Notes from the Bills' Line: Bills 27, Bears 20

Talk about great frustrations! The NFL Network decided, for reasons that only they will ever pretend to understand, continued to televise the scrubs from the worst team in NFL history instead of flipping over to the Bills-Bears contest, which was then featuring the first teamers for Chicago and Buffalo. As a result, I completely missed the entire first series, which included four runs and two passes. While I managed not to destroy my television, I did have plenty of foul things to say about the decision making process at NFL Network. (And, for the record, if the Bills game had run 19 minutes into the Chargers-Seahawks game, I wouldn't have been surprised or even upset if they had cut off coverage of the Bills' scrubs.)

Anyway, the end result is that my notes for the game begin at Pass 3 and Run 5, all of which are after the jump.

Drive 2
Pass 3: Lynch for 2 yards
- Langston Walker locked up 96. Andy Levitre forced 71 inside, who got tripped up but managed to get to Trent Edwards' feet - leading to a high throw to Marshawn Lynch. Geoff Hangartner popped 95 and when 95 stunted around RT, Levitre helped out Eric Wood. Wood and Brad Butler doubled 93. When 95 stunted, Butler peeled off to pick him up. Butler had help from Lynch with 95, who then went out into the flat.

Pass 4: Sack for -8 yards against a 5 man blitz
- Walker pushed 96 into the pile. Levitre and Hangartner doubled 95. Wood blocked 71 and kept his arms down. Butler looked at 93, who then dropped into zone coverage, and then helped Wood. Edwards didn't recognize the corner blitz. Derek Schouman did and immediately cut off his route to serve as the hot read. Whoops, Trent.

Pass 5: Lynch for 8 yards  
- Walker blocked 96 who stunted inside after the pop. Walker didn't pick up 95, who Levitre handed off to him when 96 stunted inside. Hangartner and Wood doubled 71 until he stunted. They both then tried to pick up 93, who had been pushed inside by Butler, but they wiped each other out when 93 did a spin move. 93 hit Edwards. Butler, for his part, picked up 71 when he stunted to the outside after passing off 93 to Wood.

Drive killed by: Edwards' failure to recognize the corner blitz.
Drive stats: 1 blitz, 0 stacked boxes.

Drive 3
Pass 6: Evans for 9 yards against a 5 man blitz
- Walker and Levitre doubled 71 after 96 dropped into a zone. Hangartner and Wood blocked 96 and Butler blocked 97 towards the inside of the line. Lynch had a good blitz pick up when a DB came late through the area Butler had vacated.

Run 5: Lynch for 4 yards
- The play wasn't televised from the beginning. Lynch was almost on the ground when NFL Network deigned to return to live coverage, so I don't have anything definitive to write.

Pass 7: Reed for 3 yards
- It was a straight ahead four man rush and the Bills' line stopped it cold. Butler had some help with his man, the second time that he was given assistance. It appears that the coaches are a bit more worried about Butler than Walker.

Run 6: Jackson for 2 yards through the right B gap against an 8 man front
- Walker went to the second level and crossed the field without blocking anyone. Levitre missed a cut on a DT but he did get up quickly and get to the second level. Hangartner locked onto Urlacher in the second level and pushed him past Jackson. Wood tried to cut 93 and didn't. He also didn't spring back up like Levitre did. Butler pulled wide and manhandled a DB.

Pass 8: Evans for 14 yards
- Walker beat 96 to the corner and stopped him cold. Levitre and Hangartner doubled 95. Wood and Butler had good communication in defeating a stunt. Wood started to block 71 and Butler blocked 93. They smoothly switched opponents when they tried to stunt.

Run 7: Jackson for 1 yard through right C gap
- Walker and Levitre drove 75 eight yards off the line. Hangartner was kind of lost in the wash and dropped on 95 when 95 fell down while spinning. Wood tried to get Urlacher at the second level but couldn't reach him fast enough after chipping 95. 93 jumped to the inside and Butler got under his shoulder and wouldn't let him turn.

Pass 9: Fine for 3 yards
- 97 turned the corner on Walker but was too far upfield to effect the play. Levitre tried to block 95 as he crossed all the way over past the RT. Wood and Hangartner doubled 75. Butler shoved 93 into the pile.

Pass 10: Jackson for 5 yards on a dump off
- Walker shut down 97. Levitre put 95 down and then held him down. Hangartner helped Wood with 75 and Butler stoned 93.

Run 8: Edwards for 17 yards on a bootleg against an 8 man front through the left C gap
- Yes, it was a misdirection play so the blocks, in theory, for Jackson really shouldn't matter. With that said, Walker drove 71 inside and away from bootleg lane. Levitre blocked 55 on the line of scrimmage. Hangartner was toasted by 96, who would have had a tackle for loss if Jackson had had the ball. Wood and Butler popped 97. Butler stayed with 97 and Wood peel off and pushed Urlacher down.

Run 9: Jackson for 6 yards through the A gap
- Walker had a half-hearted block on Urlacher at the second level. Levitre put 95 down. 95 tried to slant left and Levitre drove him into the ground. Hangartner hit 55 in the second level and rode him in a circle away from the play. Wood got a bit of a drive on 71 and when 71 tried to move right, Wood put him down. Butler stuffed 93's spin move. Fine had an awesome block on 97.

Run 10: Jackson for -1 yard through the right B gap against an 8 man front
- Walker stood up 97. Levitre and Hangartner drove 95 and put him down. Wood barely let 71 get out of his stance and Butler circled 93 away from the play.

Pass 11: Schouman for 5 yards
- Walker beat 97 to the corner and Butler beat his DE to the corner as well. Levitre, Hangartner and Wood stopped 95 and 71.

Run 11: Jackson for 1 yard through the right B gap
- Walker hand fought with 71. Levitre put 95 down using the back of Hangartner's legs. Hangartner and Wood dug 97 out of the line. Butler picked up a filling Urlacher.

Pass 12: Sack for -5 yards
- 96 got inside of Walker - leading to what looked like a hold - and then Walker didn't sustain his block, letting 96 get the sack when Edwards began to scramble. Levitre helped Hangartner with 71 and peeled off to pick up a stunting 95. Hangartner kept 71 away from Edwards. Wood had no one to block and eventually helped out Butler, who rode 97 around the corner.

Run 12: Jackson for 4 yards through the A gap
- Walker kept 96 on the edge of the line. Levitre pulled to lead the play but was lost in the wash. Hangartner took down 95 - it looked like a flagrant hold. Wood turned 71 and kept after him until 71 was on the ground. Butler circled 55 completely away from the play. Fine got under 97's shoulder and drove him all over the field.

Drive killed by: Edwards' play call-run on third and goal from the 14
Drive stats: One blitz, three stacked boxes

Drive 4 (Ryan Fitzpatrick in at QB)
Run 13: Jackson for 3 yards through right C gap
- Demetrius Bell kept 99 on the edge and out of the play. Levitre helped Brandon Rodd with 98 and then slipped off the block to pick up 92 in the second level. Wood was taken down by 75. Nick Hennessey pushed on 75 and may have inadvertently helped 75 drop Wood.

Run 14: Jackson for 2 yards
- Bell followed 99 as he went to the edge but didn't really engage him. Levitre pulled to lead the play and fell down in the second level. Rodd drove 98 a little one on one. Wood was again put down by 75. It looked like some kind of wrestling match. Hennessey eventually got under 75's shoulder and put him down.

Pass 13: Felton Huggins for 19 yards
- Bell had a pathetic block on 98 on a stunt and got Ftizpatrick leveled. Levitre fell over while picking up a stunt by 99. Rodd actually picked up 99. Wood was bull rushed by 75 and took him down - it sure looked like Wood just took him down with what amounted to a hip throw. Hennessey was beaten to the inside by his DE. In short, it was a terrible play for the offensive line.

Pass 14: Incomplete to Huggins - should have been an INT
- Bell aggressively hit the DE instead of waiting for the DE to engage. Levitre stoned his DT at the line. Rodd did a good job on another DT. Wood helped Hennessey with his DE when the DE tried to slip off of Hennessey's block to the inside.

Pass 15: Stupar for 5 yards
- Bell and Hennessey stopped their DEs cold. Levitre and Rodd doubled 98. Wood kept 75 from moving off of the line.

Pass 16: Parrish for 14 yards against a 5 man blitz - Parrish fumble
- Bell and Hennessey again stopped their DEs well away from Fitzpatrick. Levitre waited for a LB to blitz and popped him when he did. Rodd handled a DT while Wood helped first Rodd then Hennessey.

Drive killed by: Parrish's fumble
Drive stats: One blitz, zero stacked boxes

Overall, the line did much better with straight rushes than with stunts. That's good in terms of dealing with the brute strength common to 3-4 DTs and DEs. It's not so good in terms of dealing with the sheer inventiveness of coaches the Bills routinely face. I really hope the starting line sees significant playing time against the Packers and Steelers as they both run 3-4 defenses.

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