After another close game decided by 7 points or less, the Bills beat the Phish 23-21. The Bills were plagued with inconsistent play all day, but in the end, they made the big plays late to pull through. The Bills face two really tough opponents next, but for now, savor the win and get healthier!!
Rushing Offense: D
What’s with another top-tier run defense? (But the Saints and Chiefs are not!!) Hobbled RB Jackson and Spiller convinced Marrone to limit reps for them. Fred Jackson did play despite aggravating his injured knee, but finished with just 11 carries for 36 yards and a TD. Spiller and Choice both had 6 carries but managed just 11 and 16 yards respectively. To put in perspective, FB Frank Summers had a 16 yard carry in the game.
Passing Offense: C-
It was nice to see Stevie Johnson back in the lineup as he made 6 catches for 61 yards. He and Jackson combined for more than half of the receiving yards. Hackett seemed more reluctant to throw the deep ball with Thad Lewis this time around although the O-Line giving up four sacks and a hit that resulted in a pick probably affected that decision. Despite a lack of consistent offensive play, Lewis has been better than expected, showing how useful that trade to the Lions has been.
Run Defense: D+
For a good chunk of the game, the Dolphins had their way with the Bills front 7, but the Bills tightened the hatches for the fourth quarter and did not give up a rushing TD. Still the Bills gave up 120 yards on the ground to a Miami offense that has struggled in that department. Dareus had some nice stops at the line, but Kiko was limited to just 4 tackles total.
Pass Defense: C
All I can say that Gilmore needs to have that club off if the Bills have a chance to stop Drew Brees next week. Still it was nice to see the Bills corners making some plays throughout the game starting with Nickell Robey’s pick six to start the game; he and McKelvin had some nice pass break-ups as well. The Bills gave up 3 TD’s in the air, but held strong late with 2 key sacks by Mario Williams in the last quarter, one which set up the game winning field goal.
Special Teams: B+
Carpenter had a great homecoming nailing all three of his field goals including the game winner. Moorman had 7 punts for 45.4 average, but punt coverage held up well this time giving up just 11 yards there. The kick coverage on the other hand almost blew the game on the last return save for a nice move by Dan Carpenter. Oh and just curious, but has LS Sanborn seems to be off with his snaps this year?
It wasn’t pretty, but the Bills did enough in the end to win. The Bills did better converting third downs (44.4%) while holding the Dolphins to just 23.1% converted. The play-calling was fair, but the number of short passes and dump-offs hurt the Bills overall. The defense again was better than their stats indicate, but blitzes need to be more effective.