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Joe B: Buffalo Bills All-22 Review - Week 9 vs. Chicago Bears

Joe B: Buffalo Bills All-22 Review - Week 9 vs. Chicago Bears
Posted at 4:05 PM, Nov 06, 2018

For the Buffalo Bills, their losing streak has extended to four games. For the fourth time in the 2018 season, the Bills lost by 20-plus points -- this time a 41-9 drubbing at the hands of the Chicago Bears.

Up next, the Bills go back on the road for an AFC East matchup with the struggling New York Jets. Before that happens, first is an in-depth look at the individual performances from the Week Nine loss to the Bears, which dropped the Bills to a 2-7 record on the 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) Upon further review, the INTs were Peterman's fault, too
- Let's call Nathan Peterman what he is. He's a late round draft pick, an at best third-string quarterback, a player with clear deficiencies, and one that shouldn't be on the field but only is because the Bills have no other options on their roster. With his performance against the Chicago Bears, we were given even more supporting evidence -- over 90 snaps -- to confirm what was initially known. And that is, Peterman not only limits what the Bills can do offensively but his lack of consistency almost has a paralyzing effect. Let me also be clear; Peterman does not have a lot of talent around him, which is probably a contributing factor as to why these opportunities continue to end up in implosion. Considering all of it, the generally accepted notion after the game was that a pair of Peterman's three interceptions " wasn't his fault." While true that Terrelle Pryor bungled his catch opportunity to oblivion on the first interception, had Peterman thrown the ball with anticipation and on Pryor's initial break, the defender wouldn't have been anywhere close to Pryor to break up the pass the way that he did. As soon as Pryor made his break, the defender was almost two yards away, meaning Peterman needed to get that ball out of his hands before Pryor put his foot in the ground to cut inside, giving the wideout an optimal catch opportunity which was well within what Peterman could do on the play. You can argue that the timing with a new wide receiver might not have been there, but throwing an anticipatory pass is a pretty elementary concept by NFL standards -- even with new players. Peterman didn't. He put it on Pryor as the defender was right there, Pryor then booted the ball and flipped it up, which allowed for the interception. On top of it all, the ball placement was poor, which gave the defender even more life to make a play on the ball. On the second interception, where the defender made contact with Zay Jones legally behind the line of scrimmage, this was also because of Peterman. Jones faked going outside on his route and then broke inside to run just a tad behind the line of scrimmage as the Bills were trying to manufacture a legal screen. The defender didn't take the bait, which should have been the first sign for Peterman not to throw the ball to Jones. Instead, he did, and the ball placement was so poor that the receiver breaking inside had to square his shoulders and to the throw, and had to try and make an incredible catch low, on his outside shoulder closest to the sideline, and while getting hit by a defender. Jones probably should have just let the ball skip off the ground, but Peterman definitely shouldn't have thrown the pass -- mainly because he had time in the pocket. The only other party that deserves some blame could be tight end Jason Croom, who didn't put up much resistance to the defender following Jones on the attempted legal screen. Peterman can have his moments in a game, but he has now devolved into this hesitant passer that rarely throws the ball more than 10 yards down the field. After all, he wound up with 189 yards on 31 completions -- and a ridiculous 49 attempts. Truth be told, Peterman should not be put in this situation. He isn't ready for the light of day in the NFL and should either be a third-string quarterback or on the team's practice squad. The Bills have no other option at the moment, but that's a different conversation entirely.

2) ... But the OL didn't help -- at all
- For a season that is rife with poor offensive line performances -- especially in the last month, what I'm about to write might make you raise your eyebrows at least a little. Against the Bears, it was the worst offensive line performance from the entire starting five of the 2018 season, and there isn't even a close second. From left to right, it was a futile effort to think the offense could legitimately get anything going on the ground or through the air because of how poorly each member of the starting five played. Second-year player Dion Dawkins had his worst performance of the season against the Bears, and perhaps the worst of his career as a starter. Dawkins was lunging and let up a sack, he was caught off-guard by the defender too often, he missed a key cut block in the second half that led to a big loss, and there was plenty more, also. For the most part, I think Dawkins has played at a slightly above average level during the 2018 season, so he needs to focus on the good from the previous games, and launch this Bears game into the sun. At left guard, Vladimir Ducasse had the type of performance in the first month of the season that made you think that maybe he could be brought back in 2019. The Vladimir Ducasse we've seen over the last four games is a shell of the player that we saw in the first month. Defenders are routinely beating him to the spot, and they've caught him flat-footed way too often, which then turns it into a "look out!" situation for the quarterback or running back. At center, Russell Bodine has been a slight improvement over Ryan Groy, but not by much. His biggest weakness is dealing with strength, while routinely being pushed into the backfield. At right guard, John Miller probably had the best day of the bunch, but it was still a performance would be worthy of a benching -- as has the rest of his season. As for right tackle Jordan Mills, he has remained a weakness for the last four games, which makes it no surprise that they were giving reps to another player mid-game. Now, what would I do to the offensive line, given that they're coming off the worst performance as a starting five of the season? I'd put rookie Wyatt Teller at left guard because he looks a tad more comfortable there, I'd move Vladimir Ducasse from left guard to right guard because he had more success at right guard in 2017, and I'd start Jeremiah Sirles over Jordan Mills at right tackle because he did relatively solidly in his 27 plays on the field. As for center, it might need to be Bodine for now, considering there aren't any other players on the roster that can play center outside of Groy. However, should one of the quarterbacks be healthy enough to play this week, that could facilitate the Bills to releasing Matt Barkley, while finding someone -- anyone, on a practice squad to develop and to try out once they get back from the bye next week. We are now more than halfway through the season, and the results haven't changed. My proposal is indeed a bit of a nuclear option, but at this point, why not? Now is the time to find out about every little facet of the offensive line before you go into the offseason to try and rebuild it.

3) A context for how bad the offense has performed
- I'm sure all of you know by now, this has been a bad year for the offense -- and that's putting it lightly. From the perspective of this study, though, I look at the players on an individual basis. So, on an average individual basis, how bad has the offense been? Well, their top graded performer (on the qualifying snap count of 135) on the season is the backup running back Chris Ivory. The 'average' grade in this study is a B-minus, or a 2.67-GPA, and only Ivory along with starting running back LeSean McCoy has a season-long grade that is better than what I deem as 'average.' Now this is where it really gets ugly. Josh Allen has a 2.01 season GPA, which is well below average -- but it's still far better than Derek Anderson (1.00 GPA on 118 snaps), and Nathan Peterman (0.62 GPA on 148 snaps). Anderson and Peterman have been on the field for 45.16-percent of available offensive snaps in 2018. Furthermore, when you total up all of the snaps and the grades to make an offense-wide average, for the season, it comes out to a 2.31 season-long GPA. So, for context, the median player of this offense is somewhere between Jordan Mills, and John Miller's performance -- which are two players I just advocated for benching. The Bills have plenty of work to do in the coming offseason.

4) Shaq Lawson is quietly having a career year
- Once Trent Murphy suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss the last two weeks, from that point forward it paved the way for the most critical stretch of games for the career of former first-round pick Shaq Lawson. The defensive end is now in his third season and had been playing relatively well in more of a rotational role. However, especially against the Bears, Lawson is showing that he has starting potential and without question, this is the best year of his career. The defensive end has been a menace against the run and plays home against the read-option plays tremendously well. He's always been solid against the rushing attack, but against the Bears, he showed much better in pass rushing situations -- even to the point of creating negative plays because he won his one-on-one matchup.  With the bye week right around the corner, you'd have to think the Bills will give Murphy at least one more week to recover considering he hasn't yet practiced, which means Lawson will likely have one more week to show that he's more than just a rotational player. If he does that, we might have a conversation on our hands about which player is the better starting option at left defensive end.

5) It's time for Ryan Lewis again, and Bills back it up with Gaines' release
- Through the season when the Bills have had Phillip Gaines on the field, they've mostly done a good job of hiding him in coverage to the point that he didn't cost them too much. Well, the Bears game certainly didn't help -- and now with Chicago showing that Gaines is the player to attack in both the intermediate and deep areas, teams would continue to target him until he proved otherwise. For Gaines, three of the last four games have been played at a below average level, and with a season-long GPA of 2.22, we know that it's not necessarily just a recent trend. His recent track of poor play is why he ultimately was released, along with some options with upside behind him. While he's younger and much less experienced -- and probably a bit more erratic than Gaines -- backup cornerback Ryan Lewis deserves another opportunity. He showed well enough to warrant another chance down the line, and with Gaines' removal from the roster, it appears it's time for Lewis to have another chance to earn the job for the rest of 2018, and to see if he's something worth holding on to for 2019, too.

Without further ado, the individual grades:

1) DE Shaq Lawson
Snaps on the Field: 40/51
Grade vs. Bears: A-

2) CB Tre'Davious White
Snaps on the Field: 51/51 
Grade vs. Bears: A-

3) DE Jerry Hughes
Snaps on the Field: 33/51
Grade vs. Bears: B+

4) SLB Lorenzo Alexander
Snaps on the Field: 29/51
Grade vs. Bears: B+

5) S Micah Hyde
Snaps on the Field: 51/51
Grade vs. Bears: B

6) DT Harrison Phillips
Snaps on the Field: 19/51 
Grade vs. Bears: B

7) DE Eddie Yarbrough
Snaps on the Field: 18/51 
Grade vs. Bears: B

8) CB Taron Johnson
Snaps on the Field: 39/51
Grade vs. Bears: B-

9) WLB Matt Milano
Snaps on the Field: 51/51 
Grade vs. Bears: B-

10) S Jordan Poyer
Snaps on the Field: 51/51 
Grade vs. Bears: B-

11) RB Chris Ivory
Snaps on the Field: 30/91
Grade vs. Bears: B-

12) DT Kyle Williams
Snaps on the Field: 32/51 
Grade vs. Bears: B-

13) G Wyatt Teller
Snaps on the Field: 17/91
Grade vs. Bears: B-

14) T Jeremiah Sirles
Snaps on the Field: 27/91
Grade vs. Bears: B-

15) DT Star Lotulelei
Snaps on the Field: 24/51 
Grade vs. Bears: B-

16) WR Zay Jones
Snaps on the Field: 79/91
Grade vs. Bears: C+

17) RB Marcus Murphy
Snaps on the Field: 24/91
Grade vs. Bears: C+

18) WR Andre Holmes
Snaps on the Field: 24/91
Grade vs. Bears: C+

19) WR Ray-Ray McCloud
Snaps on the Field: 17/91
Grade vs. Bears: C+

20) MLB Julian Stanford
Snaps on the Field:  51/51
Grade vs. Bears: C

21) WR Kelvin Benjamin
Snaps on the Field: 67/91
Grade vs. Bears: C

22) DT Jordan Phillips
Snaps on the Field:  17/51
Grade vs. Bears: C

23) TE Logan Thomas
Snaps on the Field:  
Grade vs. Bears: C

24) RB LeSean McCoy
Snaps on the Field: 37/91
Grade vs. Bears: C-

25) TE Jason Croom
Snaps on the Field: 42/91
Grade vs. Bears: C-

26) RG John Miller
Snaps on the Field: 80/91
Grade vs. Bears: C-

27) WR Terrelle Pryor
Snaps on the Field: 75/91
Grade vs. Bears: C-

28) RT Jordan Mills
Snaps on the Field: 67/91
Grade vs. Bears: C-

29) C Russell Bodine
Snaps on the Field: 91/91
Grade vs. Bears: D+

30) CB Phillip Gaines
Snaps on the Field: 51/51
Grade vs. Bears: D+

31) LT Dion Dawkins
Snaps on the Field: 91/91
Grade vs. Bears: D

32) LG Vladimir Ducasse
Snaps on the Field: 85/91
Grade vs. Bears: D-

33) QB Nathan Peterman
Snaps on the Field: 90/91
Grade vs. Bears: D-

Players with less than 15 snaps:
TE Charles Clay (8)
S Rafael Bush (5)
FB Patrick DiMarco (3)

Active players without an offensive or defensive snap: 
QB Matt Barkley
G/C Ryan Groy
SLB Deon Lacey
WLB Ramon Humber
CB Ryan Lewis
CB Lafayette Pitts
S Siran Neal

*(Total games inactive in 2018)
G Ike Boettger (8)
T Conor McDermott (8)
QB Josh Allen (3)
QB Derek Anderson (2)
DE Trent Murphy (2)
WR Cam Phillips (1)
MLB Tremaine Edmunds (1)

Season-long grades:
*(Minimum 135 snaps)

1) CB Tre'Davious White - 3.44 (1)
2) SLB Lorenzo Alexander - 3.24 (2)
3) DE Jerry Hughes - 3.16 (4)
4) DE Shaq Lawson - 3.14 (6)
5) NCB Taron Johnson - 3.12 (3)
6) WLB Matt Milano - 3.00 (5)
7) S Micah Hyde 2.95 (8)
8) DT Harrison Phillips - 2.94 (9)
9) RB Chris Ivory - 2.91 (7)
10) DT Star Lotulelei - 2.86 (11)
11) S Jordan Poyer - 2.78 (12)
12) DE Trent Murphy - 2.75 (13)
13) RB LeSean McCoy - 2.75 (10)
14) CB Ryan Lewis - 2.75 (14)
15) DE Eddie Yarbrough - 2.71 (18)
16) DT Kyle Williams - 2.69 (17)
17) MLB Tremaine Edmunds - 2.67 (21)
18) WR Zay Jones - 2.66 (16)
19) WR Andre Holmes - 2.60 (22)
20) S Rafael Bush - 2.51 (23)
21) TE Charles Clay - 2.47 (24)
22) TE Jason Croom - 2.46 (19)
23) LT Dion Dawkins - 2.42 (20)
24) LG Vladimir Ducasse - 2.42 (15)
25) TE Logan Thomas - 2.39 (NR)
26) RT Jordan Mills - 2.34 (25)
27) RG John Miller - 2.28 (26)
28) WR Kelvin Benjamin - 2.28 (28)
29) CB Phillip Gaines - 2.22 (27)
30) QB Josh Allen - 2.01(30)
31) C Russell Bodine - 1.88 (29)
32) C Ryan Groy - 1.82 (31)
33) QB Nathan Peterman - 0.62 (NR)
(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

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

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