To celebrate the season of giving, the Buffalo Bills came alive against the Denver Broncos to win 40-14 on Christmas Eve and in so doing snapped their 7 game losing streak. While the Bills managed to move the ball offensively, they also struggled to finish drives. Defensively the game was much stronger forcing Tebow into making four picks. At 6-9 the Bills victory reminds us Christmas is indeed a time of miracles.
Passing Game: C+
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a quiet day completing 55.6% of his 27 passes for just 196 yards. While he threw no touchdowns, there were no interceptions as well. Fitz had a few nice passes on scoring drives including a 30 yard pass to David Nelson. Stevie Johnson again had a nice game with 4 catches for 92 yards including a 55 yard reception.
Running Game: A
Spiller had his best career (and first 100+ yard rushing) performance on Saturday with 16 carries for 111 yards (6.9 yards a carry) and a touchdown. Spiller is showing the necessary patience to further the run game and in so doing is starting to show his skills. Choice meanwhile had a lackluster outing with 9 carries for 27 yards while Fitz scrambled for 22 yards on 3 carries.
The offensive line did really well against two of the better pass rushers in the NFL (Von Miller and Elvis Demervil) and gave up just one sack on the day. The line also gave Spiller lanes to run the ball despite losing C Kraig Urbik partway through the game. OL Colin Brown did well filling in at center. Pass
While the Bills secondary did give up some big passes to the Broncos including a touchdown, the Bills had a strong day overall. The Bills recorded 4 interceptions including 2 pick-sixes by Jairus Byrd and Spencer Johnson. (Aaron Williams and Justin Rogers had the other two picks). Tebow completed less than half his passes for just 185 yards. Williams and Rogers both had 2 passes broken up as well.
Run Defense: A-
After getting thrashed by Bush, the Bills run defense managed to do a nice job in shutting down a potent Broncos running game. Although they gave up an early TD to Tebow and a big run to McGahee on the first drive, the Bills "D" limited the Broncos to 133 yards on the ground at 3.8 yards a carry.
Pass Rush: A
Chris Kelsay had his best outing of a year with two sacks and popping the ball into the air on Spencer Johnson’s pick-six. Arthur Moats also had a sack in the game. The defense overall did a decent job of getting pressure to Tebow.
Special Teams: A-
Leodis McKelvin showed his returning skills with an insane performance of 3 punt returns for 135 yards including an 80 yard touchdown in the first half. Justin Rogers meanwhile continues to be a force with kick returns having 3 for 101 yards. Brian Moorman also had a strong day with 2 of 4 punts landing within the 20 for a 50.3 yard average. Coverage units meanwhile performed strongly as well. This grade would have easily been an A+ had not Dave Rayner missed his first 2 field goal attempts (one for 45 yards and the other from 31 yards), but he did make his other four tries all within thirty yards.
Gailey’s win may just take him off the hot-seat for a while. The game plan was sound and more importantly the coaching staff showed it’s ability to stop a surging Broncos attack.