What a difference a home game at the Ralph makes. Despite not being a sellout and amid bad weather, the fans were loud and proud and the Bills reciprocated with a 19-0 shutout against the Phish. The Bills first true home shutout since 2006 (ironically against Miami as well) was more so a mastery of defense, but the offense was able to move the ball as well. While some may complain that this win hurts their draft stock, a win at home is more important in my opinion, being against a division foe vying for the playoffs and giving fans more incentive to return next year.
Rushing Offense: A
Fred Jackson was great! Despite playing with broken ribs, Jackson ran 19 times for 111 yards (5.8 avg) including a 9 yard TD in a game where he broke 5,000 yards rushing all-time with the Bills. C.J. Spiller was decent with 20 carries for 77 yards (3.9 avg) as the Bills ran for a total of 203 yards on the day.
Passing Offense: C-
Thad Lewis was your typical backup QB, capable of making some nice, big throws, but also being less consistent at times. Thad completed 15 of 25 passes (60%) for 193 yards and a pick while getting sacked once. Robert Woods performed nicely as the #1 receiver with 3 grabs for 70 yards (including a 57 yard pass) before getting kicked out. The Bills tight ends did nicely too; Chandler had 2 catches for 31 yards while Lee Smith (who did well blocking) had a great catch for 24 yards in tight coverage.
Run Defense: A++
Despite giving up big plays in the run game all year, the Bills absolutely dominated the Miami offensive line. Miami attempted just 12 runs and on those carries made just 14 yards! That’s less than 1.2 yards a carry! Kyle Williams, Dareus, Kiko all made plays forcing Miami to pass the ball more instead.
Pass Defense: A+
Forget the 50 yard pass to Hartline (Gilmore had no safety help) as that play really does not do justice to what the Bills defense did defending the pass. First off the Bills had 7 sacks and set a franchise record of 56 sacks with one game to go. Kyle Williams had 2 sacks as did Nickell Robey who also had a fantastic pass breakup at the line of scrimmage on Mike Wallace. Mario, Hughes and Searcy also recorded a sack. Leonhard and McKelvin each had a pick off of backup Matt Moore while McKelvin and Gilmore broke up 7 passes total. Miami was held to just 135 yards passing, not including sack yards lost.
Special Teams: C-
Once again, this grade is split because of the same reasons. Dan Carpenter was great nailing all four field goals including a 45 yarder in the cold rain. On the other side, Moorman struggled averaging just 36.3 yards a punt including a shanked 13 yard punt in the first quarter. More disappointing was that Leodis McKelvin (despite a decent day on defense) returned 4 punts for 0 yards, on which he fumbled 2 of them almost giving up great field position to Miami (Gilmore recovered one immediately while McKelvin grabbed the other).
Down his top WR and QB, Marrone pulled off a sweep against a divisional foe in a solid defensive performance. Obviously you have the prevalent concerns of punching in the ball within the red-zone still from this game, but the defense dominated Miami all day. Way to end the home games on a high note!