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 38-35 comeback win over Oakland.
QB – A-
Ryan Fitzpatrick was brilliant Sunday in the second half, directing the Bills to five touchdowns in five drives. Pretty freaking good. Can’t overlook his rough first half entirely though, when he made some poor decisions and some inaccurate throws. If the Bills have a chance this weekend against the mighty Patriots, Fitz needs to be great for four quarters.
Brad Smith made his presence felt a bit here and there, running out of that Wildcat for a few first downs. However, Smith really should of hit one of two open men on a pass play designed for him in the first half.
RB – A
Fred Jackson is truly awesome. He’s averaging 6.5 yards a carry so far this season and has dodged/ran through about 40 tackles. His huge 43-yard touchdown run early in the second half brought the Bills back to life Sunday.
C.J. Spiller didn’t get a ton of work Sunday, but he looked very good – racking up 63 yards on just four carries. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s used the rest of the season.
WR – B+
After a bad first half, this group stepped up big time in the second half. Stevie Johnson and David Nelson each had big days, combining for 18 catches and two scores. Donald Jones was again quiet, but had that clutch catch on fourth down during the winning drive. Ruvell Martin was a non-factor. Roscoe Parrish caught a pass and got hurt again. That’s a shock.
TE – B+
Scott Chandler didn’t quite have the amazing game he had in Week 1, but he did catch another touchdown. He also had a huge block early to spring Fred Jackson.
OL – A
I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the Buffalo offensive line has been spectacular this year. Fitz had time to throw all game (no sacks) and the Bills averaged 9.3 yards per carry. Demetrius Bell deserves special praise, and he’s managed to hold up pretty well after a very rough preseason.
DL – B-
A quiet day for the men up front, but they certainly weren’t noticeably awful either. Kyle Williams hit Jason Campbell a few times and had some tackles. Rookie Marcell Dareus had four solo tackles and a few nice moments.
LB – C
Nick Barnett was everywhere, managing 14 tackles and a forced fumble. The rest of the linebacking corps wasn’t quite as noticeable. Chris Kelsay had some great plays early but wasn’t exactly a game-changer. Shawne Merriman supposedly had four solo tackles but I don’t remember him doing anything during the game. Buffalo badly needs to develop a pass rush. Also, can these linebackers read a screen pass at all? It seemed like Darren McFadden caught about 10 of them for first downs.
DB – D+
Pretty rough day for this group (you should not be giving up 323 yards to Jason Campbell), but it was especially bad for corner Leodis McKelvin. McKelvin got worked all game long by a not-exactly-star-studded cast of Oakland receivers. He was hardly alone in blame though. Da’Norris Searcy did redeem the group a bit with that interception on the last play of the game.
ST – C
Not much to report since the Bills didn’t punt much and Sebastian Janikowski boomed every kickoff into the endzone. However, Moorman’s two punts were good and the kickoff coverage units were solid. Big points off for Rian Lindell’s missed/blocked field goal to end the half.