Q3 Report: Grades & Game Ball


The Bills stand at 4-8, having lost three of their last four games, two of them hanging in until the end. Sadly, yet unsurprising, the Bills will likely miss out on the playoffs again; but looking on the bright side, they have been playing their best football in the last decade under new head coach Doug Marrone. The Bills also have several players worthy of a trip to the pro-bowl. Here’s how the Bills have progressed statistically compared to the rest of the NFL in 2013.




Run Yds/Game

Pass Yds/Game

First 4 Weeks

22.0 (21)

350.0 (16)

152.0 (2)

198.0 (28)

First 8 Weeks

22.0 (19)

329.0 (19)

133.9 (7)

195.1 (30)

First 13 Weeks

22.3 (20)

337.3 (17)

139.2 (4)

198.1 (29)




Run Yds/Game

Pass Yds/Game

First 4 Weeks

23.3 (18)

399.3 (27)

122.3 (27)

277.0 (22)

First 8 Weeks

26.6 (25)


117.8 (26)

263.4 (24)

First 13 Weeks

25.6 (24)

354.1 (17)

121.5 (24)

232.6 (15)

Injuries on the offense have continued to hamper their development and consistency, while the defense has been mostly solid, but prone to giving up big plays each game. But offensively, the Bills have been a bit more productive while the defense has made major games in shoring up the pass. Below are my grades for the Bills and you get to vote who deserves the game ball.


Passing Game: C+

Welcome back E.J. Manuel. E.J. in the last four games has completed 60/99 passes for 610 yards, 4 TDs and 1 pick. Remember, most rookie QBs have sluggish first years and then there’s Geno Smith… E.J. has been good (needing better awareness of the field), but Jets game aside, has been unspectacular. His deep threats, Goodwin and Graham have had a small burst in production as well. This grade got bogged down due to some costly Tuel picks and fumbles by Chandler and Johnson.

Running Game: C

This grade is hard. Fred Jackson has been the steady 3-4 yard gain player, but Spiller has kept the run game in a constant hot/cold flux. Against the Jets and Steelers, the Bills only ran for 68 and 95 yards respectively, but they had 241 yards against a tough KC defense and 195 against the Falcons. The running game depends how well Spiller does it seems. On the plus side, the Bills had 4 rushing TDs, 1 each from Jackson, Spiller, Summers and E.J. Manuel.

Blocking: B

E.J. Manuel and Tuel have well protected in the pocket for the most part, but problems running the ball consistently. Over the last four games, the Bills have only 4 sacks, 3 that came against the Steelers. Again, the blockers, namely Legursky have struggled in the run game.

Run Defense: C-

"The Bills still are susceptible to give up a big run or two" was something that I said a month ago. And this is still is still true. The Bills have given up 5 rushing TDs in the last 4 games, 3 to a poorly ranked Falcons run game. The Bills did a great job shutting down Jamaal Charles of the Chiefs, but then have given up an average of 140 yards per game since then. Sure you see the Bills make big stops between Kiko, Dareus and Kyle, but again, they are still prone to give up the big run far too often right now.

Pass Defense: B+

Yes, players like Stephon Gilmore have struggled with consistency, but others like Jairus Byrd, Nickell Robey and Leodis McKelvin have been playing quite decently. With the last four games, the Bills defenders have a 3 TD to 4 picks ratio, 3 of them via Byrd. More so the secondary kept opposing QBs to just over 200 yards a game passing.

Pass Rush: A+

Hello Jerry Hughes! Hughes has made 5 of his 8 sacks in the last eight games including 2 sack performances against the Steelers and Falcons. 16 sacks total have been made in this latest span with contributions from across the board. As teams have been focusing on Mario Williams, this has let others get more involved.

Special Teams: C-

Carpenter of course has been gold all season long and the coaches will have a headache to decide to re-sign him or go with rookie kicker Dustin Hopkins. Carpenter has gone 7-7 including all 3 FGs on a blustery day at the Ralph. Moorman unfortunately has not been faring as well, averaging under 38 yards a punt or 33 yards net. At least a third of his punts have been inside the 20. The real knock for this grade lies with Buffalo’s giving up several big returns while having few ones of their own.

Coaching: C+

Consistency problems, tough losses vs. Falcons and Chiefs, a big loss to the Steelers and a big win against Jets all factor into this grade. I really feel that the Bills could have had wins against KC and Atlanta, knocked away by costly turnovers. Marrone has done a nice job with his game preparation and developing the roster. Again, the focus needs to be consistency; keeping E.J. aware at all times, C.J. on track, and not allowing big plays defensively. Easier said than done, but still you have to like the energy he brings.

Go Bills!

Game Ball Nominees

QB E.J. Manuel – 60/99 (60.6%) for 210 yards, 4 TD, 1 Int, 1 rush TD
RB, C.J. Spiller – 53 rush for 294 yards (5.5 avg), 1 TD
RB Fred Jackson – 51 rush for 208 yards (4.1 avg), 1 TD, 1 TD rec
WR Marquise Goodwin – 10 rec for 154 yards (15.4 avg), 2 TD, 5 KR,
OT Cordy Glenn
DT Marcell Dareus – 20 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF
DT Kyle Williams – 12 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 FF
LB Jerry Hughes – 10 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 FF
LB Kiko Alonso - 48 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FR
FS Jairus Byrd – 22 tackles, 3 picks, 3 passes defended
K Dan Carpenter – 7/7 field goals, 10/10 XP

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of

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