Below are grades for every Buffalo Bills player on every play in the team’s Week 7 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
(For a quick primer on this project, this is from the introduction article. Here's a link to the entire thing.)
As I re-watch each game, I’ll be assigning number grades to each Bills player on every play this year, so keep in mind... the grades themselves will be inherently subjective. However, they should provide a relatively good idea of which players are struggling and excelling on the field. This system is not precisely how Pro Football Focus grades — they have multiple graders for each game and use a different numbering system — but it’s similar. Below you’ll find that grades were assigned in 0.2-point intervals on a scale from -1.0 to +1.0 on each play for each player.
Offense vs. Dolphins
|Player||Overall||Run-Block||Pass-Block||Pass||Run||Receiving||Penalty||Snaps (57 = 100%)|
Plenty to cover here. As you’ve read from me on a few other occasions this season, the blame for this loss — or even the offense’s relative ineffectiveness — doesn’t fully go on Tyrod Taylor. In fact, re-watching confirmed that, to me, he played a fairly good game. There’s a decent chance he missed some open receivers in this one — which isn’t atypical for an NFL quarterback — but on just about every throw Taylor did make, he was accurate and on time, which shows in his passing grade. It certainly seems like protecting the ball is a top priority for Taylor, but I wouldn’t label him as a timid passer. He ran into pressure twice yet had more of his usual magician-like escapes from the pocket, which helped his run grade. The most clear-cut theme from Taylor’s day was the frequency in which he was pressured. Jordan Mills had a nightmarish outing, especially late in the game when the Dolphins did not have to worry about the threat of a run. Cameron Wake easily beat him a handful of times. Richie Incognito has had better days, although most of the pressure he surrendered came via the bull rush. In other words, he didn’t allow many free runs at Taylor, but he was slow to recognize a few twists. Eric Wood was out of sorts all afternoon as well, and following a strong showing through the first three quarters, Cordy Glenn gave up a few pressures late. Ndamukong Suh had his way with John Miller on most of their 1-on-1 battles, and, like Incognito, Buffalo’s right guard was tardy on some defensive-line stunts. Charles Clay had a nice, well-rounded day, as did Nick O’Leary. Both tight ends have come into their own as blockers. Miami had eight, nine and even sometimes 10 men in the box and really sold out to stop Buffalo’s run game and likely felt comfortable doing so given the widespread injuries in the Bills' receiving group. Oftentimes Buffalo's front blocked well, but it was simply outnumbered by Dolphin defenders.
Defense vs. Dolphins
|Player||Overall||Run Stop||Pass Rush||Coverage||Penalty||Snaps (73 = 100%)|
Where to start? I guess the play of Preston Brown and Zach Brown is most logical, seeing as though they were defensive standouts in the Bills’ first six games. Zach started superbly, flashing his fast play-recognition skills, quickness, and closing speed on a few thudding run-game stops near or at the line of scrimmage. After that, he and Preston had major issues shedding blocks — which hasn’t been a problem this season — and were repeatedly victimized by Jay Ajayi’s cutbacks on stretch runs. Also, the pair missed some tackles, which hasn’t been something I’ve seen much of from the either of the two over the first six contests. Kyle Williams was once again a devastating run defender, mainly due to this burst and hand use, however, he was unable to corral Ajayi a few times, which hurt the veteran defensive lineman’s grade. Ajayi truly was monster in this game. His vision, acceleration, and balance while breaking tackles were incredible. The rest Buffalo’s defensive line didn’t do much but wasn’t atrocious. Jerry Hughes gave a solid effort as a run defender, and Lorenzo Alexander’s non-stop motor was on display, which is the norm for him. Nickell Robey-Coleman and Ronald Darby definitely have had stronger performances this season. On the game-sealing touchdown, Darby was in tight coverage — as he typically is — but like the Jets game, he failed to adjust to the (underthrown) football, which is admittedly a difficult play for any corner. Before leaving with his injury, Aaron Williams was having a sound game clogging the run. Although Aaron seems to be the first choice, I’ve noticed Rex and Dennis will use basically any defensive back in the "Doug Plank" role of their 4-6 alignment. Corey Graham, Robert Blanton, Robey-Coleman, and even Jonathan Meeks saw time as the extra "linebacker" in the box against Miami. Shaq Lawson had somewhat of quiet day, but I graded him positively as a pass-rusher due to two times in which he beat Branden Albert — one of the NFL’s better offensive tackles — with a counter move off his speed rush. He held his own setting the edge when he had to play the run too. The stats weren’t there for Lawson, yet he showed a glimmer of his ability as an edge-defender.
Closing aside: Because Miami made most of the big plays in this one, and much of the second half had a positive "vibe" for the Dolphins, it kind of surprised me to realize the Bills were actually leading, 17-14, with 4:05 to play. That fact suggests this game wasn’t nearly as bad for Buffalo as some may be thinking right now.
Offense: Through Week 7
|Player||Overall||Run-Block||Pass-Block||Pass||Run||Receiving||Penalty||Snaps (433 = 100%)|
Defense: Through Week 7
|Player||Overall||Run Stop||Pass Rush||Coverage||Penalty||Snaps (480 = 100%)|