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Joe B: Buffalo Bills All-22 Review - Week 12 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Posted: 2:50 PM, Nov 27, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-27 14:52:55-05
Joe B: Buffalo Bills All-22 Review - Week 12 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Before the bye week, the Buffalo Bills finally cured what had previously ailed them on offense. Matt Barkley came in and helped the Bills to a 41-point performance, and two weeks later, rookie quarterback Josh Allen helped engineer yet another passable offensive performance -- this time against a super-talented Jacksonville defense.

Up next, the Bills head back on the road for their first matchup with the Miami Dolphins. Before that happens, first is an in-depth look at the individual performances from the Week 12 victory over the Jaguars, which improved the Bills' record to 4-7 on the 2018 season. 

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) Allen's plus-performance stands through the film test
- Before we get started, one disclaimer. You have to keep things in perspective. If you were to compare Josh Allen's day to a veteran player that had been playing all season, it might not be as impressive. However, for a rookie quarterback coming off an injury that kept him away for over a month, the statistics are quite misleading as to how genuinely effective he was for the Buffalo Bills.  We'll start with his passing which was much improved from where we last left him on multiple fronts. The most noticeable characteristic of Allen's game against the Jaguars was how much more relaxed he looked in the pocket. His offensive line wasn't doing him any favors against Jacksonville, but in previous starts that would be all Allen needed to take off and try and make a play with his legs -- but that wasn't the case on Sunday. Allen went through his reads on some snaps and had a good feel for the pressure, all while hanging in until he needed to evade the pass rush. Then, when he correctly identified he was about to get walloped, Allen either left the pocket to try and pick up yards on the ground, or he'd roll out with his eyes down the field to either throw to a receiver, or to throw it away. His poise in the pocket improved dramatically from the last appearance, though the nuances of pocket maneuverability still need some fine-tuning, this was a tremendous first step that showed improvement. Second, Allen was pushing the ball down the field -- and don't think for a second that that would have been possible without Allen hanging in the pocket longer than he was pre-injury. It was with these intermediate-to-deep attempts that we saw Allen flash all the potential that the Bills see in him -- providing highlight-reel throws where he, at times, did it with his arm countering the rest of his body.   Third, his mobility helped keep the defense from being able to settle in and provided a certain unpredictability to the Bills attack. Except for two separate runs, Allen was doing a much better job of not taking a massive hit while trying to gain an extra yard or two at the end of the run. That is an element to his game that makes him such a unique player, because if he can become a more consistent passer with all the little things, that makes him into a bonafide dual-threat that is a perfect fit for today's NFL that is rife with RPOs, bootlegs, and play action. Above all else, Allen didn't look at all nervous when dropping back to pass, and it didn't look like he was trying to do it all as he had in previous games. There were undoubtedly a few throws that weren't ideal -- with the almost-interception coming to mind most prominently when the referees called the Jaguars for a penalty. However, this was without question his best game as a starter for the Bills and provided numerous building blocks for the offensive staff on how they move forward.

2) Does McCoy still have it?
- There are a couple of factors that you have to consider when it comes to the lack of effectiveness of the Bills while running the football. The offensive line hasn't played well and didn't play well against Jacksonville. Plus, the Jaguars front-seven is an extremely talented group that has all the potential to win up front. However, with only one exception to the rule during the 2018 season out of 10 appearances now (the Jets game), you have to wonder if the decline of LeSean McCoy is here. I'm not offering this up without plenty of evidence. His 2018 season has gone from what could have been just a bad stretch of games, to now being a large enough sample size to wonder if his best days are behind him. There are some plays where you can't blame him, where the offensive line did him no favors for a frustrating result. However, on the snaps where he does have the opportunity to read the offensive line and make a decision on what to do with the ball, I've seen a hesitant runner that is relying on speed and acceleration to get through small crevices and isn't getting the job done. Part of the charm about McCoy as a runner is how he's able to make something out of nothing on some plays, but he hasn't done that more than just a handful of times during the 2018 season. He's still a quick player in comparison to other running backs, but I haven't seen those slippery characteristics that have made him a special back like in past years. Chris Ivory has been the more consistent runner this season -- on fewer chances, I know -- and I think that's because he is a decisive downhill runner that doesn't allow the offensive line enough time to lose their man before his run gets going. That's what McCoy needs to do with this offensive line -- be more decisive and not try to juke his way through a small spot. It hasn't worked for the vast majority of the season. The Bills have said that McCoy is in their plans for 2019, and they still can do that. However, they have to be honest with themselves regarding McCoy and what he has done in 2018. If he doesn't show a vast improvement in the final five games, don't be surprised if the Bills use a fairly substantial resource on running back in the offseason -- with the NFL Draft making the most sense in this case.

3) A menacing tag team on the Bills DL
- The turnaround for the defense against Jacksonville was for two separate reasons. Once Buffalo took the lead and forced Jacksonville into throwing the ball with Blake Bortles, the Bills turned their defensive line loose at the now-benched quarterback with a combination that has been a nuisance to opposing teams in obvious pass rush situations. Defensive end Jerry Hughes and defensive tackle Kyle Williams have been working together long enough to understand what each player likes to do, so when they're up against a pair of weak offensive linemen as they were down the stretch against the Jaguars, they turned them inside out on multiple occasions. Hughes and Williams almost do a football equivalent of the pick-and-roll in basketball, where one defender will circle around the back of the other -- which then runs the offensive linemen into the other. That causes massive confusion for the two sub-par linemen, they lose their handle on the non-circling defender, and that player simply slips -- or rolls, to complete the analogy -- up the field and into the backfield. It worked so successfully for Hughes and Williams that they nearly split a sack on two different occasions. Those two clearly understand one another, and when they are having fun and allowed to get the quarterback, they can do some real damage.

4) Edmunds was the key to better run defense in the 2nd half
- After the first quarter surge for the Buffalo Bills, the Jaguars took it to them on the ground -- so much so that it led to them tying up the game, and almost taking the lead in the third quarter. The reason that they were as successful as they were was that Tremaine Edmunds struggled considerably in his recognition of the running lanes, and also disengaging from blockers. The Jaguars did whatever they wanted, and Edmunds was the biggest culprit. It almost looked like they were picking on him for a bit. However, after the Bills forced the Jaguars to kick a field goal and missed the attempt, Edmunds looked like a different player. He was shooting the gaps with confidence, getting off his blocks, and making plays in space as well. Edmunds can do things no other middle linebacker can think about doing because of his size, speed, hip fluidity, and length. However, he's not all the way there quite yet in becoming a complete linebacker, and his hot-and-cold game against Jacksonville is a perfect indication of that. The bad news is that Edmunds isn't all the way there just yet. The good news for the Bills and their fans is that he indeed has shown the ability that he can get all the way there. Like Allen, it's a matter of reps and finding the consistency of doing the right thing almost every play. From there, his physical gifts could turn him into a good player for years to come.

5) Bills need to upgrade Bodine in the offseason
- The offensive line has been a significant area of concern over the last two months of the season, and it's begging for an overhaul with over half of the current starters. Perhaps the highest priority of the offensive line this offseason should be in finding a considerable upgrade at the center position, because Russell Bodine is an extreme liability. Posting yet another game in which he was one of the worst starters on the field for the Bills, his season-long GPA has now dipped below the very player that he replaced in the first place, Ryan Groy. The troubling part for the 2018 season is that the Bills don't have any other options at center. They've given guard Ike Boettger some reps at snapping the ball here and there, but his complete lack of experience at that position makes it unlikely that they'd try it. They'll likely stick with Bodine for the rest of the season, but that should be where it ends. His assignments are constantly pushing him into the backfield or running him in front of where a running play is supposed to go. With all their cap space, I wouldn't be surprised if they make center a focal point should an above average one become available on the open market -- especially with how much they paid the now-retired Eric Wood in his extension. The center sets the tone for the rest of the line, and Bodine hasn't been nearly good enough.

Without further ado, the individual grades:

1) QB Josh Allen
Snaps on the Field: 58/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: B+

2) DE Jerry Hughes
Snaps on the Field: 55/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B+

3) DT Kyle Williams
Snaps on the Field: 46/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B+

4) WLB Matt Milano
Snaps on the Field: 67/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B+

5) SLB Lorenzo Alexander
Snaps on the Field: 47/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B+

6) WR Robert Foster
Snaps on the Field: 33/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: B+

7) WR Isaiah McKenzie
Snaps on the Field: 33/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: B+

8) CB Tre'Davious White
Snaps on the Field: 67/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B

9) S Jordan Poyer
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B

10) WR Zay Jones
Snaps on the Field: 55/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: B

11) WR Kelvin Benjamin
Snaps on the Field: 23/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: B

12) CB Taron Johnson
Snaps on the Field: 43/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B-

13) RB Chris Ivory
Snaps on the Field: 19/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: B-

14) MLB Tremaine Edmunds
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B-

15) LG Wyatt Teller
Snaps on the Field: 58/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: B-

16) RT Jordan Mills
Snaps on the Field: 58/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: B-

17) S Micah Hyde
Snaps on the Field: 70/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B-

18) DT Harrison Phillips
Snaps on the Field: 25/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B-

19) LT Dion Dawkins
Snaps on the Field: 58/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: B-

20) DE Trent Murphy
Snaps on the Field: 38/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B-

21) DT Star Lotulelei
Snaps on the Field: 31/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B-

22) DE Shaq Lawson
Snaps on the Field: 26/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B-

23) CB Levi Wallace
Snaps on the Field: 67/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: B-

24) RG Ryan Groy
Snaps on the Field: 34/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: B-

25) DT Jordan Phillips
Snaps on the Field: 24/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: C+

26) DE Eddie Yarbrough
Snaps on the Field: 21/70
Grade vs. Jaguars: C+

27) TE Logan Thomas
Snaps on the Field: 31/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: C+

28) TE Jason Croom
Snaps on the Field: 29/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: C+

29) RG John Miller
Snaps on the Field: 24/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: C+

30) RB LeSean McCoy
Snaps on the Field: 37/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: C

31) WR Deonte Thompson
Snaps on the Field: 16/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: C

32) C Russell Bodine
Snaps on the Field: 58/58
Grade vs. Jaguars: D

Players with less than 15 snaps:
FB Patrick DiMarco (6)
WR Andre Holmes (5)
S Rafael Bush (3)
RB Marcus Murphy (2)
OL Jeremiah Sirles (1)

Active players without an offensive or defensive snap: 
QB Matt Barkley
WLB Corey Thompson
MLB Julian Stanford
SLB Deon Lacey
CB Lafayette Pitts
S Siran Neal

Inactives: 
*(Total games inactive in 2018)
G Ike Boettger (10)
T Conor McDermott (10)
QB Derek Anderson (4)
CB Ryan Lewis (4)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud (4)
TE Charles Clay (2)
G Vladimir Ducasse (1)

Season-long grades:
*(Minimum 165 snaps)

1) CB Tre'Davious White - 3.39 (1)
2) DE Jerry Hughes - 3.22 (3)
3) SLB Lorenzo Alexander- 3.20 (4)
4) DE Shaq Lawson - 3.17 (2)
5) NCB Taron Johnson - 3.07 (5)
6) WLB Matt Milano - 3.05 (6)
7) S Micah Hyde - 2.92 (7)
8) DT Harrison Phillips - 2.92 (8)
9) RB Chris Ivory - 2.89 (9)
10) DT Star Lotulelei - 2.85 (10)
11) S Jordan Poyer - 2.82 (12)
12) WR Zay Jones - 2.76 (15)
13) DT Kyle Williams - 2.75 (17)
14) RB LeSean McCoy - 2.75 (11)
15) DE Trent Murphy - 2.74 (13)
16) MLB Tremaine Edmunds - 2.73 (14)
17) DE Eddie Yarbrough - 2.70 (16)
18) WR Andre Holmes - 2.61 (18)
19) S Rafael Bush - 2.54 (19)
20) LT Dion Dawkins - 2.53 (20)
21) TE Jason Croom - 2.48 (21)
22) TE Charles Clay - 2.47 (22)
23) G Vladimir Ducasse - 2.42 (24)
24) TE Logan Thomas - 2.42 (23)
25) RG John Miller - 2.39 (25)
26) RT Jordan Mills - 2.33 (26)
27) WR Kelvin Benjamin - 2.32 (27)
28) CB Phillip Gaines - 2.22 (28)
29) QB Josh Allen - 2.21 (29)
30) C/G Ryan Groy - 1.98 (31)
31) C Russell Bodine - 1.89 (30)
(Last week's rank in parentheses)

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.

Previous Weeks:
Week 1 - Ravens 47, Bills 3
Week 2 - Chargers 31, Bills 20
Week 3 - Bills 27, Vikings 6
Week 4 - Packers 22, Bills 0
Week 5 - Bills 13, Titans 12
Week 6 - Texans 20, Bills 13
Week 7 - Colts 37, Bills 5
Week 8 - Patriots 25, Bills 6
Week 9 - Bears 41, Bills 9
Week 10 - Bills 41, Jets 10
Week 12 - Bills 24, Jaguars 21

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

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