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Joe B: Buffalo Bills All-22 Review - Week 14 vs. New York Jets

Posted: 3:57 PM, Dec 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-11 20:58:06Z

The Buffalo Bills have taken strides forward on offense in recent weeks, even though they haven't been able to come away with a victory each of the last two weeks. The most recent loss came to the New York Jets, by a score of 27-23

Up next, the Bills stay home for an out-of-conference matchup with massive draft order implications against the Detroit Lions. Before that happens, first is an in-depth look at the individual performances from the Week 14 loss to the Jets, which dropped the Bills' record to 4-9 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 pocket work takes a step back
- After the best performance of his rookie season in Miami, Josh Allen came back down to his rookie level a bit against the New York Jets. Though he still showed more of the progress that he's made with scanning the field and pushing the ball down the field, I thought his pocket work took a bit of a step back -- at least when he was allowed the time to be back there. There probably is a bit of a lack of trust in the unit blocking in front of him which led to the step back in pocket presence. On a few different dropbacks, I saw him get a bit too antsy, and a rush that wasn't there quite yet had him off and running to the open space. That, in essence, is the concern with Allen. The hope is that once the Bills rectify the issues up front, Allen will be able to settle in the pocket a bit more, but he also needs the reps and the confidence in doing so. I'd like to see him stand a bit taller in the pocket next week -- and since offensive coordinator Brian Daboll even made mention of it in his press conference on Monday, you'd have to think that will be a point of emphasis in the coming week of practice. As for the interceptions, both are inexcusable on Allen's part. The first should have been an easy throwaway, rather than an attempted cross-body to the middle of the field where he didn't have either foot planted on the ground. On the second interception, the one that came on the final drive of the game, Allen perhaps was trying to make up for throwing an open zone-beater on first down into the ground a few yards in front of Isaiah McKenzie. Either way, Allen needs to live to fight another day there and get to third down if there aren't any yards available through the air or on the ground. Those interceptions are a good thing in moderation this season because it reinforces the message the Bills are trying to implant in his mind. He needs to find the right balance between risk and recklessness. If those interceptions become too commonplace, then you have a significant issue on your hands. However, for Allen, he's only tried the crossbody throw twice this season -- the last being in Green Bay. On the positive side, Allen continued to show substantial strides when he did work from the pocket, including a perfect back shoulder throw to Robert Foster on the go-ahead field goal drive in the fourth quarter. As for his running, it's mostly out of necessity at this point, and that's where we'll turn to next.

2) The offensive line gives an encore from last week
- While the performance of the offensive line wasn't quite as bad as the game against Miami last week, it was indeed close. The front five -- without any exceptions -- gave the running backs and quarterback no reason to have any confidence in them whatsoever. There were a couple of runs here or there that got Chris Ivory into some space, but nothing to where the Bills felt they could depend on the running game to get them yards consistently. In pass blocking, it was a nightmare for the second straight week. Even with John Miller in the lineup for Jeremiah Sirles, it was still not even close to good enough. Allen was continuously under duress within three seconds of being in the pocket, and rarely had the time to scan the entire field. Now, there are some instances where Allen could have side-stepped and hung in the pocket a bit longer, but for the most part, it was a defender running free at Allen and him needing to go into backyard football mode. Without question, the offensive line needs to be the top priority heading into the 2019 offseason. Wyatt Teller had another poor game at left guard, which means the Bills might not have a potential answer at that position -- though he'll be afforded the next three games to change their minds. Dion Dawkins had some good moments, but also some downright bad ones -- to the point where a position switch isn't out of the question should they find a better option at left tackle in the offseason. Ryan Groy, John Miller, and Jordan Mills all need to be replaced in the offseason, and the Bills should see what they have in young players Ike Boettger and Conor McDermott at some point in the final three games.

3) Edmunds steadily improving
- In the preseason, Bills GM Brandon Beane commented young linebacker Tremaine Edmunds that stuck with me. While he understood the expectations of his now 20-year-old middle linebacker, he was actually of the opinion that the second half of the 2018 season is when Edmunds will be flying all over the field. Including the game against the Jets, you can see the progress Edmunds has made this season. He's a more confident player and appears to be in his head a lot less than he was in the early part of his rookie season. The athleticism is often taken for granted with him, too. On one play, the Jets tried a misdirection of a handoff to the left, while having a different running back swing to the right, and Edmunds read it and was right on the running back as he brought in the pass. That's the type of ability and speed you don't often see from middle linebackers built like him, and if the Bills had the same personnel from last year on that specific play, the linebacker would have been well behind in the effort. Edmunds is settling in more against the run as well, and showing off his sideline-to-sideline speed in that area. However, the one area I believe he must improve in the offseason is with his take-on skills. Too often, Edmunds will get covered up by a block and struggles to disengage. For a player with his length and strength, the potential is there to improve on it, but it will take a lot of hard work and repetition. I believe that is what can push him into the realm of the type of linebacker they think he can be. Everything else seems to be there at the present moment.

4) Tight end is a sneaky offseason need
- When the Bills enter the offseason, they might need to spend a quality resource on the tight end position -- barring a massive jump in production from the young Jason Croom over the final three weeks. Charles Clay's snap count went down against the Jets from where they were against the Dolphins, and Josh Allen isn't trying much to get the ball to the top tight end on the roster. With a distinct chance to get out from Clay's big contract, it's becoming more and more likely that they release him in the offseason. He lost snaps to Logan Thomas, who the Bills tried to rely on in a move-blocking role, and it led to clear misses that undercut plays in the backfield. With how Brian Daboll uses his tight ends the way he tried to with Thomas, the Bills need a bit more of a player with some blocking chops. While Daboll will undoubtedly make use of a more athletic tight end should they add one and form plays for him, but having one that will be able to chip in as a complementary blocker should become a must-have for the front office in the offseason.

5) Bills just missed on 4th-and-goal
- As the Jets lined up for their game-winning touchdown play on fourth down, the Bills had everything covered as the running back kept trying to go wide. He didn't find a crease until right at the last minute because Harrison Phillips, Jordan Phillips, and Shaq Lawson all did a tremendous job in holding up the point of attack and taking away any potential space for Elijah McGuire. All the way right, Tre'Davious White controlled his blocker enough to contain the edge and make for a showdown moment with only one spot that McGuire could wiggle into the end zone. Tremaine Edmunds and Lorenzo Alexander read the play incredibly well and were right there at the showdown spot, and had one of those guys not been there the Bills might have made the stop. Edmunds and Alexander made contact with one another just enough to have both stumble a bit, and that was the tiny crease that McGuire needed to get into the end zone. The Bills play tremendous team defense, and almost had a fourth-and-goal, game-on-the-line stop to add as a feather in their cap. It was that close.

Without further ado, the individual grades:

1) WLB Matt Milano
Snaps on the Field: 50/54
Grade vs. Jets: B+

2) DT Kyle Williams
Snaps on the Field: 42/54
Grade vs. Jets: B+

3) DE Jerry Hughes
Snaps on the Field: 40/54
Grade vs. Jets: B+

4) WR Robert Foster
Snaps on the Field: 73/76
Grade vs. Jets: B+

5) S Rafael Bush
Snaps on the Field: 37/54
Grade vs. Jets: B

6) DE Shaq Lawson
Snaps on the Field: 28/54
Grade vs. Jets: B

7) QB Josh Allen
Snaps on the Field: 76/76
Grade vs. Jets: B

8) MLB Tremaine Edmunds
Snaps on the Field: 54/54
Grade vs. Jets: B

9) CB Tre'Davious White
Snaps on the Field: 52/54
Grade vs. Jets: B

10) S Jordan Poyer
Snaps on the Field: 54/54
Grade vs. Jets: B

11) DE Trent Murphy
Snaps on the Field: 26/54
Grade vs. Jets: B

12) WR Isaiah McKenzie
Snaps on the Field: 59/76
Grade vs. Jets: B

13) DT Jordan Phillips
Snaps on the Field: 20/54
Grade vs. Jets: B

14) S Micah Hyde
Snaps on the Field: 54/54
Grade vs. Jets: B-

15) CB Levi Wallace
Snaps on the Field: 45/54
Grade vs. Jets: B-

16) SLB Lorenzo Alexander
Snaps on the Field: 26/54
Grade vs. Jets: B-

17) DT Harrison Phillips
Snaps on the Field: 18/54
Grade vs. Jets: B-

18) RB Chris Ivory
Snaps on the Field: 27/76
Grade vs. Jets: B-

19) DT Star Lotulelei
Snaps on the Field: 25/54
Grade vs. Jets: B-

20) RB Marcus Murphy
Snaps on the Field: 40/76
Grade vs. Jets: B-

21) WR Zay Jones
Snaps on the Field: 69/76
Grade vs. Jets: C+

22) TE Charles Clay
Snaps on the Field: 42/76
Grade vs. Jets: C+

23) LT Dion Dawkins
Snaps on the Field: 76/76
Grade vs. Jets: C

24) LG Wyatt Teller
Snaps on the Field: 76/76
Grade vs. Jets: C-

25) TE Logan Thomas
Snaps on the Field: 36/76
Grade vs. Jets: C-

26) RG John Miller
Snaps on the Field: 76/76
Grade vs. Jets: C-

27) C Ryan Groy
Snaps on the Field: 76/76
Grade vs. Jets: D+

28) RT Jordan Mills
Snaps on the Field: 75/76
Grade vs. Jets: D-

Players with less than 15 snaps:
DE Eddie Yarbrough (14)
FB Patrick DiMarco (12)
WR Deonte Thompson (11)
RB LeSean McCoy (9)
Ryan Lewis (7)
WLB Corey Thompson (2)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud (1)
T Conor McDermott (1)
OL Jeremiah Sirles (1)

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

Inactives: 
*(Total games inactive in 2018)
G Ike Boettger (11)
QB Derek Anderson (6)
G Vladimir Ducasse (3)
CB Taron Johnson (2)
WR Da'Mari Scott (1)
TE Jason Croom (1)
DE Mike Love (1)

Season-long grades:
*(Minimum 195 snaps)

1) CB Tre'Davious White - 3.29 (1)
2) DE Jerry Hughes - 3.24 (2)
3) SLB Lorenzo Alexander - 3.14 (3)
4) DE Shaq Lawson - 3.14 (4)
5) CB Taron Johnson - 3.04 (5)
6) WR Robert Foster - 3.02 (9)
7) WLB Matt Milano - 2.99 (6)
8) S Micah Hyde - 2.93 (7)
9) DT Harrison Phillips - 2.91 (8)
10) S Jordan Poyer - 2.89 (10)
11) RB Chris Ivory - 2.86 (11) 
12) DT Star Lotulelei - 2.83 (12)
13) DT Kyle Williams - 2.79 (16)
14) RB LeSean McCoy - 2.78 (14)
15) MLB Tremaine Edmunds - 2.77 (15)
16) WR Zay Jones - 2.77 (13) 
17) DE Trent Murphy - 2.76 (17)
18) CB Levi Wallace - 2.75 (NR)
19) DT Jordan Phillips - 2.74 (18)
20) DE Eddie Yarbrough - 2.69 (19)
21) WR Andre Holmes - 2.61 (20)
22) S Rafael Bush - 2.60 (21)
23) QB Josh Allen - 2.52 (23)
24) LT Dion Dawkins - 2.49 (22)
25) TE Jason Croom - 2.44 (24)
26) G Vladimir Ducasse - 2.42 (26)
27) TE Charles Clay - 2.41 (25)
28) RG John Miller - 2.32 (28)
29) TE Logan Thomas - 2.31 (27)
30) WR Kelvin Benjamin - 2.27 (29)
31) CB Phillip Gaines - 2.22 (30)
32) RT Jordan Mills - 2.07 (31)
33) LG Wyatt Teller - 2.01 (32)
34) C Russell Bodine - 1.90 (33)
35) C Ryan Groy - 1.70 (34)
(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
Week 13 - Dolphins 21, Bills 17
Week 14 - Jets 27, Bills 23

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

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