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Posted: Thursday, 21 November 2013 3:12PM

Upon Further Review: Bills vs Jets



(WGR 550) -- The Buffalo Bills finished last weekend with their most complete victory of the season, a 37-14 win over the rival New York Jets that featured a lot of positive moments to take away. The team received solid performances from most units on the field and they'll look to continue that string of good play when the team gets back from their bye week.

Before the Bills get the weekend off and all of next week to prepare for the Atlanta Falcons, first is a look back at the team's most recent win over the Jets. For any player that took a snap on offense or defense, here is a look back at how they fared on the field.

Every week, with the help of the All-22 film available through NFL.com's Game Rewind package, WGR will provide the standouts, the duds and everything in between from the game that was.

For each player that appeared in the game on offense or defense, you'll see their name in bold, with a set of numbers after it. Example: Josh Framm (54, -2, 2.7). The first number (54) represents the snap count of that game, the second (-2) represents the individual players plus-minus of positive plays to negative plays in that game. The third number (2.7) represents the weighted Grade Point Average assigned to that player by the author.

OFFENSE (67 total plays)

Quarterback
Following the worst game of his young career, rookie EJ Manuel (67, 5, 3.3) enjoyed the best game of his season to this point. Casting the hesitation and premature decision making aside for the most part, Manuel helped shut the door on the New York Jets even when they thought they were getting back into the game.

The most impressive part of Manuel's day when you watch the highlights will be the long throws completed to T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin on consecutive plays. However, when you look at the All-22, you'll be even more impressed by a quarterback that was going through his reads and standing tough in the pocket even when a pass rush was coming his way.

In his first game against the Jets, Manuel panicked in the pocket throughout the contest and never felt comfortable enough to make plays down the field consistently. This time around, Manuel was poised and stood tall on throws to Chris Hogan in the first quarter and Graham on his first touchdown throw in the second quarter despite taking a hit right after he delivered the ball.

There were only a few instances this time around of Manuel going with the frustrating 'risk aversion' style of quarterbacking that plagued him against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10. The most noticeable play in this mold came in the third quarter on a 2nd-and-14 play where Goodwin had a window 10 yards down the field along the sideline. His defender, Antonio Cromartie, was turned around after Goodwin broke for the outside. Outside linebacker Calvin Pace dropped back into coverage, but a throw with just enough air and velocity would have set up the Bills with a 3rd-and-short. Instead, Manuel didn't let the route develop and dumped it down to Lee Smith for a one-yard gain. The Bills punted after a failed 3rd-and-long attempt.

The back-to-back fly routes certainly cannot be ignored. He hit Graham in stride down the left sideline, then did it again with Goodwin down the right side of the field. Perhaps the most impressive part about it was that Manuel missed on the same throw to Graham in the series before that successful touchdown drive. The wideout had a step on Dee Milliner but Manuel underthrew it and the play went for an incompletion. Manuel pushed that aside and delivered two straight memorable throws.

His accuracy on intermediate routes was much improved from a week ago. Head coach Doug Marrone referenced Manuel's footwork as a reason for some of the misfires against the Steelers. This time around the rookie looked much more poised and delivered solid passes for medium pickups throughout the game.

The footwork did lapse on one play that could have been big for the Bills. In the second quarter, the pass protection broke down a little bit which forced Manuel to maneuver outside the pocket. He did so beautifully and kept his eyes down the field enough to spot Goodwin with an opportunity deep in the middle for a potential touchdown. Instead of stepping all the way into the throw Manuel, for some reason, side-stepped with his front foot which caused the ball to float a little bit. Had he stepped all the way into the throw, Goodwin had a great chance for a touchdown.

Manuel got away with a couple of decisions that could have ended up in interceptions for touchdowns. He overthrew Lee Smith in the second quarter which was the best possible outcome, seeing as how linebacker Demario Davis read his eyes and jumped the route. Then in the third quarter, Cromartie jumped a comeback route intended for Goodwin and got his hands on the ball. Fortunately for Manuel, the ball harmlessly fell incomplete.

The game against the Jets was a definite step forward, especially considering the level of talent along the defense that gave the rookie quarterback a tough time back in Week Three. The footwork just needs a little refining, but if he can continue to go through his reads and be willing to take shots to his playmaking receivers down the field, Manuel can definitely take a step forward in the coming weeks provided his intermediate accuracy stays the course.

Running Back
Facing a defensive line that is performing among the best against the run in the NFL this season, the Bills were frustrated throughout the contest. The high point of those thoughts had to come from C.J. Spiller (27, -2, 1.7), who rushed for only 6 yards on 13 carries. Even though the stat line is one of the worst you'll read for a running back, he was let down a lot by the guys blocking in front of him. Still, Spiller has room to show more decisiveness especially when things aren't crystal clear as to where he should run the ball. However, there's little he or any other running back can do when the offensive linemen in front of him get beat immediately and the defender initiates the tackle deep in the backfield. Fred Jackson (36, 2, 2.7) had a little bit of a better day than Spiller. His most effective plays came on a swing pass in the second quarter that looked dead until his second effort, and then a blitz pickup on a 3rd-and-long chance to allow Manuel enough time to make a throw to Chris Hogan in the end zone. It went incomplete, but the play was crucial for the quarterback to not get crushed on the play. Frank Summers (25, 0, 2.7) came away with the lone rushing touchdown on the day. He followed Eric Wood to freedom on that play and didn't even make much contact with defenders. Tashard Choice (4, 0, 2.3) had a couple of late runs that went for minimal yardage.

Wide Receiver
Making the first start of his career, rookie Marquise Goodwin (57, 4, 3.3) had his coming out party. Not only did Goodwin provide the deep threat -- and another long touchdown to go with it -- he was dependable on the short throws that helped the Bills move the chains throughout the contest. On his touchdown reception, Goodwin made one move at full speed that made Antonio Cromartie hesitate just enough for the speedster to get by him. The only thing Goodwin did poorly in the game was on the third quarter play that very nearly resulted in an interception. His breakdown at the top of his route was a bit sloppy and he slipped a little bit, signaling to Cromartie to jump the route. The cornerback did, and almost had an interception returned for a touchdown because of it. T.J. Graham (63, 1, 3.0) had his most productive game as a member of the team to this point. Catching a touchdown pass in the second quarter, Graham had to adjust to an underthrown pass and come back for it and did a nice job of getting there, along with getting up and scampering into the end zone after he secured the reception. He was the recipient of a deep pass down the left sideline that required a cognizant effort of where his feet were as opposed to the sideline, and it went for a 40-yard gain. Chris Hogan (19, 3, 3.0) made a pair of third down receptions in the intermediate areas that helped keep drives alive. He lined up primarily in the slot. Marcus Easley (3, 0, 2.3) didn't have much of a presence in the game.

Tight End
In a week that the Bills were missing their top two wide receivers, logic would point to Scott Chandler (42, -2, 2.3) having a solid afternoon for the team. That's the way the Jets were approaching it too, and attempted to take away Chandler for much of the afternoon. They were successful outside of a pair of receptions, one of which going for a 31-yard gain. Chandler was caught napping in run blocking that thwarted a pair of runs for the Bills. Lee Smith (50, -1, 2.0) whiffed badly on a block attempt of Quinton Coples that stopped C.J. Spiller for just a one-yard gain and then compounded that error with a false start penalty on 3rd-and-1. He made up for it slightly in the fourth quarter, providing the key block on Marquise Goodwin's 17-yard reverse. Chris Gragg (9, 0, 2.3) got into the game, but didn't have nearly as much of an impact as he did against Pittsburgh.

Offensive Line
To say that the offensive line was poor for the Bills on Sunday against the Jets might be an understatement. Center Eric Wood (67, 1, 3.0) was the best on the team throughout the day, clearing out the middle of the line on two key plays. He dominated Damon Harrison on the 4th-and-1 quarterback sneak to help the team extend the drive. Wood also helped clear out the lane for Frank Summers' touchdown run with a combination block and then getting into the second level to take out the linebacker. Left tackle Cordy Glenn (67, -1, 2.7) mostly held Quinton Coples in check outside of a play in the third quarter that forced EJ Manuel to make an early decision. He struggled a bit in run blocking, but not nearly as much as right tackle Erik Pears (67, -3, 2.0), right guard Kraig Urbik (67, -5, 1.7) and left guard Doug Legursky (67, -7, 1.3). Pears single-handedly caused two of C.J. Spiller's runs to go awry, losing his block on Coples that led to a two-yard loss in the third quarter and then getting beat by Muhammad Wilkerson that stopped Spiller for just a one-yard gain in the fourth. Urbik's play over the past four weeks has become worrisome to say the least. On three separate occasions, Urbik was cast aside by his assignment and that player made the stop on a running play for a minimal gain. He also struggled on screen plays against the Jets as well. The worst of the bunch was Legursky, who was a liability in run blocking all game long. Whether it was Wilkerson, Harrison, Sheldon Richardson or Kenrick Ellis, Legursky struggled to get a handle on anyone throughout the game.

DEFENSE (58 total plays)

Defensive Line
From the worst unit against the Jets to the best, the Bills' defensive line certainly showed up in a very large way. Marcell Dareus (49, 8, 3.7) was a monster throughout the contest. Early on in the game he was caught off balance once and it resulted in a 10-yard run for Chris Ivory. That was the last time Dareus was taken advantage of throughout the game. He was constantly tearing through his blockers, fighting through double teams and initiating contact at the line of scrimmage with ball carriers. He was the best player on the field on Sunday. His partner in crime Kyle Williams (47, 6, 3.7) was also a standout against the Jets. He had two sacks and a forced fumble in the game and was essentially the thorn in left guard Brian Winters' side. He was stout in stuffing the run too, helping key a tackle for loss and minimal gains as well. As you'll come to find out, Alan Branch (34, -1, 2.3) was the only Bills player on defense that had a negative plus-minus against the Jets. Even still, Branch had a fantastic play in the fourth quarter where he pushed aside his blocker and plugged a running lane to stop Ivory from gaining any yardage. Corbin Bryant (14, 1, 2.7) had one flash play throughout his time on the field. He obliterated right tackle Austin Howard and stopped Ivory for a three-yard loss in the third quarter. Stefan Charles (8, 1, 2.7) very nearly stopped Ivory on his touchdown plunge on fourth down by bursting through his blocker on the opposite side of the run and trying to drag the runner away from the goal line from the back end.

Pass Rushers
It wasn't a huge day for pass rushers on the team but both Mario Williams (58, 1, 3.0) and Jerry Hughes (22, 1, 2.7) provided a big play when the team needed them to. Williams' most memorable play came on Da'Norris Searcy's interception for a touchdown, where the pass rusher burst through the line at Geno Smith and forced an early throw. Williams also held the edge well on a first quarter run that helped stop Chris Ivory for a five-yard loss. He lost edge contain a couple of times, one of which resulting in a 10-yard run by Bilal Powell in the first quarter and then later on Ivory's 69-yard scamper in the fourth. Hughes had an impressive pass rush against right tackle Austin Howard in the second quarter when he took one step outside to get the tackle's feet moving, only to turn it inside and get an immediate shot on Smith. It forced an incompletion.

Inside Linebacker
The instincts of Kiko Alonso (58, 4, 3.3) continue to develop as he tries to erase the plays where he's caught in over-pursuit from his repertoire. It happened only a couple of times, but the game was already well in hand for the Bills when they did. Before those, though, Alonso's recognition of plays and the reaction time to get to the players to thwart them was top notch on Sunday. In the third quarter Geno Smith was attempting to set up a screen to Bilal Powell, Alonso immediately recognized it and sprinted over to Powell to cover him up which then forced the quarterback to scramble and take a sack. Alonso did it in the run game as well, crashing a delayed pitch to Chris Ivory which forced him out wide, allowing the runner to only gain one yard on a third down play in the first quarter. Arthur Moats (18, 2, 2.7) had a better performance than in recent weeks, making an early stop of fullback Tommy Bohannon on a throw to the flat for just a one-yard gain. He then helped bring down Ivory for no yards on a third quarter play as well.

Outside Linebacker
Only Manny Lawson (36, 4, 3.3) got time on the field from this group against the Jets, and he did well enough for the lot of them. He had a sack, a fumble recovery, a pair of quarterback hurries and helped from the backside on run plays. It seemed like Lawson was always around the ball, only being taken advantage of on one Chris Ivory run that went for six yards in the third quarter.

Cornerback
It was a rather large improvement for Stephon Gilmore (58, 3, 3.0) this time around, even though his game against the Steelers wasn't as bad as it was initially perceived. Against the Jets though, Gilmore was only beaten once early on for a 33-yard Santonio Holmes reception when the cornerback lost track of the ball. After that, Gilmore was rock solid sticking with Holmes, Stephen Hill and David Nelson whenever they threw at him. Leodis McKelvin (56, 3, 3.0) had a couple of beats -- a 38-yard Holmes reception in the third quarter and a 25-yard pickup for Greg Salas in the fourth -- but was solid for the Bills when it mattered. A very sound tackler, McKelvin chips in the play quite frequently when a wideout is not lined up in front of him. He had a chance at a couple of interceptions in the second half. Had a third quarter Geno Smith throw been better, McKelvin had a chance at jumping a comeback route for the turnover. In the fourth quarter, a Matt Simms throw literally hit him in the hands but the cornerback wasn't able to convert. Nickell Robey (40, 1, 2.7) was an effective blitzer against the Jets, forcing Smith to panic on a delayed rush that led to a Kyle Williams sack in the first quarter. He also made a nice play at the goal line to deny the Jets entry into the end zone with a run stuff on second down. Ron Brooks (3, 0, 2.3) was in only a handful of plays and didn't stand out.

Safety
When you first watch the game, Jairus Byrd (57, 4, 3.7) stands out and for good reason. But when you re-watch the game from the All-22 view, you get a big appreciation for how well Aaron Williams (56, 3, 3.3) played against the Jets. Byrd led the way with his two interceptions, one sack and one hurried throw that can't be ignored because they were mostly game-changing plays. On his first interception though, a big tip of the cap has to be given to Williams. The latter was in coverage and knew he had Byrd to his deep left as the tight end began running that way. Williams let him slip by, Smith saw it and Byrd jumped the route for the turnover. Williams was also all over the place against the run, able to get through traffic to help bring the ball carriers down for minimal gains. Da'Norris Searcy (20, 1, 3.0) made an extremely athletic play to bring in his interception, but it was an even better instinctive play to recognize the wide receiver screen and run towards the flat area in hopes to at least knock it down. It was a top notch effort that was rewarded with a touchdown. Jim Leonhard (4, 0, 2.3) and his snaps are dwindling down to only a handful now that the Bills have their full stable of safeties healthy.

Year to date grades, ranked by aggregate GPA (Last week's overall rank)
  1. DL Kyle Williams - 3.26 (1)
  2. DL Marcell Dareus - 3.14 (3)
  3. ILB Kiko Alonso - 3.14 (2)
  4. SLB Manny Lawson - 3.02 (4)
  5. WR Marquise Goodwin - 2.99 (7)
  6. RLB Jerry Hughes - 2.93 (5)
  7. S Jairus Byrd - 2.92 (11)
  8. HB Fred Jackson - 2.90 (6)
  9. DE Mario Williams - 2.86 (8)
  10. CB Nickell Robey - 2.84 (9)
  11. WR Stevie Johnson - 2.83 (10)
  12. LT Cordy Glenn - 2.76 (12)
  13. C Eric Wood - 2.71 (14)
  14. WR Robert Woods - 2.70 (13)
  15. CB Leodis McKelvin - 2.66 (17)
  16. DL Alan Branch - 2.64 (15)
  17. S Aaron Williams - 2.56 (21)
  18. DL Alex Carrington - 2.56 (18)
  19. HB C.J. Spiller - 2.55 (16)
  20. TE Scott Chandler - 2.53 (19)
  21. DL Corbin Bryant - 2.51 (26)
  22. WLB Nigel Bradham - 2.46 (24)
  23. WR Chris Hogan - 2.45 (NR)
  24. RT Erik Pears - 2.45 (22)
  25. RG Kraig Urbik - 2.44 (20)
  26. S Da'Norris Searcy - 2.43 (25)
  27. CB Stephon Gilmore - 2.42 (30)
  28. WR T.J. Graham - 2.42 (27)
  29. TE Lee Smith - 2.41 (23)
  30. QB EJ Manuel - 2.35 (31)
  31. HB Tashard Choice - 2.34 (NR)
  32. S Jim Leonhard - 2.34 (28)
  33. ILB Arthur Moats - 2.33 (29)
  34. FB Frank Summers - 2.28 (32)
  35. LG Doug Legursky - 1.98 (33)
  36. QB Thad Lewis - 1.90 (34)
  37. CB Justin Rogers - 1.74 (35)
  38. QB Jeff Tuel - 1.64 (36)
  39. LG Colin Brown - 1.30 (37)

*Minimum 100 plays
**Those with (NR) beside their names just eclipsed the minimum plays on the season


Previous Installments:
Week 1 - New England 23, Buffalo 21
Week 2 - Buffalo 24, Carolina 23
Week 3 - New York Jets 27, Buffalo 20
Week 4 - Buffalo 23, Baltimore 20
Week 5 - Cleveland 37, Buffalo 24
Week 6 - Cincinnati 27, Buffalo 24
Week 7 - Buffalo 23 Miami 21
Week 8 - New Orleans 35, Buffalo 17
Week 9 - Kansas City 23, Buffalo 13
Week 10 - Pittsburgh 23, Buffalo 10

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia
 

All photos courtesy of AP
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