In yet another game won primarily by the play of the Buffalo defense, the Bills were able to hold off the Browns and thwart a comeback bid by Johnny Football. The offense was able to move the ball a little, but the defense is the attention-getter with 2 more sacks, three forced turnovers and even a touchwon. Time and again they held the Browns offense in check and set up the Buffalo offense with good field position. Despite that often good field position, the Bills offense scored just one TD. Luckily Dan Carpenter was again very good, making 4/5 with the only miss having been blocked. However, as happy as I am with the makes, when three of those come from 35 yards or shorter, it represents too high a number of stalled drive.
Offense Grade: C+
Grading the offense as a whole, we’ll start with those stalled drives. The team continues to move the ball at times, but can’t seem to find the end zone consistently. It’s a problem that has plagued them all season. Until they can fix it, I’ll have a hard time getting too excited about the fact the Bills are off to their best start since the 2000 season. The lack of scoring is directly correlated to the play of Kyle Orton. He’s made some plays, but I maintain that he is not the long-term answer at QB. Under 200 yards through the air and 2 more interceptions is not a good day at all.
I know the Browns defense has been pretty good, but he has to do better if the team is going to continue to have success. Sammy Watkins was again a non-factor, which is concerning given the fact he had a team-high in targets. To me, that speaks to the Bills inefficiency. On the bright side, Robert Woods enjoyed another respectable day, second on the team in targets and 71 yards. His continued emergence should help prevent teams from game-planning exclusively for Watkins. With all that being said and the fact the run game was decent, picking up over 100 yards total, I’ll grade the unit as a C+.
Defense Grade: A
As I said before though, the key to the Bills being able to hold off the Browns was the defense. They were excellent in this game. I’m grading them at an A+. They only gave up 10 points, or as I prefer to say, 3 more points than they scored themselves thanks to an incredible play by Jerry Hughes.
If your defense can take the ball away at a high rate and make it so your offense only needs to score one TD or two FGs to win a game, there is no way you grade them anything less than A+. The D-line got consistent pressure even when they didn’t get sacks and the most exciting take away from today’s game was the penetration and block shedding from the linebacking core. That unit, specifically Preston Brown and Nigel Bradham had three of the five TFLs and helped keep Browns’ RBs to just 79 yards on the ground. The only knock on the defense that I can make is on the first Manziel drive, he made them look bad as he quickly led the Browns on a TD drive that he personally capped off with a rushing TD.
Samuelson Slant Grade: B+
Pretty straightforward grades here Bills Mafia, but let me know if I was too harsh on the Offense or too high on the D in your opinion. Look forward to next week’s grade when the Bills take on Broncos.