston played on that final series. He helped kill that drive and Buffalo’s chances of winning the game. My guess is that Jauron told him the center job is his to lose—and he’s lost it. Look for Buffalo to finally address the position in the off-season, quite possibly through free agency AND the draft.

Fair warning: I will be on the east coast over the Thanksgiving holiday so I almost certainly won’t be able to break down this Sunday’s game until sometime down the road. I’m guessing it will be something I do over Christmas break….after I get back from Vegas.

The rest of my rambling is after the jump, which Kurupt was nice enough to tell me how to do....

Drive 1

Pass 1 INT

Rogers got his hand up and deflected it. One of the 8 defenders in coverage was able to pick it off. I pin the blame on Dock. He, Preston and Butler all had Rogers smooshed in between them. However, Dock let Rogers get his right arm up.

Drive killed by Dock

Drive 2

Run 1 Lynch for 1 yard through the right B gap

Peters got a 2 yard push on 91. Dock missed 52 at the 2nd level and 52 made the tackle. Preston was pushed 4 yards into the backfield, rerouting the play. Butler missed 54 at the 2nd level and he was in on the tackle. 99 shed Walker and was in on the tackle.

Pass 2 Parrish 21 yards

Pass 3 scramble for 2 yards

The Browns sent 4 and somehow Lynch wound up 1-on-1 with 55. Lynch couldn’t sustain the block so Edwards took off.

Pass 4 INT

Butler and Walker did a terrific job of seamlessly handing off defenders when they tried a stunt. The INT was all on Edwards.

Drive killed by Edwards.

Drive 3

Run 2 Lynch 6 yards through left B gap

Peters got a 2 yard drive on 91. Dock and Preston doubled 92 and turned him out of the hole. Butler pulled and popped 52 in the hole, which kept him from filling. Walker drove 99 4 yards.

Run 3 Lynch 4 yards through left C gap

Peters faked a pass block and drove 97 3 yards. Dock blocked 91. Preston and Butler doubled 92. Walker pushed 99 3 yards.

Run 4 Lynch -1 yards through A gap

Peters got a little drive on 91, only about a yard. Dock tried to help Preston with 92 but 92 swam past Preston’s right shoulder (away from Dock) so fast he got the TFL. Butler chipped 99 and then picked up 52 at the 2nd level. Walker drove 99 2 yards.

Pass 5 Lynch 4 yards

It was a screen pass against 7 guys in coverage.

Pass 6 Lynch no gain

Dock ran out to the flat and picked off 55, not that it was enough to help. Edwards had over 4 seconds to find someone, anyone.

Drive killed by Edwards inability to find anyone to throw to never mind plenty of time.

Drive 4

Run 5 Lynch for 3 yards through left B gap against 8 man front

Peters drove 97 3 yards and planted him. Dock helped Preston with 71 then shed and hit 52. As soon as Dock had moved on, 71 brushed Preston aside and got in on the tackle. Butler never let 93 get his shoulders turned and drove him 4 yards. Walker kept 96 from getting off the line with help from Fine. Schouman did a nice job on 95. McIntyre popped 54 but didn’t knock him back.

Run 6 Lynch 4 yards through left B gap

Peters pancaked 97 again, after driving him 7 yards downfield. Dock locked up 52 at the 2nd level. Preston got a 1 yard push on 92, but he was still in on tackle. Butler helped Preston with 92 and then Walker with 93. Walker got a 3 yard push on 93.

WASTED TIME OUT

Pass 7 INT

Edwards could have easily scrambled for a 1st down but he didn’t even have to do that. Lynch was standing out in the flat and the nearest defender was 10 yards away…while Lynch was 2 yards from the sticks.

Drive killed by Edwards INT, not to mention his failure to scramble or throw to a wide open Lynch.

Drive 5

Run 7 Lynch for 2 yards through the left B gap

Peters turned 91 in circles. Dock pulled and fell down trying to block 54. Preston got immediate help from Butler but, when Butler went to the 2nd level in a futile attempt to block 52, 92 bounced Preston back a full yard and took off after Lynch. Walker stalemated 99. Fine had a good block on 54.

Run 8 Lynch for 5 yards through the A gap

Peters stopped 91 long enough for Lynch to get by but 91 was still in on tackle. Dock hit 52 at the 2nd level and drove him 2 yards but 52 was still in on the tackle. 92 beat Preston over his left shoulder and when Lynch went right 92 beat Preston (again) over his right shoulder to get in on the tackle. Butler and Walker teamed up on 99.

Pass 8 dropped by Johnson

Edwards hit him right between the numbers and Johnson had enough for the first down. Johnson wanted the ball a bit earlier than it was thrown but, still, catch the ball.

Drive killed by Johnson

Drive 6

Run 9 Lynch for 2 yards through left C gap (idiotic wildcat)

Peters blocked 91. Dock and Preston started out together on 92 until Preston went on to block 54. Dock held his own. Butler never let 99 turn his shoulders and drove him across the formation. Walker lined up as the left TE. He blocked 91 with Peters. Fine was the RT.

Pass 9 Lynch 4 yards

95 took Peters to Edwards. Butler tried to help Preston with 92 but 92 was by Preston so quickly Butler couldn’t get to him.

Run 10 Jackson for 19 yards through the A gap against an 8 man front

Peters turned 95 away from the line. Dock did a great job on 92 1-on-1 (See, Preston? It is possible…) and didn’t let him turn back into the run lane. Meanwhile, Preston was blocking 99, who pushed Preston back so far that Preston almost clogged the run lane. Butler shielded 52 from the play and Walker blocked a DB (???). Royal missed a block on a LB.

Run 11 Jackson for 17 yards through left B gap

Peters shielded 54 away from the play at the 2nd level and created the run lane. Dock and Preston initially teamed up on 92. Dock took over and drove him 5 yards down the line. Preston tried to cut 52 but missed, though it did force 52 to chase the play. Butler chucked 93 and blocked 55. Walker tossed 93 out of the play. Royal got enough of 91 to slow him down and keep him out of the play.

Run 12 Jackson for -1 yard through the A gap

Peters drove 91 3 yards. Dock helped with 91 then blocked now one and instead kind of hopped around. Preston got no movement on 92, was pushed past the run lane and then 92 fell on a suddenly thinner Jackson. Butler hit 52 at the 2nd level and held his jersey (no flag). Walker took 93 e yards off the line. Royal whiffed on 55, who was in on the tackle.

Pass 10 Lynch 18 yard TD

It was mostly Lynch and his nose for the end zone but he did have some help. Peters got downfield and pushed the pile into the end zone. Dock got downfield and got enough of a pop on 95 to keep him from stopping Lynch short of the goal line.

Drive ended in TD.

Drive 7

Run 13 Jackson 1 yard through the A gap (idiotic wildcat)

Peters helped Dock with 91 and then missed a LB at the 2nd level. 91 got inside of Dock and was in on the tackle. 71 drove Preston to the ground and was in on the tackle. Butler pulled but was too slow to react to 54 filling. Walker blocked 99.

Pass 11 Johnson for 11 yards

Run 14 Lynch 8 yards through left B gap

Peters pushed 91 7 yards. Dock locked up 54 and opened lane. Preston danced with 71. Butler hit 52 at the 2nd level and 52 got in on the tackle. Walker kept 99 out of the play. Schouman missed a block on 55 while Fine did a great job on 96.

Run 15 Jackson 8 yards through A gap

Peters blocked 95 and Dock blocked 97. Preston went to the 2nd level and blocked 54, mainly by holding his jersey (no flag). Butler rolled 92 to the ground. Walker turned 99, who then had to chase the play to get in on the tackle. McIntyre hit 52, who made the tackle anyway. Fine did a good job on 55.

Pass 12 Fine 7 yards

Run 16 Lynch -1 yard through the A gap

Peters and Fowler somehow got tangled up and both fell down. Preston was turned in circles by 92. Butler blocked 52 at the 2nd level and kept going until the whistle. Walker got no drive on 99.

Run 17 Jackson 6 yards through right C gap (idiotic wildcat—did I mention I hate it?)

Peters didn’t really block anyone. Dock blocked 99 and slowed down 92 with help from Fine. 92 had already slid past Preston, who then missed a cut on 52. Butler got a poor block on 54 who almost got a TFL—which would have killed the drive. Walker pulled but had to stop to get Shouman’s guy (who Schouman had flat out missed) out of the way. Johnson did a good job of keeping a DB off of Jackson.

Pass 13 INC deflected

Dock and Peters didn’t keep 97 from elevating. It’s not a killed play because it looked like the pass was going to be an INT. Butler meanwhile planted 92.

Pass 14 Lynch 10 yards

If Losman had thrown the pass people would be calling for his head. It was just awful.

Pass 15 scramble for 4 yards

Pass 16 INC

Edwards threw it too late and was fortunate not to have it picked off. Parrish could have done a better job fighting for it.

Pass 17 INC

Edwards threw it away after 5 seconds.

Drive killed by Edwards inaccurate passes though the Bills got a FG to go in at the half.

Drive 8

Run 18 Lynch 4 yards through the left C gap

Peters got a 1 yard push on 91. Dock chipped 92 then locked up 51 at the 2nd level. Immediately after Dock left 92 slammed Preston to the ground. Butler and Walker teamed up on 99.

Pass 18 Lynch 3 yards

92 split Dock and Preston to get to Edwards.

Pass 19 Johnson 21 yards

Walker did a fantastic job of keeping the DE from getting his hands up or elevating. Maybe Dock took some notes…

Run 19 Lynch 4 yards through the right C gap

Peters drove 97 3 yards. Dock helped Preston with 92 and then got enough of 52 to keep him from catching Lynch. Preston was driven back 3 yards after Dock left. Butler missed 54 at the 2nd level, rerouting the play. 99 pushed into Walker, who let him. Walker then put 99 down and dropped on top of him. Fine didn’t sustain his block on 55 but kept him busy until Lynch was past.

Run 20 Jackson 2 yards through left B gap and then fumbled

Peters drove 95 2 yards. Dock was pushed back 1 yard by 97. Preston kept 71 from penetrating. Butler turned 54 and never let him get turned around and planted him at the end of the play. Walker kept 99 away from the play. Schouman popped 52 hard enough to set him back 2 yards (See, McIntyre? It is possible…) but didn’t stay engaged.

Drive killed by Jackson

Drive 9

Pass 20 Lynch 1 yard

Dock, Preston and Butler tripled 92.

Pass 21 Scramble for 7 yards.

Peters ruined it for the Bills with illegal hands to the face. Preston and Butler put 92 down. It would have been a first down based on defensive holding if not for Peters.

Pass 22 thrown away

Edwards never turned his head to the right where the WRs were even though he had 4 seconds.

Pass 23 Lynch for 13 yards

It was another awful pass. Butler got upfield far enough to get a piece of 21 which kept him from making the tackle.

Run 21 Jackson 7 yards through A gap

Peters drove 97 3 yards and then gave him a shove when he turned around to chase the play. Dock engulfed 52 and drove him 4 yards. Preston got a 2 yard drive on 71. Butler and Walker teamed up on 93. Fine did a terrific job on 96 and kept after him through the whistle just bull dogging him. Schouman had a decent block on 95.

Run 22 Jackson 3 yards through the left C gap

Peters turned 97 out of the hole. Dock with to the 2nd level and hit 54 but he still was in on the tackle. Preston got no drive on 71, who was in on tackle. Butler hit 52 at the 2nd level and wouldn’t let him go. Walker drove 93 2 yards. 51 beat Fine’s block but couldn’t get in on the tackle. Schouman hit 96 well after the play and could have drawn a flag.

Pass 24 INC

It was another horrible pass from Edwards.

Run 23 Lynch 14 yards through the left C gap

Peters got a 2 yard drive on 97. Dock helped with 71 and then got a piece of 54. Preston got no drive on 71. Butler locked up 93 while Walker didn’t really block anyone. McIntyre plowed into the backs of Butler and Preston. Fine did a fine (Nyuck! Nyuck!) job on 51 to open the run lane.

Run 24 Jackson 6 yards through left C gap

Peters locked up 93 and then turned him in circles. Walker helped Preston with 92 and then got a piece of 54. Preston didn’t get murdered when left alone with 92. Butler pulled and hit 52 in the hole…and then got up gimpy. Walker stalemated 99.

Run 25 Jackson 2 yards through left B gap

Peters locked up 93. Dock hit 52 at the 2nd level and drove him 2 yards. Preston was driven 4 yards by 92, who promptly jumped on Jackson’s back. It was a likely first down if Jackson hadn’t been trying to carry 400 pounds while he ran. Butler hit 54 at the 2nd level. Walker drove 99 3 yards. Schouman did enough to keep 95 ouf of the lane and Fine did another great job on 55.

Run 26 Lynch -1 yards through left C gap against 8 man front

Peters pushed 93 back 2 yards. Dock was pushed back 1 yard by 92. Preston went to the 2nd level and didn’t block anyone. He did watch 52 run right past him. Butler pulled and popped a filling 21 in the hole. Walker locked up 99. McIntyre danced with 55, neither making much contact. Fine did a good job at first on 95 but he did get in on the tackle.

Drive killed by Preston on the 2nd down play.

Drive 10

Run 27 Lynch 14 yards through right C gap

Peters blocked 95 and Dock blocked 9. Preston and Butler doubled 92. 99 slid off of Walker’s block and almost had a TFL. Royal never really blocked anyone.

Run 28 Lynch 3 yards through left B gap

Peters didn’t get much push on 97. Dock went to the 2nd level and pretended he was a DT and 52 was Preston. Immediately after the snap 92 slammed his arm down on Preston’s back dropping him to the ground. Butler thought he’d be helping Preston and instead had to jump over Preston and ride 92 down the line. Walker pushed 99 down the line. Fine did a solid job on 55. 55, by the way, was offsides but no flag was thrown.

Pass 25 Lynch 10 yards

Schouman had a fantastic block on 55 to let Lynch make it to the sticks.

Run 29 Jackson 1 yard through the A gap

Peters drove 97 4 yards. Dock went to the 2nd level and hit 54. Preston got no push on 71. Butler blocked 99 and Walker locked up 55. Fine had a good block on 95. McIntyre blocked 52 but he was still in on the tackle.

Pass 26 Jackson 3 yards

Preston was holding and flagged for it. To make matters worse, he still didn’t stop 71 from getting to Edwards. Plus, he pushed the Bills out of field goal range. Well done.

Pass 27 INC

Edwards waited until the coverage had a chance to get next to Royal before throwing the ball because it wouldn’t have been fair to throw to a wide open guy. He had 4 seconds but never even looked to his left

Pass 28 Lynch -5 yards

Edwards again didn’t look to his left.

Drive killed by Preston’s holding penalty

Drive 11

Run 30 Lynch 3 yards through left B gap

Peters got a good push on 97 and then handed him off to Dock, who kept him moving. Peters meanwhile switched to blocking 54. Preston was shoved back 2 yards by 92. Butler helped with 92 and Walker kept 99 out of the play. Fine did another good job on 95 and rode him down at the end of the play. McIntyre did no particular good.

Pass 29 Johnson 10 yard

Run 31 Lynch 6 yards through the A gap

Peters locked up 97 and drove him 3 yards. He kept with him when he tried to turn away from the block. Dock wiped 52 out of the hole and flattened him. Preston held his ground against 92—no push either way. Butler went to the 2nd level and took out 54. Walker locked up 99. At the end of the play, 99 raised his arms in frustration—he wasn’t held, though he whined about it later. Schouman got an okay block on 95. Fine, meanwhile, never let 55 get off the line.

Run 32 Lynch 28 yards through right B gap

Peters drove 93 6 yards and kept him from chasing Lynch. Dock helped with 92 and then drove 54 3 yards. Right after Dock left Preston alone, 92 got around him and hit Lynch in the backfield—almost a TFL. Butler drove 52 8 yards while Walker drove 99 7 yards. Fine put 95 down and Schouman did a good job on 55.

Run 33 Edwards 1 yard TD

Peters took 93 into the endzone. Dock and Preston took 92 into the endzone. Butler and Walker got no push at all.

Drive ended in a TD

Drive 12

Pass 30 Royal 22 yards

Run 34 Lynch 2 yards through right B gap

Peters got a 3 yard push on 97. Dock helped with 92 and then hit 52. Preston was dumped by 92 who made the tackle. Butler turned 99 out of the lane. Walker tried to get 54 at the 2nd level but wasn’t fast enough. Fine did an okay job on 55 but he was in on tackle. 95 beat Schouman’s block almost immediately. Lynch had room to roam on the left and would have had more yards if he could have cut it back—if, in other words, Preston hadn’t been beaten by 92.

Run 35 Lynch 2 yards through A gap

Peters bounced 97 off the line and then tried to get to 52. Dock pitched into 97 and turned him around completely. 92 destroyed Preston, meaning Lynch had to dodge both 92’s tackle and Preston’s crumpled body. Butler hit 54 at the 2nd level and drove him in a circle away from the play. Walker locked up 99 again, who complained (baselessly) about being held.

Run 36 Lynch 2 yards through left C gap against 8 man front.

Peters started on 97 and then went to block 54 but wasn’t fast enough. Dock kept 97 out of the play. Preston was crushed again by 92. Butler hit 52 at the 2nd level and kept him out of the play. Walker was beaten by 99, who got in on the tackle. Fine did a good job initially against 95 but was tossed aside and 95 was in on the tackle. McIntyre really didn’t block anyone.

Drive killed by Preston’s ineptitude and cowardly play calling.

Peters ended the game with 14 good run plays, 20 decent ones, 2 bad ones and no killed run plays. He had 1 good pass play, 26 decent ones, 3 bad ones, 1 killed pass play and was helped once.

Dock had 11 good run plays, 20 decent ones, 4 bad ones and no killed run plays. He had 2 good pass play, 26 decent ones, 2 bad ones, and 1 killed pass play.Preston had 2 good run plays, 15 decent ones, 19 bad ones and 4 killed run plays. He had 1 good pass play, 27 decent ones, 2 bad ones, and 1 killed pass play.

Butler had 8 good run plays, 23 decent ones, 5 bad ones and no killed run plays. He had 4 good pass play, 26 decent ones, 0 bad ones, and 0 killed pass play.

Walker had 8 good run plays, 24 decent ones, 4 bad ones and no killed run plays. He had 2 good pass play, 27 decent ones, 1 bad ones, and 0 killed pass play.

The Bills ran 9 times for 36 (4.0) yards through the left C gap, 9 times for 48 (5.3) yards through the left B gap, 12 times for 36 (3.9) yards through the A gap, 3 times for 31 (10.3) yards through the right B gap, and 3 times for 24 (8.0) yards through the right C gap. Basically, the team ran where it wanted to run in spite of Preston’s poor play. Imagine what the team could do with a real center!

Pounding the ball is in keeping with Jauron’s overall philosophy so look for the Bills to hammer away this Sunday in Kansas City. As you can see, 12 of the 36 (33%) runs went to the edges so I’d look for that to continue since it was well balanced with their B gap runs (12 of 36) and A gap runs (12 of 36). Hmmm….where is Buffalo going to run it on any given play? With no real tendency to study from this game the Chiefs will have to look at where the Bills have run it this year.  The Bills, so far this year, have run left 96 times for 4.6 ypa, up the middle 80 times for 2.9 ypa, and to the right 70 times for 4.1 ypa. So, yeah, Buffalo likes to run left for the obvious reason that they get their highest ypa there. However, the Bills have committed to pounding it up the middle more often than they have run right even though they don’t get as good of a return. Why? It makes defenses play honestly and over time that pays off in big run plays to the outside.

Also, I read somewhere on the page a discussion about whether it’s novel that Edwards is facing 7-8 man coverage schemes. If Edwards and the coaches aren’t preparing for 7-8 man coverage schemes then they’re idiots. 4 consecutive opponents have used the exact same overall defense and gotten the exact same result—a win. What’s the 5th defense going to do? Duh! Kids with cognitive disabilities are smart enough to catch on to that sort of pattern. Yes, you can say the Dolphins were unorthodox since they were the first but by the middle of the Jets game Edwards and the coaches should have had it figured out. I’d be amazed if the Chiefs do anything other than drop 7-8 into coverage a minimum of 80% of the time.

Happy Turkey Day everyone.

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