Buffalo Bills report card: a failing effort


The Buffalo Bills came into Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals with the belief that they need to win in order to prove their legitimacy to the rest of the league.

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What happened, however, was an effort that will prove more naysayers correct than anyone else. But exactly how did the Bills grade out in their 34-21 loss? The results aren’t pretty.

D. E.J. Manuel, making his first start since week 4 of the 2014 season, started off the game as well as the team could’ve hoped. Maneul led an 80-yard touchdown drive to give the Bills a quick lead. Unfortunately, Manuel was plagued by missed targets and poor decisions throughout the rest of the game. Yes, he did throw for 263 yards and a touchdown, but Manuel just couldn’t make the plays needed to lead the Bills to a win. For those hoping Manuel would get a fair chance to prove himself against Tyrod Taylor, Sunday’s game should’ve put an end to those demands.. . . PASSING OFFENSE

RUNNING OFFENSE. B. If LeSean McCoy wasn’t 100%, he did a great job of hiding it. Sunday’s game was the first time that Shady really looked like himself, making defenders miss and using his agility to make plays. He took his first carry 33 yards, and finished the game with 90 yards and a score. If McCoy is back to being the playmaker everyone knows he can be, Buffalo’s offense may have gotten its focal point back. That being said, McCoy probably would’ve had a lot more yards had the offensive line made the blocks it had to make.. .

D-. The defense got to Andy Dalton early, but they just couldn’t bring him down. Buffalo tallied no sacks against the Bengals on Sunday which allowed Dalton to have all the time needed to make big throws at important times. Buffalo gave of three touchdowns through the air, both in part due to poor pass rush and tackling. For a defense that was supposed to be “feared” going into the season, the Bills leave a lot to be desired with their performance.. . . PASS DEFENSE

C+. The run defense was better than the pass coverage, but not by much. They didn’t give up a lot of yards (112), but the yards they did allow came at critical times. Gio Bernard’s 17-yard touchdown scamper was a play that should’ve been expected and stopped. But, once again, poor play doomed the Bills from the snap which led to the score. Jeremy Hill rushed for just 56 yards on 16 carries, but he provided enough power to keep the offense rolling for the Bengals. Again, it comes down to poor tackling.. . . RUN DEFENSE

No matter what you thought of the defense on Sunday, no part of the Bills was worse than the special teams unit. Marquise Goodwin got called for a facemask when he tugged on a player who was nowhere near the ball carrier; Ron Brooks took a taunting penalty. Oh yea, special teams “ace” Denarius Moore called for a fair catch…at the four-yard line. And if you think something’s missing, don’t worry…it isn’t. Missed tackles showed up again on kick coverage as Adam Jones tallied 103 return yards on Sunday, including a 49-yard return on his first touch of the game. . . . SPECIAL TEAMS. F

COACHING . F. The honeymoon phase for Rex Ryan and the fans in Buffalo is clearly over. Sunday saw a number of people across social media questioning just what he was doing with the defensive unit he inherited. Hell, even his own players were question the scheme. Pro Bowl pass rusher Mario Williams shared his frustrations after the game by bringing up that he isn’t used to dropping back into coverage as much as he has this year. For the Bills to be using a top-tier pass rusher like Williams in an unfamiliar role just shows they coaching just doesn’t have a clue right now. Oh, and the penalties continued; eight for 93 yards to be exact.. .