Joe B: Buffalo Bills All-22 Review vs. Cincinnati Bengals (10/12/17)

(WKBW) - The Buffalo Bills couldn’t quite make it three wins in a row this past weekend in Cincinnati, falling to the Bengals which dropped their season record to 3-2. 

Up next, the Bills get a weekend off to reflect on the first five weeks of the season, and then to get ready for their Week Seven tilt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Before we start to discuss that game next week, first is a look back at the game that was for the Bills.

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 Bengals, along with full explanations of the top five and the bottom three:

The Top Five

1) DE Jerry Hughes
Snaps on the Field: 51/66
Grade vs. Bengals: A
- After a start this strong to the beginning of the season, there has been continued proof that Hughes has been the best player on the Bills roster — and it really hasn’t even been close. Though he was called for a roughing the passer penalty — perhaps being called on reputation alone as opposed to it actually being deserved — that was the lone misstep in a game that he dominated off the edge against both the run and the pass. Though he didn’t come away with a sack, Hughes was by left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi so quickly on plays that it caused Andy Dalton to panic and make a throw he didn’t want to, or to leave the pocket far more quickly than desired. No matter the matchup in 2017, Hughes has been an unstoppable force. In all his years in Buffalo, this is the highest consistent level I’ve seen him play at, and it would be hard to believe that Sean McDermott’s scheme doesn’t have a big part to do with it.

2) S Jordan Poyer
Snaps on the Field: 66/66
Grade vs. Bengals: A-
- Another week, and another game that safety Jordan Poyer had his hand in some potentially game-changing plays. Poyer caught the deflected pass for an interception and had the fumble recovery along with a pretty substantial return after the fact, but his ability to read a play and be there to thwart the offense was once again noticeable. Poyer’s outright ability to continuously be in the right spot against both the run and the pass has turned his contract and cap hit into an outright steal for the Bills five games into his tenure with the team.

3) S Micah Hyde
Snaps on the Field: 66/66
Grade vs. Bengals: B+
- The playmaking safeties had a hand in three turnovers against the Bengals, and Hyde’s contribution was by adding yet another interception to his total. Now with four on the season, it’s not just luck that has put Hyde in the right spot at the right times. I’m really impressed, week-to-week, by his ability change his body’s momentum and adjust to the ball, which has created numerous opportunities for him to pick off a pass. We saw a tipped pass get intercepted by Hyde against Atlanta as well, which also shows his ability to finish plays is really strong as well. Hyde was also a calming presence in coverage as well. As their big money free agent this past offseason, he’s been a dynamite signing by the Buffalo Bills.

4) DE Shaq Lawson
Snaps on the Field: 47/66
Grade vs. Bengals: B
- The Cincinnati Bengals really struggled to get themselves going on the ground to a large degree, and that’s partially due to the work that Shaq Lawson had been doing off the edge. Clearly, this isn’t just about tackles because if it were, then you would see linebackers up here. No, his body control, strength, and positioning continue to take away options from opposing running backs as they try to the right side of the offense. Lawson is usually there pushing his blocker or holding at the point of attack, and if he isn’t, that’s probably because he forced a holding penalty (which he’s done multiple times this year). You didn’t hear Lawson’s name much during the game, but he did a really nice job against the run and helped the problem from the last two weeks go away a bit.

5) RB LeSean McCoy
Snaps on the Field: 54/70
Grade vs. Bengals: B
- A day of only having 89 total yards from scrimmage on 25 touches usually isn’t one that warrants this type of billing, but when he was given his opportunities up the middle on run plays, McCoy made things happen. About four or five times through the Bengals game — and really the three games before it, too — I would shake my head and say, ‘Man, the positive yardage on that run is totally LeSean McCoy. He’s getting no help.’ And it’s true when the Bills are trying to stretch the ball to the outside, the running game rarely gets much of anything. The encouraging part of Sunday was the work up the middle, though. McCoy started to get some room, and that could be to build upon. I also liked him when he was lined up as a wide receiver. He came away with a couple of big catches in situations that needed someone to make a play. This was as encouraging as a performance from McCoy, and by parts of this running game, that we’ve seen in recent weeks.

The Middle

6) SLB Lorenzo Alexander
Snaps on the Field: 61/66
Grade vs. Bengals: B

7) CB Tre’Davious White
Snaps on the Field: 66/66
Grade vs. Bengals: B

8) WR Brandon Tate
Snaps on the Field: 34/70
Grade vs. Bengals: B

9) C Eric Wood
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Bengals: B

10) WLB Matt Milano
Snaps on the Field: 41/66
Grade vs. Bengals: B

11) DE Eddie Yarbrough
Snaps on the Field: 15/66
Grade vs. Bengals: B-

12) RB Mike Tolbert
Snaps on the Field: 16/70
Grade vs. Bengals: B-

13) DT Kyle Williams
Snaps on the Field: 51/66
Grade vs. Bengals: B-

14) TE Nick O’Leary
Snaps on the Field: 59/70
Grade vs. Bengals: B-

15) DT Marcell Dareus
Snaps on the Field: 22/66
Grade vs. Bengals: B-

16) DE Ryan Davis
Snaps on the Field: 17/66
Grade vs. Bengals: B-

17) WR Zay Jones
Snaps on the Field: 66/70
Grade vs. Bengals: B-

18) DT Cedric Thornton
Snaps on the Field: 15/66
Grade vs. Bengals: B-

19) WR Andre Holmes
Snaps on the Field: 31/70
Grade vs. Bengals: B-

20) CB Leonard Johnson
Snaps on the Field: 15/66
Grade vs. Bengals: B-

21) LG Richie Incognito
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Bengals: C+

22) FB Patrick DiMarco
Snaps on the Field: 16/70
Grade vs. Bengals: C+

23) MLB Preston Brown
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Bengals: C+

24) RG Vladimir Ducasse
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Bengals: C+

25) WR Kaelin Clay
Snaps on the Field: 41/70
Grade vs. Bengals: C+

26) DT Adolphus Washington
Snaps on the Field: 33/66
Grade vs. Bengals: C+

27) LT Dion Dawkins
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Bengals: C

28) CB Shareece Wright
Snaps on the Field: 66/66
Grade vs. Bengals: C

29) TE Logan Thomas
Snaps on the Field: 20/70
Grade vs. Bengals: C

The Bottom Three

30) QB Tyrod Taylor
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Bengals: C
- It’s really hard to put the blame totally on Tyrod Taylor for this game because of who the Bills had surrounding him. The wide receivers are below starting caliber, as is the tight end, and the pass blocking was lacking as they tried to get some semblance of a passing attack started. However, what is Tyrod’s fault is not seeing when some of those receivers were open — and in his line of sight on certain plays, strangely inaccurate passes to the intermediate areas that brought on incompletions, and shockingly, a lack of wanting to leave the pocket and run the ball. The latter is something we don’t usually see from Taylor, as he’s usually at his best when he’s moving and getting outside the pocket. This does not mean that the Bills should move on from Taylor as their starter. He’s done enough over the three wins of the Bills to help them claim the victories, and, he’s good enough to keep the team close in games and by not committing turnovers. He’s also thrown some pretty outstanding passes, including the touchdown pass to Brandon Tate against the Bengals. Though he is a shiny new toy, Nathan Peterman is still a rookie, and one wasn’t overwhelmingly impressive during the preseason. He was just a bit different of a player, and because people have become so used to Taylor’s problems, new problems might be more desirable at this point. However, Taylor gives them the best chance to win week in, and week out. And since the Bills are trying to build a team and potentially steal a playoff spot this year, you shouldn’t expect Taylor to leave the starting lineup anytime soon. 

31) CB Greg Mabin
Snaps on the Field: 28/66
Grade vs. Bengals: C-
- It was certainly a tough spot for the undrafted rookie, being brought up from the practice squad on Saturday, and then jettisoned into the lineup once nickel corner Leonard Johnson suffered a hamstring injury. Upon entering the lineup, the Bengals went after Mabin. They completed multiple passes on him and got big chunks of yards along the way. To Mabin’s credit, he made a really nice play in the end zone by playing his man really well — so there is at least some potential to work with here. It was just a tough spot to be in during a close game and without much prep time. Truth be told, I’d like to see more of Mabin — as he is the prototypical type of cornerback McDermott and the Bills usually go for. If the E.J. Gaines injury persists, I wouldn’t be opposed to him starting over Shareece Wright.

32) RT Jordan Mills
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Bengals: C-
- With the Bills successfully upgrading their right guard spot by placing Vladimir Ducasse into the lineup for John Miller — a surprisingly much better fit for the scheme, the focus should now shift to how to improve the ever-struggling right tackle Jordan Mills. Through five games, Mills has struggled consistently — as he did for the majority of the 2016 season, and even in his handful of starts in the 2015 season. At this point, we know who Mills is. And now, the Bills have some options to replace him. The Bills weren’t committed to Cordy Glenn taking his spot back at left tackle, which could mean he gets a look at right tackle. Seantrel Henderson is also returning from his suspension and practiced at right tackle in the second-half of the summer practices. No matter what it is, the Bills have to be better than they’ve been at right tackle.

Players with less than 15 snaps:
TE Charles Clay - 13

Active players without an offensive or defensive snap: QB Nathan Peterman, QB/WR Joe Webb, RB Taiwan Jones, RB Joe Banyard, LT Cordy Glenn, G/C Ryan Groy, LB Tanner Vallejo, LB Deon Lacey, S Trae Elston, S Shamarko Thomas

Inactives: TE Khari Lee (5), DT Jerel Worthy (4), OT Conor McDermott (3), WR Jordan Matthews (1), RG John Miller (1), LB Ramon Humber (1), CB E.J. Gaines (1)
*(Total games inactive)

Season Grades (Last week’s rank)
*At least 75 snaps to qualify

1) DE Jerry Hughes - 3.67 (1)
2) S Micah Hyde - 3.48 (3)
3) DT Kyle Williams - 3.29 (2)
4) DE Shaq Lawson - 3.25 (4)
5) CB Tre’Davious White - 3.22 (5)
6) S Jordan Poyer - 3.17 (6)
7) DE Eddie Yarbrough - 3.07 (7)
8) CB E.J. Gaines - 3.06 (9)
9) SLB Lorenzo Alexander - 3.06 (8)
10) RB LeSean McCoy - 3.04 (10)
11) WR Jordan Matthews - 3.03 (11) 
12) TE Charles Clay - 2.98 (13)
13) LG Richie Incognito - 2.85 (12)
14) WR Andre Holmes - 2.80 (16)
15) FB Patrick DiMarco - 2.79 (15)
16) QB Tyrod Taylor - 2.70 (14)
17) RB Mike Tolbert - 2.70 (18)
18) TE Nick O’Leary - 2.68 (19)
19) C Eric Wood - 2.67 (24)
20) DE Ryan Davis - 2.67 (21)
21) WLB Ramon Humber - 2.66 (22)
22) MLB Preston Brown - 2.60 (20)
23) DT Marcell Dareus - 2.59 (25)
24) DT Cedric Thornton - 2.57 (26)
25) DT Adolphus Washington - 2.56 (23)
26) LT Dion Dawkins - 2.55 (17)
27) WR Zay Jones - 2.49 (27)
28) NCB Leonard Johnson - 2.30 (28) 
29) CB Shareece Wright - 2.22 (NR)
30) RT Jordan Mills - 1.93 (30)
31) RG John Miller - 1.87 (31)

**LT Cordy Glenn was removed for falling below the minimum snaps for the rankings

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. Those can be seen above.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

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