Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- Continuing along in the weekly Upon Further Review series, today will be a look at how the Buffalo Bills running backs, tight ends and linebackers fared in the team's 24-14 win over the Cleveland Browns.
If you missed the look at the offensive and defensive linemen, click here.
Let's get to it.
Nick Barnett Time on Field: 100% snaps played; 60 total Stats: 8 tackles (7 solo), TFL Blitz Count: 2 Plus/Minus: +3 Observations: With the Bills being so effective against the run, yet again Nick Barnett was as big a reason as any for that type of production. He fires to the correct gaps and either forces the runner to adjust and cutback towards his teammates, or he's in on the tackle to stop the play right then and there. He also looked to be very instinctive against screens and dump downs versus Cleveland. With a rookie quarterback, that was likely to be a staple of the Browns' attack. Barnett was ready for the challenge and prepared. The only time another player got the upper-hand on him was when fullback Owen Marecic was able to engage him and drive him back while run blocking. Grade: B+
Season GPA: 3.55
Bryan Scott Time on Field: 51.7% snaps played; 31 total Stats: 1 tackle (solo), INT, FF Blitz Count: 3 Plus/Minus: +4 Observations: Bryan Scott just continues to be around the football through the first three games. He had an interception against the Jets, jumped on a fumble in the end zone against the Chiefs, and also had a forced fumble and another interception versus the Browns. Scott is doing very well in his nickel linebacker role. He's limiting his assignments to minimal gains in pass coverage and can make a play on the ball. Scott ended any lingering hope for the Browns when he read Brandon Weeden's eyes and broke on the ball for an interception. Grade: A-
Season GPA: 3.14
Kelvin Sheppard Time on Field: 36.7% snaps played; 22 total Stats: 2 tackles (solo), TFL Blitz Count: 2 Plus/Minus: +4 Observations: It was kind of shocking to see how little the Bills' starting middle linebacker played against the Browns, but it's essentially because the team was so good at stopping the run that they abandoned it in the second half. Kelvin Sheppard did a really nice job in coverage especially against the Browns. He collected a tackle-for-loss after recognizing a screen play and did a nice job on tight ends and running backs throughout his time on the field. Grade: A-
Season GPA: 2.90
Arthur Moats Time on Field: 35% snaps played; 21 total Stats: 6 tackles (5 solo), TFL Blitz Count: 2 Plus/Minus: +2 Observations: Arthur Moats is really developing quite nicely as a sturdy option at strongside linebacker for Buffalo. He fights through blocks and finishes the play when he has the opportunity to bring down a ball carrier. Trent Richardson is a load to bring down by yourself, and Moats really set the tone for the defense early on when he fired in to the backfield and brought the rookie running back down for a loss. He'll still get caught sneaking too far forward on a play-action pass from time to time as evidenced against Cleveland, but that's the weak point of his game to this point. In terms of stopping the run, like the rest of his front-seven brethren, Moats is spot on. Grade: B
Season GPA: 3.00
Tashard Choice Time on Field: 70% snaps played; 49 total Stats: 20 carries, 91 yards, 2 receptions, 8 yards Plus/Minus: +2 Observations: Forced in to duty for the injured C.J. Spiller, Tashard Choice was able to steady what could have been a very sour situation for the Bills. With help from the offensive line, Choice ran tough inside the tackles and produced a yards-per-carry average of 4.6. Choice can break a tackle or two and can also cutback his run for an intermediate gain when in a spot. His 10-yard run on a 2nd-and-11 especially stuck out. He got knocked pretty hard by a Browns defender and the ball almost came loose. If needed for extended playing time against New England, their defenders will take note of that play in particular. Grade: B
Season GPA: 2.81
C.J. Spiller Time on Field: 18.6% snaps played; 13 total Stats: 4 carries, 16 yards, 2 receptions, 42 yards, TD Plus/Minus: +3 Observations: In the little time he had on the field, C.J. Spiller was off to his 2012 ways yet again. Opening things up in the running game with a beautiful run-after-catch on a screen play for a touchdown, Spiller looked primed for another big day. However, a shoulder injury cut his day short. Grade: A-
Season GPA: 3.95
Corey McIntyre Time on Field: 15.7% snaps played; 11 total Stats: 1 reception, 9 yards Plus/Minus: +1 Observations: McIntyre had two targets on the day in the passing game. There was a designed screen play for him that was blown up and he also caught a nine-yard pass. In run blocking, McIntyre was just average. He didn't stand out, but he didn't do anything to garner negativity. Grade: B-
Season GPA: 2.76
Johnny White Time on Field: 5.7% snaps played; 4 total Stats: 2 carries, 15 yards Plus/Minus: +1 Observations: The rugged running style of Johnny White got him some tough yardage in his only two carries. If Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both can't play, his time on the field will only go up. Grade: B-
Season GPA: 2.67
Scott Chandler Time on Field: 74.3% snaps played Stats: 2 receptions, 22 yards Plus/Minus: +3 Observations: Against Kansas City, Scott Chandler really struggled in the blocking area of his game. He seemed to repair that in his game against Cleveland. Two plays, both of which coming on the same play call, highlighted Chandler's blocking. They were both a wide receiver screen to T.J. Graham, and the second of which resulted in a crucial first down late in the game. Chandler got a hold of the defender and walled him off, giving Graham a nice lane to the first down marker. He was limited in the pass catching department, but caught two of his four targets on the day. That includes a solid hands catch that was thrown behind him in the first quarter. Grade: B
Season GPA: 3.0
Lee Smith Time on Field: 34.3% snaps played; 24 total Stats: None Plus/Minus: +1 Observations: Lee Smith was back to his punishing ways in the run blocking category. He got clipped for a pair of penalties against Kansas City, but improved versus Cleveland. Smith finished his block twice in to the ground. He can get under the skin of some players because he fights until the whistle is blown. He did not have a single target in the passing game. Grade: B-
Season GPA: 2.69
- Those that did not appear in the game on offense or defense were not graded.
- For obvious reasons, this is a report that highlights my findings and opinions from the individual games.
- The GPA's attached at the bottom are an overall grade of how I felt that player performed, basing it all on the play-by-play film review done throughout the week. B- is considered average on my scale, not C.
- Plus/minus scores and GPAs will be tracked as the season goes along. An individual game's GPA will be weighted with how many snaps that player has on the field in the contest when figuring out a season long average.