Bills Report Card - Week 17

BUFFALO, N.Y. - In conjunction with our news partners at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, we've evaluated the Buffalo Bills based on a variety of different criteria.

The Buffalo Bills Report Card focuses on coaching, quarterback, running backs, receivers and other aspects.

Each week our sports reporters rate the Bills' performance position-by-position.

Find all the previous scores and comments within the scheduleand compare your ratings to the average of other users.


QUARTERBACK: In what very well may have been his final game as the Bills starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick went out a winner thanks to directing two fourth-quarter touchdown drives that sealed the 28-9 victory. He completed just 12 of 26 passes and almost half of his 225 passing yards came on two plays. But he didn't turn the ball over and generally did a decent job managing a game where all phases of the team were clicking. This is Fitzpatrick's game. Unfortunately, the Bills coaching staff asked too much of him all season. Grade: 7

RUNNING BACKS: C.J. Spiller carried a career-high 24 times for just 59 yards, a 2.5 average, but that ball control allowed the Bills to hammer out a hard-fought win. He also capped his breakout season with another addition for his highlight reel, taking a screen pass and motoring right through the Jets defense for a 66-yard touchdown. He also had a fumble that lowers the grade. Tashard Choice had five carries for 30 yards, including a nice 13-yard TD burst to close the scoring. Grade: 7

WIDE RECEIVERS: Stevie Johnson went out in style for the 2012 season, catching a game-high six passes for 111 yards and topping 1,000 receiving yards for a team-record third consecutive year. His leaping 37-yard grab along the New York sideline kept alive a touchdown drive that put the Bills safely ahead 21-9. The rest of this unit, depleted by injuries over a long season, combined for four catches and 42 yards. Grade: 8

With Scott Chandler out with a knee injury, Buffalo's tight end presence in the passing game vanished. The Bills used Lee Smith merely in a blocking role and banged-up Dorin Dickerson dressed but did not play. Grade: 5

OFFENSIVE LINE: Cordy Glenn, Andy Levitre, Eric Wood, Kraig Urbik and Sam Young closed out the year by paving the way for 109 yards rushing and didn't give up a sack. The Jets and Bills were nearly even in net yardage (332 vs. 334) but the Jets ran off 15 more plays. The development of this unit over the past three years gives Buffalo a solid foundation moving forward, if it can retain Levitre, a free agent. Grade: 8

DEFENSIVE LINE: A very active day for this group with Spencer Johnson forcing a fumble and Shawne Merriman (two), Mario Williams and Alex Carrington combining for four tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Johnson also contributed a sack. Williams was shut out in the sack department and wound up the year with 10.5 to lead the team. Merriman started at right end and may have earned an invitation back after a strong finish to the season. Grade: 6

LINEBACKERS: Undoubtedly one of the best games of the season for this maligned unit. Nick Barnett, Nigel Bradham and Kelvin Sheppard combined for 30 tackles as the Jets ran 36 times for just 133 yards, a very respectable 3.7 average allowed by the defense. Bradham had several big sticks and also recovered a fumble. Bryan Scott, meanwhile, had a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown to open the scoring for Buffalo, his fourth pick of the season. Grade: 9

SECONDARY: Jairus Byrd and George Wilson were solid in run support while cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Aaron Williams (two passes defended) did a good job limiting the effect of Braylon Edwards (four catches, 42 yards) and Jeremy Kerley (three, 88). Mark Sanchez completed just 17 of 35 passes for 205 yards, no TDs and a 55.1 rating. Grade: 9

SPECIAL TEAMS: Marcel Dareus blocked a field goal to start the second half and coverage units were solid all around. Placekicker Rian Lindell did miss two long field goals, both wide left, to spoil what had been one of his best seasons. Grade: 7

COACHING: Like Fitzpatrick, this may have been Chan Gailey's last game as Bills coach. If so, he made it count, calling a smart, balanced game featuring 31 runs and 26 passes against a Jets team that left its bus running. Offense, defense and special teams contributed to the win and gave the front office something to ponder regarding Gailey's future. Grade: 8


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories