Bills/49ers: Notes from the line (shorter, lazy man format)

During the first half I wasn’t at all surprised to see the 49ers dropping back into coverage. After all, it’s worked out well for the past slew of opponents. They came on 5 blitzes in the first half, which resulted in 3 completions, 36 yards and 2 first downs. When I saw J.P. Losman warming up on the sideline before the second half I figured (wrongly) that San Fran would throw everything they had at him. After all, Losman does a pretty good impression of a frightened turtle when blitzed. I was stunned when I went back over the game and saw nary a second half blitz. Miami will not make that mistake. They know Losman is going to start and, unlike Mike "My crazy eyes are no match for my crazy halftime antics" Singletary, the Dolphins know Losman. I fully expect them to keep 8 in the box and simply dare Losman to enrage Dick Jauron by going long to Lee Evans early and often. And, yeah, I expect Losman to oblige them. Indoors in Canada is a lot different than outdoors in the rain at The Ralph. Let’s all hope Losman impresses some team with his tremendously powerful and accurate deep ball when the Dolphins stack the box and send the house on blitzes.

I think Jason Peters knew Tony Boselli was watching. He had the best game I think I’ve ever seen in terms of run blocking. He had 16 good plays, 7 decent ones, 1 bad one and 1 killed play. That grades out at an astounding 87.5%. If Pro Bowl voters ignore the first half of the season and focus on how he’s done over the last 4 games he might actually get a paid trip to Hawaii. He routinely planted guys or drove them 3-5 yards. His block on Marshawn Lynch’s 50 yard run was a thing of beauty. All 94 could do before being slammed to the turf was stick his left arm out in Lynch’s general direction. Peters had a solid game in pass protection. He had 42 decent pass plays, 1 bad one and 1 killed play. That killed play was pass 21, the first pass of the last drive of the first half. 54 got around him and hit Trent Edwards as he threw, causing an errant pass… not that Edwards needed help with errant passes…

Derrick Dockery had a great day as well. He had 10 good run plays, 12 decent ones, 2 bad ones and no killed plays. That grades out as 81.7%. Maybe he and Peters were reminding each other that Boselli was watching. It was easily Dock’s best performance as a Bill. He was no slouch in pass blocking either. He had one good play (Derek Schouman’s fumble recovery), 41 decent ones, 1 bad one and 1 killed play. That play, pass 28, was his illegal block in the back on Roscoe Parrish’s screen. Even as the play happened live I groaned. Unlike the phantom calls on Leodis McKelvin, that one was well deserved.

The good news doesn’t exactly continue with Duke Preston. He had 3 good run plays, 11 decent ones, 10 bad ones and 2 killed plays. The 1:3 ratio of good to bad plays was, sadly, an actual improvement over the past two weeks when his ratios were 1:9.5 (Browns) and 1:8 (KC). Even with that qualifier, his grade was still a dismal 69.2%. Believe it or not, that horrifying grade is actually a touch lower than his overall season grade. In pass protection, he had 39 decent plays, 4 bad ones and 2 killed plays. His 4 bad plays were the equivalent of all other linemen combined…and the other 4 guys had 3 killed plays combined. Buffalo so needs a center…

Brad Butler had a solid game. He had 6 good run plays, 14 decent ones, 4 bad ones and 2 killed plays. That comes out to 76.7%. Better still for Butler’s fans, he actually managed to play every snap. He had 42 decent pass plays and 1 bad one. That one, pass 41, was a sack on the desperation drive…though Butler’s guy didn’t get the sack. Instead, when Butler’s guy got close to Losman — just before Butler drove him to the ground — Losman ducked his head like a frightened turtle and started running into the back of every offensive lineman he could find.

Langston Walker likewise turned in another decent game. He had 6 good run plays, 16 decent ones, 2 bad ones and no killed plays. That grades out at 78.3%. He had 42 decent pass plays, 1 bad one and 1 killed one. That play, pass 24, was a well justified holding penalty.

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