Joe B: Buffalo Bills All-22 Review vs. Carolina Panthers (9/19/17)

(WKBW) - The Buffalo Bills couldn’t quite capitalize on their chances against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, and ended up with their first loss of the season. The Bills were clearly going up against a much better opponent this time around, and some of the results showed why.

Up next, the Bills have another tough opponent in the Denver Broncos, but before we turn our attention to Week Three of the season, first we’ll take a look back at the week that was.

Each and every week, WKBW.com will review the tape, and bring you how each player graded out in the previous week, with the help of the Game Pass app on NFL.com. You can see a full explanation of how they are done at the bottom of the article.

Now, to the individual player grades of the Bills versus the Panthers, along with full explanations of the top five and the bottom three:

The Top Five

1) DE Jerry Hughes
Snaps on the Field: 45/68
Grade vs. Panthers: A-
- Oh, what a game it was for Jerry Hughes. He’s back home in the defense that best suits him and he’s clearly having a lot of fun doing it. Coming into the game, it seemed like a huge opportunity against a poor left tackle for Hughes to dominate — and guess what? He did just that. Hughes came away with two sacks, but his game was so much more than that. He was sound against the run on the edge, he forced Cam Newton to hurry up his reads in the pocket multiple times, and he probably could have come away with four sacks against Carolina. The Panthers had no answer for him all game long.

2) DE Shaq Lawson
Snaps on the Field: 42/68
Grade vs. Panthers: A-
- By far, this was Shaq Lawson’s best game as a pro. He seems like a natural fit for Sean McDermott’s 4-3 defensive scheme as a defensive end and has really flashed a lot of ability since the beginning of training camp. Against Carolina, Lawson’s raw power was on display in how quickly he could force the right tackle back to disrupt multiple rushing attempts. His best play in doing this was on the goal line, walking back his opposition, and then slamming the ball carrier down for a loss of two yards. While his pass rush may not be as developed as Hughes, his power is his best asset and it helped him get in position for his first sack of the season on Sunday. 

3) DT Kyle Williams
Snaps on the Field: 46/68
Grade vs. Panthers: A-
- Notice a trend here? The reason the Bills were in that game right until the very end was because of how well the defensive line played against the Panthers offensive line. For the second straight week, Williams was one of the best on the field for the Bills — defying normal logic about players at his age slowing down. Williams, like Hughes and Lawson, is a natural fit for this defensive scheme and was a disruptive force against the Panthers. While Hughes and Lawson had the bigger games on broadcast, Williams set the table for them on so many different occasions with how well he penetrated the pocket and the line of scrimmage to stop the Panthers cold. He has been outstanding to start the season.

4) S Jordan Poyer
Snaps on the Field: 68/68
Grade vs. Panthers: B+
- Although it wasn’t as good as his Week One debut, Jordan Poyer once again showed how instinctive a player he is. He kept his eyes firmly locked on Cam Newton at all times, and on four separate occasions, came from a long distance away — just by reading the quarterback — to either break up a pass or to stop a play completely right after the catch was made. He prevented two touchdowns with pass breakups, he nearly intercepted another pass thanks to his instincts, and he came down with another sack against Carolina.

5) CB Tre’Davious White
Snaps on the Field: 66/68
Grade vs. Panthers: B+
- Not nearly as noticeable as the first four, but rookie Tre’Davious White locked down one side of the field for the Bills. It’s not a man-coverage scheme, but White’s confidence in trusting what he sees and instinctively reacting to the play has shown that he has a lot of potential in the NFL. Not once did I sit there, watching his Week Two performance thinking to myself ‘Man, they’re really picking on the rookie.’ He’s been rock steady, and very nearly caused a turnover because of how well he disguised himself, trusted what he saw, and tipped the pass back. He’s a good player right now. If he can start to pick some passes off along with continuing his solid play, he’s going to make some waves in the NFL. His biggest test will come in Week Four when the Bills take on the high-powered Atlanta Falcons. However, White has been really good through two weeks.

The Middle

6) S Micah Hyde
Snaps on the Field: 66/68
Grade vs. Panthers: B+

7) SLB Lorenzo Alexander
Snaps on the Field: 43/68
Grade vs. Panthers: B+

8) LG Richie Incognito
Snaps on the Field: 54/54
Grade vs. Panthers: B+

9) DE Eddie Yarbrough
Snaps on the Field: 23/68
Grade vs. Panthers: B+

10) CB EJ Gaines
Snaps on the Field: 64/68
Grade vs. Panthers: B

11) DT Adolphus Washington
Snaps on the Field: 32/68
Grade vs. Panthers: B

12) WR Jordan Matthews
Snaps on the Field: 50/54
Grade vs. Panthers: B-

13) MLB Preston Brown
Snaps on the Field: 68/68
Grade vs. Panthers: B-

14) RB LeSean McCoy
Snaps on the Field: 40/54
Grade vs. Panthers: B-

15) TE Charles Clay
Snaps on the Field: 45/54
Grade vs. Panthers: B-

16) LT Dion Dawkins
Snaps on the Field: 37/54
Grade vs. Panthers: B-

17) DT Cedric Thornton
Snaps on the Field: 31/68
Grade vs. Panthers: B-

18) DE Ryan Davis
Snaps on the Field: 26/68
Grade vs. Panthers: B-

19) DT Marcell Dareus
Snaps on the Field: 17/68
Grade vs. Panthers: B-

20) WR Andre Holmes
Snaps on the Field: 34/54
Grade vs. Panthers: B-

21) C Eric Wood
Snaps on the Field: 54/54
Grade vs. Panthers: B-

22) TE Nick O’Leary
Snaps on the Field: 20/54
Grade vs. Panthers: B-

23) RG John Miller
Snaps on the Field: 54/54
Grade vs. Panthers: C+

24) WR Zay Jones
Snaps on the Field: 49/54
Grade vs. Panthers: C+

25) LT Cordy Glenn
Snaps on the Field: 17/54
Grade vs. Panthers: C+

26) QB Tyrod Taylor
Snaps on the Field: 54/54
Grade vs. Panthers: C

The Bottom Three

27) WLB Ramon Humber
Snaps on the Field: 63/68
Grade vs. Panthers: C
- While Ramon Humber does provide some nice ability on running sideline to sideline and in making a play against the run, the starting weakside linebacker just has had too many gaffes in both coverages and in missed tackles to save his day. When comparing him to Tyrod Taylor as to who would be in the bottom three, Taylor made enough positive plays to keep him out ahead of Humber. Now with the presence of Jelani Jenkins on the roster — a young, quick linebacker that has 34 starts to his name in the NFL, Humber can’t afford many more games like this one.

28) CB Leonard Johnson
Snaps on the Field: 46/68
Grade vs. Panthers: D+
- There weren’t any bad beats for Leonard Johnson, but on way too many occasions he was just a half-step slow to react to the receiver in his zone, which gave Cam Newton all the room he needed to make multiple plays and keep the chains moving. Perhaps he was a bit slowed down by the quad injury that he suffered on Thursday at practice, but some of those throws could have been prevented had he been quicker to react. In what was a tremendous defensive performance, for the most part, Johnson was one of the weak spots that the Panthers picked on.

29) RT Jordan Mills
Snaps on the Field: 54/54
Grade vs. Panthers: D+
- For the second straight week, the starting right tackle of the team was one of the bottom three performers on the field. Jordan Mills, going up against a combination of Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers, struggled to maintain his blocks — and at times, to even stay on his own two feet. The struggles of Mills have been well documented at this point, but there’s really nothing the Bills can do. With Dion Dawkins tied up at left tackle (and showing potential over there) due to Cordy Glenn’s longstanding ankle injury, Mills will be the starter for the foreseeable future. The team does have rookie Conor McDermott on the roster, but he hasn’t made any waves in practice thus far and has been inactive for both games this season.

Players with less than 15 snaps:
RB Mike Tolbert (13)
WR Kaelin Clay (5)
CB Shareece Wright (2)
TE Logan Thomas (1)

Active players without an offensive or defensive snap: QB Nathan Peterman, QB/WR Joe Webb, RB Taiwan Jones, OL Ryan Groy, LB Matt Milano, LB Tanner Vallejo, LB Deon Lacey, S Trae Elston, S Colt Anderson

Inactives: RB Joe Banyard (1), WR Brandon Tate (1), TE Khari Lee (2), OT Conor McDermott (2), G Vladimir Ducasse (2), DT Jerel Worthy (2), LB Jelani Jenkins (1)
*(Total games inactive)

Season Grades (Last week’s rank)
*At least 30 snaps to qualify

1) DT Kyle Williams - 3.83
2) DE Jerry Hughes - 3.50
3) S Jordan Poyer - 3.49
4) DE Shaq Lawson - 3.36
5) S Micah Hyde - 3.33
6) RB LeSean McCoy - 3.24
7) DE Eddie Yarbrough - 3.22
8) SLB Lorenzo Alexander - 3.21
9) CB Tre’Davious White - 3.14
10) LG Richie Incognito - 3.14
11) WR Jordan Matthews - 3.05
12) TE Nick O’Leary - 2.90
13) DT Adolphus Washington - 2.89
14) RB Mike Tolbert - 2.88
15) FB Patrick DiMarco - 2.87
16) CB EJ Gaines - 2.86
17) WR Andre Holmes - 2.85
18) QB Tyrod Taylor - 2.78
19) C Eric Wood - 2.67
20) LB Preston Brown - 2.67
21) TE Charles Clay - 2.67
22) LT Dion Dawkins - 2.67
23) DT Marcell Dareus - 2.67
24) DE Ryan Davis - 2.67
25) DT Cedric Thornton - 2.67
26) WR Zay Jones - 2.53
27) LB Ramon Humber - 2.48
28) CB Leonard Johnson - 2.17
29) LT Cordy Glenn - 2.08
30) RT Jordan Mills - 1.86
31) RG John Miller - 1.74

How they’re graded:

Every Tuesday, when the All-22 film becomes available, we’ll go through and watch each play and every player on each play as many times as necessary, to assess a letter grade for that game to the player. It is subjective analysis, and it’s important to note that we do not know the play calls and full responsibilities. With that written, the grades stem from technique, outstanding efforts, and presumed liability.

Only players that take a snap on offense or defense are accounted for, and players with under 15 snaps, unless they have a significant impact on the game, will not be factored into weekly rankings. 

Season-long grades have been tallied and documented, with each individual game’s grade being weighted for how much the player was on the field in a given week.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

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