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Joe B: Buffalo Bills All-22 Review - Week 17 vs. Miami Dolphins

Posted at 4:25 PM, Jan 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-02 16:25:43-05

(WKBW) — On Sunday the Buffalo Bills brought their 2018 season to its conclusion but did so in style. In Kyle Williams' final game, the Bills thrashed the Miami Dolphins 42-17.

Up next, the Bills head to the offseason to try and reshape the roster well enough to improve and push to the playoffs in 2019. But before we get to the offseason priorities, first is an in-depth look at the individual performances from the Week 17 win over the Dolphins, which brought the Bills' record to a 6-10 resting place for the 2018 season.

Each week, 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 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) Flashes of the Kyle of yesteryear
- One last time we saw Kyle Williams take to the field, and if you watched him closely enough, you would have seen the dominant version of himself that was a mainstay on the Bills defensive line from 2010 through about 2016. While it was the reception in the fourth quarter that many will remember about his final game, there was much more to it than that -- which fittingly helped vault him to the top of the season-long rankings for defensive tackles on the team. Williams used to fire off the snap of the ball and get in the backfield before the offensive lineman could even get upright, and he did that on one rep that blew up a Miami play in the backfield. On another Miami play, they attempted to set up a delayed trap block on him by inviting him into the backfield, but Williams, like he always used to do, was too quick into the backfield and brought the ball carrier down for a classic tackle for loss. As the game went on, Williams also helped set up his teammates to get in the backfield to bring down Ryan Tannehill because of how much attention he brought with him from the offensive line. He's not nearly as quick or explosive as he used to be, but he's been effective throughout the season. The ability that Williams has shown in 2018 is remarkable considering that he's 35 years old, and he's retiring as a well-above-average defensive tackle that the Bills will have a difficult time replacing.

2) An emphasis on the quick slant for Josh Allen
- The Bills, after they were given a reality check on offense from the New England Patriots the previous week, elected to switch things up for rookie quarterback Josh Allen in his final game. The thought process, at least you would think, was to take pressure off the rookie, to get Allen into a rhythm early on in the game, and to put pressure on the less-than-ideal cornerbacks the Miami Dolphins were using in the contest. By my count, the Bills and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll tried to hit the quick slant on six different occasions throughout the game. Early on the Dolphins cornerbacks were playing too far off the receivers -- and most commonly, Zay Jones. On the first quick slant, Allen fired it in stride to Jones who kept on with his current track inside to pick up a decent amount of yards. It's almost as though Jones was setting up the Dolphins' cornerbacks because on the next quick slant attempt, he stuck his right food into the ground upon making the reception, spun around and turned it up the field for a touchdown. However, that touchdown isn't possible unless Allen puts the ball on the money and where it needed to be, allowing Jones to get a little more creative in his yards after the catch. This quick slant, sometimes keep going inside and sometimes spinning outside, continued the rest of the game. For the amount the Bills used this, it was almost as though Daboll was trying to put in on tape to set defenses up in 2019 -- as crazy as that might sound. As far as the rest of Allen's day goes, there is a lot to be said for being able to put the ball in the end zone in a multitude of ways -- which is what the young quarterback did. However, there were sometimes where Allen's accuracy failed him in a way that it did in New England the previous week, which made his incredible fantasy football score a tad misleading. He missed three or four throws, without pressure, that needed to be on the money. Regardless, Allen's pocket presence, his decision making (outside of the interception for a touchdown where he stared down his target), and his recognition were all still a step ahead of where he was when he first entered the starting lineup, and this was still an excellent performance from the young quarterback.

3) Levi Wallace was the best player on the field
- If the Bills were looking for some of their young players to give them a reason not to go chasing after a potential starter at their position, they had to be happy while watching undrafted rookie cornerback Levi Wallace. For the young, former practice squad cornerback, Wallace made a statement with his performance against the Dolphins. He didn't have just a good game; the rookie cornerback had a dominant one. Wallace ticked every box on Sunday as he was outstanding in run support, he was smooth in pass coverage and made Tannehill look for another target several times, and he even broke up a pair of passes in high-pressure areas. The best rep from Wallace that I saw in pass coverage was on his first pass breakup near the end zone, where the receiver tried to get the rookie to bite on a fake curl route. All the cornerback did was read the receiver like a book, and he didn't even come close to hesitating in running with him the rest of the way and finished the play by batting it down to the turf. In seven games, Wallace has been as pleasant a surprise as wide receiver Robert Foster. With his statement performance on Sunday, I think there's a chance the Bills might feel fairly content about the state of their top three cornerbacks in Wallace, Tre'Davious White, and Taron Johnson heading into next season. I wouldn't be surprised if the Bills added a veteran cornerback to keep Wallace honest in the spring and summer, but the undrafted rookie flashed long-term potential in all of his starts. If he gets a little stronger, he has every opportunity to be an outright steal of an undrafted player -- just as he was as a walk-on at Alabama.

4) Zay Jones flourished in a secondary role
- While second-year wide receiver Zay Jones isn't the fastest or strongest of receivers, his most significant asset as a route runner is in his quick feet. It's why the Bills spotlighted him in the quick slant game against the Dolphins, and Jones flourished in that role as the cornerbacks gave him some space. It also helped that the most attention the Dolphins gave to a receiver was Robert Foster -- because of how well the undrafted player has performed since returning to the active roster. It allowed Jones to fade into the background a bit, but not in a negative way. There has been one play that the Bills have been hammering with Foster as the season has gone on that has brought them multiple touchdowns and many high-yardage gains. Foster lines up on the left side of the offense, starts to stride in his first 10-to-15 yards like he's trying to blow the top off the defense with a deep route, and instead cuts to the right and streaks across the middle of the field. It puts the defense in an awkward position because there is already a receiver on the right side of the field heading deep. So, this time, to deal with Foster, the safety on the left side of the offense ran with him so he doesn't go unchecked, but in doing so, it allowed Zay Jones to leak over to the vacated deep left area of the field by the safety, and he was wide open. Josh Allen correctly spotted him, delivered the pass, and the duo converted for Jones' second touchdown of the game. I think we're beginning to see the height of what Jones can be in the NFL, and while he may not be that big-time top receiver that teams covet, he offers quite a bit of value as a second option that can burn a defense if they lose track of him. If the Bills were to add one starting caliber receiver in the offseason, I think they'd be in a solid spot with a top three of that player, Jones, and Foster.

5) Wyatt Teller settles in with Week 17 performance
- After some early success in the starting lineup for rookie Wyatt Teller, the left guard began to find the struggles that many rookies do once an opposing team gets tape on them. Once Teller started to struggle with technique, then he began to take more penalties, and that was part of his rookie wall that he had to break through. Starting in Week 15, Teller started to put it together a bit more. While he was still allowing some pressure, it wasn't an overwhelming amount like it had been in previous weeks. However, in his final start of the 2018 season, Teller put together his best performance yet. He was mostly in the right place and blocking at the correct angle for the running play, while also standing up tall to the challenge in pass blocking as well. The Bills have been wanting to see Teller flash the potential for a full game that they saw when he was only taking a handful of snaps, and they saw that on Sunday against the Dolphins. Now, they might feel a bit more comfortable in trusting Teller as the full-time starter at guard heading into 2019 instead of making it a priority to find two guards to help their efforts. While it was a meaningless game in standings, it was an incredibly meaningful game for Teller in his hopes to continue to start into the future.

Without further ado, the individual grades:

1) CB Levi Wallace
Snaps on the Field: 61/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: A-

2) MLB Tremaine Edmunds
Snaps on the Field: 61/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: A-

3) WR Zay Jones
Snaps on the Field: 58/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: A-

4) QB Josh Allen
Snaps on the Field: 62/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: B+

5) DT Kyle Williams
Snaps on the Field: 36/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: B+

6) LG Wyatt Teller
Snaps on the Field: 62/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: B+

7) S Jordan Poyer
Snaps on the Field: 61/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: B+

8) DE Jerry Hughes
Snaps on the Field: 44/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: B+

9) DE Shaq Lawson
Snaps on the Field: 26/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: B+

10) SLB Lorenzo Alexander
Snaps on the Field: 61/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

11) DE Mike Love
Snaps on the Field: 17/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

12) LT Dion Dawkins
Snaps on the Field: 62/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

13) DT Star Lotulelei
Snaps on the Field: 27/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

14) WR Robert Foster
Snaps on the Field: 58/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

15) CB Tre'Davious White
Snaps on the Field: 29/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

16) RB Chris Ivory
Snaps on the Field: 31/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

17) FB Patrick DiMarco
Snaps on the Field: 36/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

18) RT Conor McDermott
Snaps on the Field: 18/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

19) DT Jordan Phillips
Snaps on the Field: 23/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

20) C Ryan Groy
Snaps on the Field: 62/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

21) CB Lafayette Pitts
Snaps on the Field: 32/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

22) TE Jason Croom
Snaps on the Field: 29/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

23) RB LeSean McCoy
Snaps on the Field: 31/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

24) S Rafael Bush
Snaps on the Field: 61/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

25) S Micah Hyde
Snaps on the Field: 61/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

26) TE Charles Clay
Snaps on the Field: 30/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

27) WR Isaiah McKenzie
Snaps on the Field: 36/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

28) DT Harrison Phillips
Snaps on the Field: 24/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

29) DE Trent Murphy
Snaps on the Field: 37/61
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

30) RG John Miller
Snaps on the Field: 31/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: C+

31) RG Ike Boettger
Snaps on the Field: 31/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: C+

32) RT Jordan Mills
Snaps on the Field: 44/62
Grade vs. Dolphins: C

Players with less than 15 snaps:
WLB Corey Thompson (10)
TE Logan Thomas (7)
OL Jeremiah Sirles (5)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud (4)
WR Da'Mari Scott (3)
WR Victor Bolden, Jr. (3)

Active players without an offensive or defensive snap:
QB Matt Barkley
SLB Deon Lacey
CB Denzel Rice
S Siran Neal
S Dean Marlowe

*(Total games inactive in 2018)
QB Derek Anderson (9)
CB Ryan Lewis (8)
G Vladimir Ducasse (6)
MLB Julian Stanford (3)
RB Keith Ford (1)
WR Deonte Thompson (1)
DE Eddie Yarbrough (1)

Season-long grades:
*(Minimum 200 snaps)

1) DE Jerry Hughes - 3.25 (1)
2) CB Tre'Davious White - 3.20 (2)
3) SLB Lorenzo Alexander - 3.19 (3)
4) WR Robert Foster - 3.06 (4)
5) DE Shaq Lawson - 3.06 (5)
6) NCB Taron Johnson - 3.04 (6)
7) WLB Matt Milano - 2.99 (7)
8) S Jordan Poyer - 2.94 (9)
9) S Micah Hyde - 2.92 (8)
10) RB Chris Ivory - 2.88 (10)
11) MLB Tremaine Edmunds - 2.87 (11)
12) CB Levi Wallace - 2.83 (20)
13) DT Kyle Williams - 2.82 (14)
14) DT Harrison Phillips - 2.81 (12)
15) WR Isaiah McKenzie - 2.80 (13)
16) DT Star Lotulelei - 2.79 (15)
17) WR Zay Jones - 2.77 (18)
18) DE Trent Murphy - 2.76 (16)
19) RB LeSean McCoy - 2.74 (17)
20) DT Jordan Phillips - 2.72 (19)
21) QB Josh Allen - 2.68 (22)
22) DE Eddie Yarbrough - 2.68 (21)
23) WR Andre Holmes - 2.61 (23)
24) S Rafael Bush - 2.59 (24)
25) LT Dion Dawkins - 2.50 (25)
26) TE Jason Croom - 2.49 (26)
27) G Vladimir Ducasse - 2.42 (27)
28) TE Charles Clay - 2.42 (28)
29) RG John Miller - 2.34 (29)
30) LG Wyatt Teller - 2.34 (33)
31) TE Logan Thomas - 2.32 (30)
32) WR Kelvin Benjamin - 2.27 (31)
33) CB Phillip Gaines - 2.22 (32)
34) RT Jordan Mills - 2.12 (34)
35) C Ryan Groy - 1.94 (36)
36) C Russell Bodine - 1.90 (35)

(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
Week 15 - Bills 14, Lions 13
Week 16 - Patriots 24, Bills 10

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia