Joe B: Buffalo Bills All-22 Review - Week 1 vs. Baltimore Ravens

(WKBW) - Following a playoff year, the Buffalo Bills returned to the playing field for their first regular season game of 2018, and, to put it lightly, it did not go well. The Bills found themselves on the wrong side of a 47-3 blowout from the Baltimore Ravens.

Up next, the Bills will take on the Los Angeles Chargers at home in a game they'll hope to return to a bit of normalcy. Before that happens, first is an in-depth look at the individual performances from the Week One loss to the Ravens.

Each week, WKBW.com will review the film, 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 the grades get calculated at the bottom of the article.

Before we get to the individual grades, first some takeaways from the game to help fill in some of the gaps between the grades that you'll see:

1) The better QB is easy to see, but the Bills better be wary of bad habits forming
- If you base the decision on who the Bills should start only on what you see from the film of the Week One loss to Baltimore, it's a no contest. Josh Allen would be the selection every single time. However, substituting Allen in the starting lineup over Nathan Peterman isn't as simple as it sounds, and the potential of having long-term bad habits forming for the first-round pick just for the sake of short-term relief after an egregiously lousy Week One is a real one. I'll start with Peterman first. Reading the play and providing the right throw wasn't a weakness for him. That was his biggest strength in the game, though, the execution of the throw is what ultimately did him in too many times. That paired with some poor blocking along the offensive line and it snowballed on him in a hurry. There were also some receiver drops mixed in. Nothing went right for Peterman both on his own accord and with the team around him. When Allen entered the game, you could tell that the talent gap is unmistakable between the rookie and Peterman. However, Allen had to deal with the same issues along the offensive line and did so in a worrisome way on several occasions. The internal clock isn't all the way there yet for Allen, and rather than standing tall in a relatively unmuddied pocket, and he would instead dart for the boundary to try and make a play with his legs -- even with a receiver or two running open down the field. Now, the blocking will never be perfect in the NFL, and good quarterbacks overcome those things while still operating the passing game efficiently. However, the Bills need to figure out their offensive line a tad more before it's a desirable situation for the rookie quarterback, so the Bills don't have to worry about the bad habit of leaving the pocket too early from forming. On the positive side, Allen flashed his arm on a handful of throws, as well as the ability to go through progressions and scan the entire field. The signs are there, but an offense full of questions around him could be a potential longterm pitfall if they pull the Allen tab too early. Just because the Bills are working for something bigger than immediate returns, I think the best course of action for the long-term would be to figure out the offense a bit more before they subject Allen to the starting lineup every week.

2) OL wasn't all bad, but two positions were complete liabilities
- The offensive line has been an albatross for fans of the team since the second preseason game in Cleveland, and while it wasn't a great effort by any means, the abilities of some of the starters are better than many give them credit. The best lineman from the Ravens game was left guard Vladimir Ducasse, who has been a punching bag for Bills fans on social media without cause. Ducasse took two penalties in the game, but he was the strongest one-on-one blocker against the Ravens and provided some terrific combo blocks along the way. He also was far better in 2017 than mostly given credit for by some. Ducasse isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The tackle play was passable against the Ravens, with both Dion Dawkins and Jordan Mills providing good protection on some plays and serving up some bad reps on others. They were the least of their worries. The big concern is at both center and right guard. In his first start for the retired Eric Wood, Ryan Groy was an outright liability. He found himself on the ground far too many times, and he nearly made Peterman throw an interception because he whiffed on a block. Groy struggled in both run and pass blocking. You can say the same for John Miller, who returned to the starting lineup after getting benched in Week Five of 2017. Unfortunately for the Bills, the Miller they saw is the same one that they were forced to sit after the first quarter of the season. He is just a tad too slow to get to the spots that the Bills need him, and then is slow to react in some other instances. That duo is the biggest reason that gives me hesitation for the Bills starting Josh Allen in Week Two. The Bills need to figure out if either player can be a dependable starter, or if they need to turn to some bench players. I don't know that I'd risk my top ten quarterback pick while that all is going on. If it was only one position that's one thing, but since it's 40-percent of the offensive line, I'd opt to try and figure that out first before having the rookie run for his life -- especially if they know winning in 2018 isn't the most critical part of the season.

3) Benjamin's apathy was apparent
- Sean McDermott wouldn't say on Monday that starting wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin had a lack of effort against the Ravens. I'll do it for him. Kelvin Benjamin had a lack of effort against the Ravens. Watching him on a play-to-play basis, especially as the score was getting more and more out of hand, you could tell there wasn't as much motivation. Sure, Benjamin would run his primary route -- but that was it, and even those lacked urgency. If the quarterback went scrambling, Benjamin rarely tried to work back to the ball. On the interceptions, the wide receiver gave a half-hearted trot to try and bring the defender with the ball down. Making matters worse, he dropped a pair of passes -- including a touchdown -- and didn't at all resemble the contested catch maven that his reputation provides. The most confusing part is that Benjamin is in a contract year, so you would think he would go all out every snap he's out there. Simply put, the Bills need more from their top wide receiver -- and if the trend that we saw in Week One with his effort continues, the Bills might be forced to figure out what to do with him.

4) The best Bills DL from Week One is now injured
- In the grades, you'll notice quite a few defenders with better grades than you'd probably expect from a 47-3 loss. The defense had to deal with four separate drives that started on their side of the field, and the average drive start for Baltimore was on their 41-yard-line -- an absurd average given all of their possesions. However, the most significant let down defensively, without question, is how poorly the supposedly improved defensive line played in Week One. While he's still coming back from a lingering groin injury, defensive end Trent Murphy was one of the worst performers on Sunday. Star Lotulelei failed to take advantage of some clear one-on-one opportunities and had a poor game against the run as well. Jerry Hughes, even though he had some one-on-one chances, couldn't bring down the quarterback and had a below average performance -- especially to his usual standards. Adolphus Washington was abysmal and lacked effort, which was the catalyst to his release on Monday. Kyle Williams and Eddie Yarbrough were solid against the run but didn't provide the pass rush the Bills so desired. The best defensive lineman the Bills had -- and it wasn't close -- was the defensive end, Shaq Lawson, as he played well versus the run and he had some shots to bring down the quarterback. However, he suffered an injury and may not be available in Week Two. On the up-and-up, rookie defensive tackle Harrison Phillips performed well and showed effort right to the last play, which might be why the Bills are more comfortable going with a three-person rotation at defensive tackle rather than giving snaps to Washington. If the Bills want to improve defensively, though, they need a much bigger effort from all parts of their defensive line -- and above all else, they have to put more pressure on the quarterback. Joe Flacco had all day to throw on several different occasions, and the Bills were burned by it. 

5) Signs of the Bills not being as bad as 47-3 indicates
- The Bills were a victim of some abysmal individual performances that led them to be completely blown out. Those individuals overshadowed some outstanding efforts in the game -- specifically on defense. The linebackers, cornerbacks, and safeties were all relatively solid. Middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds showed rookie tendencies just as much as he did flash plays, but the signs of a good player are there. Weakside linebacker Matt Milano was terrific, as were safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. Cornerback Tre'Davious White was outstanding against the Ravens and didn't give Joe Flacco anything all game long. And hey, even Phillip Gaines played relatively well. Yes, I'm shocked, too. He gave up one big reception on a flag route and then had a touchdown caught over his head, but the rest of the time he was reasonably stable in coverage and a sound tackler. He wasn't at Shareece Wright levels or anything like that. The Bills have talent on that side of the ball, and if the pass rush gets their act together, the defense has the potential to keep the Bills in some games in 2018.

Without further ado, the individual grades:

1) CB Tre'Davious White
Snaps on the Field: 77/80
Grade vs. Ravens: A-

2) WLB Matt Milano
Snaps on the Field: 76/80
Grade vs. Ravens: B+

3) DE Shaq Lawson
Snaps on the Field: 35/80
Grade vs. Ravens: B+

4) S Micah Hyde
Snaps on the Field: 76/80
Grade vs. Ravens: B

5) DT Harrison Phillips
Snaps on the Field: 41/80
Grade vs. Ravens: B

6) S Jordan Poyer
Snaps on the Field: 77/80
Grade vs. Ravens: B

7) MLB Tremaine Edmunds
Snaps on the Field: 80/80
Grade vs. Ravens: B

8) LG Vladimir Ducasse
Snaps on the Field: 64/64
Grade vs. Ravens: B

9) SLB Lorenzo Alexander
Snaps on the Field: 44/80
Grade vs. Ravens: B

10) DE Eddie Yarbrough
Snaps on the Field: 39/80
Grade vs. Ravens: B-

11) LT Dion Dawkins
Snaps on the Field: 62/64
Grade vs. Ravens: B-

12) DT Kyle Williams
Snaps on the Field: 45/80
Grade vs. Ravens: B-

13) RT Jordan Mills
Snaps on the Field: 64/64
Grade vs. Ravens: B-

14) QB Josh Allen
Snaps on the Field: 32/64
Grade vs. Ravens: B-

15) WR Zay Jones
Snaps on the Field: 60/64
Grade vs. Ravens: B-

16) WR Jeremy Kerley
Snaps on the Field: 44/64
Grade vs. Ravens: B-

17) TE Logan Thomas
Snaps on the Field: 18/64
Grade vs. Ravens: B-

18) RB Marcus Murphy
Snaps on the Field: 23/64
Grade vs. Ravens: B-

19) RB LeSean McCoy
Snaps on the Field: 34/64
Grade vs. Ravens: B-

20) NCB Taron Johnson
Snaps on the Field: 17/80
Grade vs. Ravens: B-

21) TE Jason Croom
Snaps on the Field: 18/64
Grade vs. Ravens: B-

22) WR Robert Foster
Snaps on the Field: 16/64
Grade vs. Ravens: B-

23) DE Jerry Hughes
Snaps on the Field: 53/80
Grade vs. Ravens: C+

24) CB Phillip Gaines
Snaps on the Field: 79/80
Grade vs. Ravens: C+

25) TE Charles Clay
Snaps on the Field: 40/64
Grade vs. Ravens: C+

26) NCB/S Rafael Bush
Snaps on the Field: 31/80
Grade vs. Ravens: C+

27) DT Star Lotulelei
Snaps on the Field: 38/80
Grade vs. Ravens: C

28) WR Kelvin Benjamin
Snaps on the Field: 47/64
Grade vs. Ravens: C-

29) DE Trent Murphy
Snaps on the Field: 28/80
Grade vs. Ravens: D+

30) DT Adolphus Washington
Snaps on the Field: 32/80
Grade vs. Ravens: D

31) RG John Miller
Snaps on the Field: 64/64
Grade vs. Ravens: D

32) C Ryan Groy
Snaps on the Field: 64/64
Grade vs. Ravens: D

33) QB Nathan Peterman
Snaps on the Field: 32/64
Grade vs. Ravens: F+

Players with less than 15 snaps:
WR Andre Holmes (11)
RB Chris Ivory (7)
WLB Ramon Humber (4)
T Marshall Newhouse (3)
CB Lafayette Pitts (3)
S Siran Neal (3)
SLB Deon Lacey (2)
FB Patrick DiMarco (1)

Active players without an offensive or defensive snap: 
RB Taiwan Jones
C Russell Bodine

Inactives: 
*(Total games inactive in 2018)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud (1)
TE Khari Lee (1)
T Conor McDermott (1)
G Wyatt Teller (1)
LB Julian Stanford (1)
CB Vontae Davis (1)
CB Ryan Lewis (1)

Season-long grades:
Available starting next week

How the grades work:

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 a 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.

The study accounts only for players that take a snap on offense or defense, and players with under 15 snaps -- unless they have a significant impact on the game -- will not factor into weekly rankings. 

Season-long grades have been tallied and documented, with an individual game’s grade weighted for how much the player was on the field in a given week. Those will be available starting in Week Two.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

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