In the real world, I’m a middle school teacher. So who could be more apt than me to hand out grades? After each week I’ll hand out my Bills report card, position by position.
Here’s Mr. Andrews’s grade book for Buffalo’s 41-7 beatdown of Kansas City.
QB – B+
This might seem a bit harsh given that Ryan Fitzpatrick threw four touchdowns and zero picks, but he was a bit shaky in the first half. Fitz missed a few throws the Bills are going to need to have in closer games. Really tough to complain much about his second half though.
Tyler Thigpen played but just handed off. Brad Smith got a bit more action, running for a few first downs. He did throw an interception late when he tried to hit Roscoe Parrish deep. I was okay with that though. You have to make defenses believe he’s gonna throw the ball deep once in a while so they don’t put 11 guys in the box every time he’s in.
RB – A
Fred Jackson is very, very good. He’s so shifty and seems to just find ways to make the first tackler miss. He was so impressive in this one, racking up 112 yards on just 20 carries. My favorite play of his Sunday was a simple two-yard run at the end of the first half. Jackson was hit in the backfield but absolutely refused to go down, dragging a defender past the first down marker. Just so tough. How the hell did ESPN rank this guy as just the 30th-best RB in the league?
Meanwhile, C.J. Spiller picked up his first NFL rushing TD on a nice little scamper that showed his impressive speed. He had a few ugly runs early though. Johnny White carried the load in the fourth quarter and did fine despite the second-string O-line blocking for him and the very vanilla offense being used.
WR – B
This group was overshadowed a bit by the crazy days Scott Chandler and Fred Jackson had, but Stevie Johnson and David Nelson each had nice days. Nelson is a weapon. His size makes him a tough matchup. I really just wish he were faster. Donald Jones had a very quiet day (2 catches, 3 yards), but one of his two catches was for a touchdown. Roscoe Parrish was a nonfactor – that’ll need to change.
TE – A+
Too high? Probably. But I was just so excited to see a Bills tight end doing something. Kudos to you, Scott Chandler.
OL – B
This may only be a B, but it’s a B I’m pretty thrilled with. Was this unit perfect? Nope. RT Erik Pears had a few shaky moments in particular, and Fred Jackson had to dodge tacklers in the backfield fairly often. But this Chiefs team can really rush the passer, and they were held in check. A big compliment goes out to LT Demetrius Bell, who held up well all day.
DL – B
Sort of a quiet day up front, as Buffalo’s starting D-line combined for just three tackles. Nothing to really complain about though. Pro Bowl DT Kyle Williams had zero tackles, but did basically force a sack early. Dwan Edwards also had a tackle for loss. Spencer Johnson continued his fine form from the preseason. He’s been very impressive so far.
LB – B+
Again, nothing to really complain about here. Even Chris Kelsay played very well. New addition Nick Barnett was active with four tackles. I was a little disappointed in Shawne Merriman, who didn’t look too interested in being out there after he hurt his arm in the first half. Let’s hope he was just protecting himself – Buffalo will need more of a pass rush later on.
DB – A
After losing CB Terrence McGee early, this group responded very well. The Chiefs managed just 105 yards passing despite being way behind and needed to throw. Drayton Florence had an interception. Bryan Scott had an incredible game at safety, racking up nine tackles, three tackles for loss, and a sack. Jairus Byrd also looked great, which was encouraging after his rough season in 2010.
ST – A
Not much to report. Rian Lindell hit two easy field goals. Brian Moorman bombed some punts. The coverage units were sound.
They won’t all be this easy, but the Bills make the honor roll this week.
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