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Ron's Line Notes from Rams game, '08 Season

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Here are my offensive line notes from the Bills' win over the Rams. It may be hard to believe but this is even longer than the post I did for the Raiders game...

Drive 1

Pass 1: 49 yards to Evans
Run 1: 20 yards by Lynch (negated by holding call) left B gap
- Peters was flagged for holding. While Brian thought it was a crappy call, Peters was, in fact, holding. He had his right hand in the DE’s jersey arm hole. He used his hold to keep the DE from turning and chasing down Lynch. While it didn’t appear that the DE was going to be able to catch Lynch without the hold, a hold it was and it killed the play.
- Dock put 95 down.
- Fowler pulled and stuffed/locked up 1 filling LB (Schouman took out the other) which helped spring Lynch for the run.
- Butler kept the DT turned away from the play.
- Walker pulled and did no particular good.
Pass 2: 6 yards to Lynch
Pass 3: Overthrow to Hardy (Edwards had him for a first down but simply missed)
- Lynch gave a pretty weak effort at chipping Peters’ guy.
Pass 4: 9 yards to Lynch
- At first blush I thought that Peters had killed the drive based on his holding penalty. However, on closer review Edwards gets the blame as he could have had the first down with an accurate pass to Hardy. The drive ended in a field goal.

Drive 1: 0 blitzes, 0 stacks

Drive 2

Run 2: 1 yard by Lynch - stacked box - left b gap
- Peters locked up Long.
- Dock pushed a LB at the second level.
- Fowler was pushed 2 yards into the backfield and into the run lane. His DT stuffed the play.
- Walker tried to pull but was too slow to keep the LB out of the play.
Pass 5: Incomplete to Evans - blitz (5)
- Fowler was pushed back into Edwards. Edwards couldn’t step into his throw and that kept him from getting the ball cleanly to Evans for a first down.
Pass 6: Incomplete to Hardy
- Hardy just couldn’t make the adjustment to it.
- At first blush I thought Edwards and/or Hardy were at fault for killing the drive based on the botched pass to Hardy. When I saw what happened on the throw to Evans, however, it became clear that Fowler was responsible. Had Edwards been able to step into the throw Evans would have had a shot at a first down before the Hardy pass.

Drive 2: 1 blitz, 1 stack

Drive 3

Run 3: 2 yards by Lynch - A gap
- Peters pulled to lead the play but didn’t block anyone.
- Butler cut (Successfully!) a LB at the second level
Pass 7: Incomplete to Evans
- This was a crap non-call. The DB pinned Evans’ right arm to his body.
Pass 8: 9 yards to Reed
- Walker got help on the play.
Run 4: 7 yards by Lynch - stacked box - right B gap
- Peters pulled and buried a LB trying to fill in the hole.
- Fowler got a one yard drive.
- Butler helped Fowler (which explains the drive…) and then locked up a LB.
- Walker started out blocking 94 well but didn’t sustain it and 94 was in on the tackle.
Run 5: 3 yards by Lynch - stacked box - left C gap
- Peters hit a LB in the second level but didn’t sustain the block and the LB almost got a TFL. Peters did come back and pick off a pursuing DE.
- Dock tried to hold the point of attack but was driven back and effectively closed the hole.
- Butler pulled and blocked no one.
Pass 9: Incomplete to Hardy - blitz (6)
- Hardy just dropped it.
Pass 10: Sack for -8 yards
- Peters was beaten cleanly. For his part, Lynch didn’t get over in time to help.
Pass 11: Incomplete to Hardy in the end zone
- Hardy lost a battle to a smaller DB.
- My initial temptation (Noticing a pattern here?) was to pin the stalled drive on Peters and the sack he allowed. However, Hardy had a shot at the reception in the end zone and didn’t come through. The Bills got a field goal.

Drive 3: 1 blitz, 2 stacks

Drive 4

Pass 12: 3 yards to Lynch
Run 6: 3 yards by Lynch - stacked box - left B gap
- Fowler fell down without blocking anyone. His LB was in on the tackle.
- Butler was driven back 3 yards and almost right into Lynch.
Pass 13: Sack for -6 yards - blitz (5)
- Walker simply ignored a blitzing DB. He pitched into Butler’s guy and let the DB zip right by him.
- Walker killed the drive which, for the first time in the game, was right in line with what I thought when watching the game in real time.

Drive 4: 1 blitz, 1 stack

Drive 5

Run 7: 4 yards by Lynch (great cutback) - right C gap
- Peters missed his block on 98 and it was almost a tackle for loss.
- Fowler hit a LB at the second level.
- Butler put down the DT at the end of the play.
- Walker went down the line but never really blocked anyone.
Pass 14: 6 yards to Lynch
- Peters tried to cut the DE and missed. To his credit (?) he did pop up quickly and look impressively agile.
Run 8: Lynch lost 4 yards - A gap (This followed a Peters offsides and a wasted time out)
- The line didn’t cause this loss. The box wasn’t stacked but the Rams dialed up a corner blitz. Jenkins didn’t even try to cut off the DB.
Pass 15: 19 yards to Reed
- Walker got help on the play.
Run 9: Jackson went nowhere - left C gap (Peters hurt on play)
- Peters pulled to lead the run wide. He tried to cut a DB and did at least get a piece of him.
- Fowler tried to pull but was stuck in traffic.
- Butler sort of cut a DT.
- Walker took out a LB at the second level.
Pass 16: Sack for -7 yards - blitz (5)
- Chambers was in but it was Walker who was beaten badly on the play.
Pass 17: Incomplete to Royal (well short of first down yardage)
- Chambers got help on the play.
- Fowler blew his block. That kept the QB from stepping up and got Edwards whacked.
- Even if Royal had gotten the ball he wouldn’t have picked up the first down. The drive was killed on the second down sack given up by Walker. That’s two for Walker.

Drive 5: 1 blitz, 1 stack

Drive 6

Run 10: Edwards fell down and tried to run - A gap
- The line did fine, the QB, well, not so much…
Pass 18: INT - miscommunication between Edwards and Evans
- Both Peters and Walker were helped on the play.
- Edwards and Evans share responsibility for killing the drive. Unless one of them steps up and says it was his fault I’m dividing the blame on them.

Drive 6: 0 blitz, 0 stack

Drive 7

Pass 19: 8 yards to Royal - juggled repeatedly…
- Peters did a really interesting dive block. It wasn’t a cut so much as a full fledged launch at the DE.
Pass 20: Incomplete to Royal - blitz (5) - the pass hit a LB instead of Royal
- Peters did a terrific job of adjusting to a blitz. He was going to block the DE but peeled off and blocked a DB coming through the B gap. That decision gave Edwards the time to get rid of the ball.
Run 11: 27 yards by Lynch: left B gap (negated by Fowler trip)
- Peters locked up a LB until Lynch was well past.
- Dock put a DE on the ground.
- Fowler tried to cut a LB and missed. It happened right in front of the ref. I thought it was a ticky-tacky call. Fowler didn’t whip his leg out, as is typical in a tripping call. Instead as he bounced off the ground his legs came up a little more than the rest of him. Was he trying to trip? Maybe. But it wasn’t worthy of a flag. A pat on the head for maybe doing something without seeming to do it, if he hadn’t been flagged, would have been more appropriate.
Pass 21: Sack - blitz (5)
- Fowler let 96 blow right past him and get the sack.
- Fowler killed the drive, not so much by the tripping penalty but due to the ugly sack he surrendered.

Drive 7: 2 blitz, 0 stack

HALFTIME

Drive 8

Run 12: 6 yards by Lynch - stacked box - A gap
- Peters let the DE go upfield and kept him there.
- Dock removed a LB from the hole.
- Fowler was taken down the line by the DT who almost made the tackle for a loss.
- Butler went to the second level and picked off a LB.
- Walker didn’t really block anyone.
- Schouman had a great block on a hole filling LB.
Run 13: 10 yards by Jackson - left B gap
- Peters did a great job of keeping Long 5 yards from the RB at all times.
- Dock hit a LB at the second level and sealed off the run lane.
- Fowler was taken for a ride by the DT but kept him out of the play.
- Butler jumped inside of Carriker and kept him 5 yards away from the RB.
- Walker pulled and very amusingly tossed a DB 5 yards.
- Evans had a nice block on another DB.
Pass 22: 3 yards to Jackson
Pass 23: Scramble for 11 yards - blitz (5)
- Edwards really didn’t have to scramble. Either all of his WRs were blanketed or Edwards just saw an opportunity to pick up a quick first down.
Run 14: 1 yard by Jackson - left C gap
- Long stunted inside. Peters shoved him into the line and sealed.
- Dock hit a LB at the second level.
- Fowler was pushed back 2 yards into the run lane.
- Walker pulled and hit a LB at the point of attack but the LB still was in on the tackle.
Pass 24: 8 yards to Reed - blitz (8!!!)
- This play was nothing but dumb luck. The Rams sent 8 and one of them had a clean shot on Edwards. The ball was tipped and quacked into Reed’s general vicinity, where he adroitly plucked it out of the air.
Run 15: 6 yards by Lynch - stacked box - right C gap
- Peters cut the DE.
- Fowler pulled and hit the LB at the 2nd level.
- Butler wrestled the DT to the ground.
- Whittle really sprang Lynch for the 6 yards by sealing the edge from his FB position.
Run 16: 9 yards by Lynch - left C gap
- Peters drove the DE 3 yards
- Fowler pulled and missed a cut (sigh) on a LB.
- Dock jumped inside of the DT and kept him 5 yards from the play.
- Walker pulled and led the run. The LB Fowler failed to cut jumped over him and then bounced off of Walker’s right shoulder. I’m not convinced that Walker was even aware that anything had touched him. Maybe a vague mosquito sort of sense or something…
Run 17: 22 yards by Jackson for TD - stacked box - A gap
- Peters turned around a LB downfield which let Jackson run by.
- Dock cut the DT giving Jackson a run lane.
- Fowler hit a LB at the second level.
- Butler let 90 beat him into the backfield but he simply ran past Jackson
Run 18: 2 yards by Jackson for 2 point conversion - stacked box - A gap
- Peters took Long 3 yards into the end zone.
- Fowler pulled and put a LB down.
- The play was wiped out by an illegal formation. Royal was covering the tackle and a WR was also on the line on the same side.
- No one killed the drive.

Drive 8: 2 blitz, 4 stack

Drive 9

Run 19: 2 yards by Lynch - A gap
- Fowler was pushed back 3 yards and into the run lane. His DT tackled Lynch and Fowler.
- Butler pulled and took a LB out of the play.
- Walker tried to cut 94 and whiffed.
Pass 25: 11 yards to Reed
Run 20: 1 yard by Jackson - right B gap
- Dock let the DT get inside of him and he made the tackle.
- Butler drove a DT 4 yards off the line.
Pass 26: No gain to Jackson - blitz (5)
Pass 27: Incomplete - blitz (6)
- Walker let his guy get to Edwards, and that hit forced the incompletion.
- Walker killed the drive.

Drive 9: 2 blitz, 0 stack

Drive 10

Pass 28: 21 yards to Schouman - blitz (5)
- It really was a pretty play. They faked a run to the left (convincing and just shoddy enough run blocking to make the LBs flow to Lynch) and Edwards rolled out and hit Schouman.
Pass 29: 6 yards to Jackson - blitz (5)
Run 21 - No gain by Lynch - left B gap
- Peters shut down Long.
- Dock helped Fowler instead of blocking 95, who stormed down the line and made the tackle for no gain.
Run 22: 11 yards by Lynch - right B gap
- Butler sealed the cutback lane.
- Walker got inside of the DE and formed the other wall of the run lane.
Pass 30: 39 yards to Evans for a TD - blitz (5)
- Walker got help on the play.
- The ball went 40+ yards in the air and hit Evans in stride.
Pass 31: 2 yards to Evans for 2 point conversion
- Edwards wanted to go to Hardy but he was covered and right next to the sideline. He instead came off of Hardy and hit Evans in the back of the end zone.
- No one killed the drive.

Drive 10: 3 blitz, 0 stack

Drive 11

Run 23: 11 yard by Lynch - stacked box - right C gap
- Butler chipped Fowler’s guy and then took out a LB.
Run 24: SNAFU for -5 yards - stacked box - A gap
- Lynch ran into Edwards (or the other way around). By the time they had gotten things sorted out they were underneath a pile of blue jerseys.
Run 25: 9 yards by Jackson - left C gap
- Peters cut a filling LB.
- Dock sealed the edge to let Jackson get around the end.
- Butler got inside of the DT and kept him 5 yards from the RB.
- Walker pulled and never got in front of Jackson.
Run 26: 3 yards by Lynch - right B gap
- Dock made a pathetic attempt to cut 97. His guy got to Lynch and made the tackle. Lynch had a lot of green in front of him and would have certainly gotten the first down.
- Butler walled off the DT and put him on the ground.
- Chambers was in for a play and didn’t drool on himself.
- Dock killed the drive, which netted a field goal, by missing the cut on 97.

Drive 11: 0 blitz, 2 stack

Drive 12

Run 27: Lynch lost 3 yards - stacked box - A gap
- Dock and Fowler took the DT 3 yards off the line but it just didn’t matter.
Run 28: Lynch went for no gain - stacked box - C gap
- Peters missed his block at the second level.
- Dock fell down, literally, and blocked no one.
- Fowler missed a LB at the second level.
- Walker pulled and went wide and missed a block on a DB… who sent Lynch away from the line of scrimmage.
Run 29: 3 yards by Jackson - stacked box - B gap
- Dock sealed Long inside and made a run lane.
- Fowler took a LB out of the run lane.
- Walker pulled and got nowhere near to being in front of the play.
- The drive was killed by Jauron. He was content to run 3 times and take time off the clock.

Drive 12: 0 blitz, 3 stack (surprise...)

Drive 13

3 straight kneel downs. Game over.

I was expecting to see the Rams ramp up the pressure and they didn’t disappoint. They blitzed on 13 of 31 pass plays (once sending 8), or 41.9% of the time. The Rams stacked the box on 13 of 29 runs, or 44.8% of the time. While watching the game on Sunday I thought the Rams were pressuring the Bills more than they actually were. It turned out that the Bills offensive linemen kept taking turns screwing up. Runs 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 14, 16, 19, 20, 21, 26, 28 (48.4% of run plays) each had a letdown by at least one lineman. Pass plays were less erratic, with screw ups on passes 5, 10, 13, 16, 17, 21, and 27 (22.6% of pass plays). Against a good team, that kind of wild inconsistency won’t fly. For the young season, Edwards has been blitzed 32 of 139 (23%) of pass plays. The Bills have faced 8 in the box on 46 of 113 (40.7%) of run plays. Defenses just aren’t respecting Buffalo’s willingness to go deep. Perhaps Evans’ increasing yardage and touchdown totals will convince them to stop playing a safety in the box…

The Bills ran 5 times through the left C gap for 22 yards (4.4 ypa), 7 times through the left B gap for 64 yards (9.1 ypa), 9 times through the A gap for 22 yards (2.4 ypa), 4 times for 22 yards through the right B gap (5.5 ypa) and 4 times for 21 yards (5.3 ypa) through the right C gap. True, 27 yards were negated by penalties in the left B gap. That would drop it down to 5 runs for 37 yards (7.4 ypa), which is still impressive. In the first quarter of the season, the Bills have run 18 times for 101 yards (5.6 ypa) in the left C gap, 23 times for 115 yards (5.0 ypa) in the left B gap, 40 times (!) for 121 yards (3.0 ypa) in the A gap, 14 times for 53 yards (3.8 ypa) in the right B gap and 18 times for 66 yards (3.7 ypa) in the right C gap. Buffalo has been committed this year to running in the A gap, even though the numbers show that the team has a hard time doing it effectively. (I blame Fowler.) It’s also easy to see why the Bills like to run left - 5 yards per attempt! Think about that for a minute. The Bills have had amazing success running left with a converted right tackle, a back up swing tackle and a left tackle who took 8 months off.

Peters had 6 good run plays, 18 decent ones, 4 bad ones and 1 killed play. He had 1 good pass play, 27 decent ones, 1 bad one and no killed pass plays. He gave up 1 sack. For the first quarter of the season Peters has had 17 good run plays, 46 decent ones, 12 bad ones and 3 killed run plays. That comes out to 76.3% on run plays, down from 76.9% from last season. He’s had 3 good pass plays, 85 decent ones, 8 bad ones and 5 killed plays. He grades out at 73.6% on pass plays. He’s given up 4 sacks this season and has dropped from 74.5% on pass plays. Peters is statistically down across the board.

Dock had 5 good run plays, 18 decent ones, 5 bad ones and 1 killed play. He had 31 decent pass plays, no good or bad ones and no killed plays. For this quarter of the season, Dock has had 20 good run plays, 85 decent ones, 7 bad ones and 1 killed play. That grades out as 77.3%, up from 76.8% last season. He has had 2 good pass plays, 135 decent ones, 2 bad ones and 1 killed play. That comes out at a flat 75%, slightly above the 74.5% from last season. He has yet to give up a sack this season. Dock has been the model of consistency.

Fowler had 2 good run plays, 18 decent ones, 8 bad ones and 1 killed play. He had no good pass plays, 27 decent ones, 4 bad ones and 2 killed plays, one of which was a sack. For the first quarter of the season, he has 12 good run plays, 69 decent ones, 31 bad ones and 5 killed plays. This grades out as an appalling 71.6%, down from 72.5% last season. He has had no good pass plays, 128 decent ones, 11 bad ones and 4 killed plays. He has given up 1 sack this season. I’ve been on the "Dump Fowler Bandwagon" for quite some time and I’m clearing more room. Anyone else want to pile on board?

Butler had 8 good run plays, 17 decent ones, 3 bad ones and 1 killed play. He had no good or bad pass plays, 31 decent ones and no killed plays. For the first quarter of the season, he has had 29 good run plays, 69 decent ones, 12 bad ones and 3 killed plays. That comes out to 78.1%, up a tad from the 77.9% he posted on run plays last season. He has 5 good pass plays, 129 decent ones, 4 bad ones, and 1 killed play. That comes out to 75.2%, up a bit from the 74.7% last year. He’s given up 1 sack. I thought Butler was the best lineman the Bills had last season and he still is.

Walker had 4 good run plays, 19 decent ones, 4 bad ones and no killed plays. He had no good pass plays, 28 decent ones, 3 bad ones, 3 killed plays and gave up 2 sacks. For the first quarter of the year, Walker has 10 good run plays, 91 decent ones, 10 bad ones and 1 killed play. That comes out to an even 75%, down a bit from 75.8% from last season. He’s had 1 good pass play, 126 decent ones, 11 bad ones, and 3 killed plays. That comes out to 73.6%, down from 74.3% last season. Given that he’s played both tackle positions that’s not half bad. Giving up 2 sacks in a game? That’s more than half bad.

So, what can we expect from the Cardinals? More pressure. Blitzing Edwards 41.9% of the time didn’t do the job for St. Louis, so my guess is that the Cardinals see how things go if they blitz 55%-60% of the time. The Raiders and Rams contained the Bills’ run game when they stacked the box between 45%-50% of the time so look for the Cardinals to do the same. Let’s hope that Edwards and Evans can make them pay early and often. That’s the only way that the Bills can force the Cardinals defense to play honestly.