Four games. 41 total points, 34 directly via the offense. 586 passing yards, 410 rushing yards, five turnovers. Let's examine: Buffalo's 996 total offensive yards ranks behind eight current starting quarterbacks: Jon Kitna (1227 yards), Brett Favre (1205), Tony Romo (1199), Carson Palmer (1171), Tom Brady (1118), Peyton Manning (1066), Matt Hasselbeck (1032) and Matt Schaub (1005) have all out-gained the Bills by themselves. To put it bluntly, the Bills' offense has been very ugly thus far in 2007. But is it as bad as it looks? Here's how the offense grades out in their first quarter performance in the first ever Rumblings Report Card: offense edition.
You can make excuses about offensive play-calling and the stinginess of opposing defenses all you want - because those excuses are pretty valid. But when push comes to shove, Buffalo's quarterbacks have played poorly thus far in 2007. With a combined passer rating of just 72.5, J.P. Losman and Trent Edwards have seen their share of struggles this season. Edwards, with his rating of 76.0, rates 29th in the NFL; Losman's 69.0 rating ranks him 35th, right ahead of Brian Griese, Alex Smith and Marc Bulger. There have been no big passing plays, and no pressure has consistently been taken off the running game through the air. And, now, there's a controversy amongst fans as to who should be the starter. Whoever plays must improve their performance - otherwise, things could go right back downhill fast for the Bills' offense.
Running Backs: B
Rookie RB Marshawn Lynch has been the sole bright spot through four games for the Bills. He's amassed 307 yards on 80 carries thus far, and his three touchdowns represent 60% of the Bills' touchdown output this season - from any phase of the game. He's on pace for a 1200-yard, double digit-TD season, which is very impressive for a rookie. Perhaps most surprising of all is that he's had all this success with little to no help from his peers - veteran Anthony Thomas is averaging 0.6 yards on just 5 carries, while rookie Dwayne Wright's 7 carries, 36 yards came predominantly in clean-up duty at New England. Lynch was never a one-man show in college, and it's conceivable that without some help from his backups, he might not last a full 16 games.
Wideouts/Tight Ends: C
It has been a very slow start for star wideout Lee Evans, who needed a 6 catch, 72-yard performance on Sunday to finally break 100 receiving yards on the season (he has 101 on 11 catches, a paltry 9.2 yards per reception). With defenses focused on stopping Evans, his running mates have had trouble making up for his production. Peerless Price has just seven receptions for 68 yards, and the tight end - with the exception of the win over the Jets - has been non-existent in the passing attack as well. Michael Gaines, who has appeared in 3 games after replacing Kevin Everett on the active roster, leads tight ends with 6 receptions and the lone receiving touchdown of the season. One bright spot: the contributions of the Bills' two-headed slot receiver monster, namely Roscoe Parrish and Josh Reed. Parrish leads the team in receptions (14), and the two have combined for 24 catches for 269 yards. That's a heck of a slot receiver right there - if the Bills can continue to spread the wealth as they did against the Jets, these numbers across the board will improve dramatically. For now, the grade dips due to the group's inability to get open early in the season.
Offensive Line: B+
Once the weakest link of the offense, the Bills' new additions on the starting unit have created great improvement up front. The unit gets kudos for keeping the Bills' ground game consistent all season, even when opponents are loading up the box and daring the Bills to beat them through the air. What's more, the unit's pass blocking has been better than expected - they have surrendered 10 sacks, but a good portion of those can be attributed to Bills quarterbacks simply hanging onto the ball too long. Surprisingly, Jason Peters keeps this unit from reaching into the A range - he's earned the nickname "One-A-Game" from me, as in he commits one dumb penalty per game. Once he tightens up his performance, and the unit gets more time to play alongside one another, this could ultimately be the most productive line we've seen here in years.
Agree? Disagree? Something to add/subtract from the report card? You all are teachers in this school too, so let's hear it - how would you grade out the Bills' offense thus far?