Joe B: Buffalo Bills All-22 Review vs. Denver Broncos (9/26/17)

Joe B: Buffalo Bills All-22 Review vs. Denver Broncos (9/26/17)
Posted at 3:09 PM, Sep 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-26 15:09:36-04

For the second time in as many home games, the Buffalo Bills put together a sound team effort to secure a victory — this time over a really talented Denver Broncos team. Now, the Bills sit atop the AFC East with a 2-1 record.

Up next, the Bills will be up against an offensive juggernaut in the Atlanta Falcons, but before we turn our attention to Week Four of the season, first we’ll take a look back at the week that was.

Each and every week, 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 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 Broncos, along with full explanations of the top five and the bottom three:

The Top Five

1) DE Jerry Hughes
Snaps on the Field: 47/70
Grade vs. Broncos: A-
- For the second week in a row, defensive end Jerry Hughes tops the list as the best player on the field for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. His game against the Denver Broncos wasn’t as flashy as some others (see: E.J. Gaines), but what we ended up seeing was a sound defender that stayed home against the run and reverses, while continuing to make Trevor Siemian make throws either off-balance or way earlier than he wanted to. Working against a rookie left tackle, Hughes took advantage and was an outright nuisance to the Denver Broncos all game long. While, yes, he did take a penalty, that was really his only misstep in yet another big game. I’m going to sound like a broken record, but Hughes seems like he’s at home in this defense once again — and it doesn’t appear that there is much that can slow him down outside of an injury.

2) DT Kyle Williams
Snaps on the Field: 54/70
Grade vs. Broncos: A-
- For the third straight week, Kyle Williams was one of the most important players on the field for the Buffalo Bills as the defensive line continued to set the tempo for entire roster and game. It’s been three weeks that Williams has helped lead an overwhelmingly dominant defensive line effort — and in two of those games, it helped the Bills to a victory. If the offense could get much of anything going in Carolina, the defense played well enough for the Bills to be undefeated right now. However, against Denver, Williams was forcing the issue up the middle, causing penalties, early throws, redirections of running plays, and a few plays that make you shake your head and say, ‘How did he do that?’ Now getting nearly 73-percent of the Bills defensive snaps, that is the highest of any defensive lineman on the team. He is one of the most critical pieces of the puzzle.

3) CB E.J. Gaines
Snaps on the Field: 69/70
Grade vs. Broncos: A-
- In the first two weeks, E.J. Gaines has been extremely solid in Sean McDermott’s zone-based defensive scheme, which has certainly helped the secondary to play way above expectations to start the 2017 season. On Sunday against the Denver Broncos, Gaines had his best game as a member of the Bills — showing a strength in knowing his space on the field in the zone, and correctly identifying which players are coming into his area, and which are leaving so that way he can pass them off. He had some flash plays along the way, too, including pass breakups that showed a really good reaction time. And of course, he had the interception where he exhibited exactly what has made him such a strong fit for this defense in the first place. It’s early yet, but he has been an outstanding pickup for the Bills just a few weeks before the start of the season.

4) DE Shaq Lawson
Snaps on the Field: 43/70
Grade vs. Broncos: B+
- For those that listen to the Bills Beat podcast (you can subscribe on iTunes here), you’ll have known of the type of effort that Shaq Lawson has put it on a weekly basis to start the 2017 season. He already has three sacks to his name, but that isn’t the most impressive part of his game at this stage of his career. Lawson has proven over the first three weeks to be a ferocious run defender in this scheme, bull rushing his offensive lineman wherever he wants in an effort to either make the play, or to set up one of his defenders to bring down the ball carrier. If he continues to learn from Jerry Hughes in the ways of rushing the passer (the way that Hughes did with Dwight Freeney in Indianapolis), he could become a big part of this defense for the foreseeable future. He’s off to a great start in his career.

5) DE Eddie Yarbrough
Snaps on the Field: 18/70
Grade vs. Broncos: B+
- Five players, and four of them are defensive lineman. If that doesn’t tell you how the Bills won this game, not much else will. Eddie Yarbrough did not have a lot of time on the field — but in the time that he did have, he was an outright warrior that made multiple plays that put the Broncos in position to waste a play or to flip it in the Bills favor. On three of Yarbrough’s 18 total snaps, he was breathing down Trevor Siemian’s neck and forced him to make a throw just to survive. On the last of those snaps for Yarbrough, he made Siemian so nervous that he couldn’t even put enough on the ball to throw it out of bounds, helping it land safely into the arms of cornerback Tre’Davious White. Yarbrough is very, very good at staying home against a rollout to his side and does not fall for much, which is what led to all his opportunities in this game. Normally I’d say someone who is playing at this kind of level should warrant even more playing time, but who does he replace? Both Hughes and Lawson have been outstanding, so it seems Yarbrough is in the perfect role for now — though I do wonder what he could be if given a full starting responsibility. In three games, he’s shown that he has the ability to start in the NFL. The Bills are in a great situation at defensive end, that’s for sure.

The Middle

6) CB Tre’Davious White
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Broncos: B

7) QB Tyrod Taylor
Snaps on the Field: 65/65
Grade vs. Broncos: B

8) S Micah Hyde
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Broncos: B

9) SLB Lorenzo Alexander
Snaps on the Field: 41/70
Grade vs. Broncos: B

10) S Jordan Poyer
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Broncos: B

11) WLB Ramon Humber: 
Snaps on the Field: 65/70
Grade vs. Broncos: B

12) WR Jordan Matthews
Snaps on the Field: 50/65
Grade vs. Broncos: B

13) TE Charles Clay
Snaps on the Field: 52/65
Grade vs. Broncos: B

14) WR Andre Holmes
Snaps on the Field: 22/65
Grade vs. Broncos: B

15) MLB Preston Brown
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Broncos: B-

16) LG Richie Incognito
Snaps on the Field: 65/65
Grade vs. Broncos: B-

17) RB LeSean McCoy
Snaps on the Field: 43/65
Grade vs. Broncos: B-

18) CB Leonard Johnson
Snaps on the Field: 54/70
Grade vs. Broncos: B-

19) RB Mike Tolbert
Snaps on the Field: 21/65
Grade vs. Broncos: B-

20) WR Kaelin Clay
Snaps on the Field: 15/65
Grade vs. Broncos: B-

21) DE Ryan Davis
Snaps on the Field: 27/70
Grade vs. Broncos: B-

22) FB Patrick DiMarco
Snaps on the Field: 15/65
Grade vs. Broncos: B-

23) C Eric Wood
Snaps on the Field: 65/65
Grade vs. Broncos: C+

24) DT Cedric Thornton
Snaps on the Field: 37/70
Grade vs. Broncos: C+

25) TE Nick O’Leary
Snaps on the Field: 34/65
Grade vs. Broncos: C+

26) LT Dion Dawkins
Snaps on the Field: 65/65
Grade vs. Broncos: C+

27) WR Zay Jones
Snaps on the Field: 55/65
Grade vs. Broncos: C+

The Bottom Three

28) DT Adolphus Washington
Snaps on the Field: 34/70
Grade vs. Broncos: C+
- While the defensive line dominated the day, the Bills did have to overcome some missteps of defensive tackle Adolphus Washington. You have to give credit where credit is due, and he tore through the line of scrimmage to drop a running back for a three-yard loss on one play. The only thing, though, was that was it — and that’s been the biggest critique of Washington since he entered the league, and even at his time at Ohio State. He shows these flashes of outright dominance, and then gets blown off the ball three times as much as he flashes great ability. If he ever figures out how to tap into that ability for the majority of the game, he could be a really good player. However, unless he does that, he’s a rotational player that will occasionally make you go, “Whoa, where’d that come from?” He certainly still has potential as a young player.

29) RG John Miller
Snaps on the Field: 65/65
Grade vs. Broncos: C
- For what it’s worth, I still think John Miller can be a dependable starter in the NFL in the right offensive scheme. However, after a third straight week of being one of the weak links on the field for the Bills, it’s pretty obvious that Miller and his skill-set just are not a fit for the zone blocking scheme. He’s a powerful, short-armed guard that can block really well going downhill, and he was really good in that role in 2016. He’s struggling mostly with getting out in front of the defender when moving from side to side — he just doesn’t have the quickness, to which the defender beats him to the spot and blows up the running play before it starts. At this point, if I’m the Bills, I’m wondering how Ryan Groy might look lined up at right guard — even though he is the backup center.

30) RT Jordan Mills
Snaps on the Field: 65/65
Grade vs. Broncos: D+
- This week against the Denver Broncos, Jordan Mills had probably the toughest assignment — and probably the biggest mismatch of anyone on the field. For the vast majority of the game, he was up against Von Miller, who we all know as one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Miller had a huge impact on the game, and when Mills was left on an island against him, he really couldn’t contain or slow down the pass rusher much at all. With rookie Dion Dawkins still locked in on the left side of the line due to Cordy Glenn’s ankle injury, Mills probably has another two weeks before there’s a big competitor for his starting gig — Seantrel Henderson. The right tackle’s suspension is over in just a couple of weeks, which could pave the way for a renewed competition at right tackle.

Players with less than 15 snaps:
TE Logan Thomas (11)
WR Brandon Tate (6)
C/G Ryan Groy (1)
CB Shareece Wright (1)

Active players without an offensive or defensive snap: QB Nathan Peterman, QB/WR Joe Webb, RB Taiwan Jones, T Conor McDermott, LB Matt Milano, LB Tanner Vallejo, LB Deon Lacey, S Colt Anderson, S Robert Blanton

Inactives: DT Jerel Worthy (3), TE Khari Lee (3), G Vladimir Ducasse (3), RB Joe Banyard (2), LT Cordy Glenn (1), DT Marcell Dareus (1), DT Deandre Coleman (1)
*(Total games inactive)

Season Grades (Last week’s rank)
*At least 45 snaps to qualify

1) DT Kyle Williams - 3.77 (1)
2) DE Jerry Hughes - 3.56 (2)
3) DE Shaq Lawson - 3.35 (4)
4) S Jordan Poyer - 3.31 (3)
5) DE Eddie Yarbrough - 3.26 (7)
6) S Micah Hyde - 3.21 (5)
7) CB E.J. Gaines - 3.17 (16)
8) SLB Lorenzo Alexander - 3.13 (8)
9) CB Tre’Davious White - 3.11 (9)
10) RB LeSean McCoy - 3.06 (6)
11) WR Jordan Matthews - 3.03 (11)
12) LG Richie Incognito - 2.98 (10)
13) WR Andre Holmes - 2.88 (17)
14) QB Tyrod Taylor - 2.85 (18)
15) FB Patrick DiMarco - 2.81 (15)
16) RB Mike Tolbert - 2.80 (14)
17) TE Charles Clay - 2.78 (21)
18) TE Nick O’Leary - 2.70 (12)
19) MLB Preston Brown - 2.67 (20)
20) DE Ryan Davis - 2.67 (24)
21) DT Marcell Dareus - 2.67 (23)
22) WLB Ramon Humber - 2.66 (27)
23) DT Adolphus Washington - 2.66 (13)
24) C Eric Wood - 2.56 (19)
25) DT Cedric Thornton - 2.51 (25)
26) LT Dion Dawkins - 2.49 (22)
27) WR Zay Jones - 2.46 (26)
28) CB Leonard Johnson - 2.35 (28)
29) LT Cordy Glenn - 2.08 (29)
30) RG John Miller - 1.83 (31)
31) RT Jordan Mills - 1.80 (30)

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