» Grading the Bills
RUNNING GAME: D-
D-Buffalo’s ground attack was immaterial, posting a season-low 67 yards. C.J. Spiller averaged 9.9 yards a carry last week and 2.0 yards against Tampa Bay. Fred Jackson averaged 2.4 yards a carry. They combined for 34 yards. EJ Manuel scrambled four times for 33 yards. Buffalo called a run play on 12 of its first downs and netted 24 yards.
PASSING GAME: F
F For only the 15th time in Bills history, a quarterback threw at least four interceptions without a touchdown. Two of the interceptions weren’t Manuel’s fault; Bills receivers could have made catches. For the first time since Rob Johnson in 1998, the Bills allowed at least seven sacks twice in a season. Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham combined for zero catches a second straight week.
RUN DEFENSE: D+
D+On the second snap of the game, Bobby Rainey ran straight up the gut for an 80-yard touchdown. Take away that run, and Buffalo did well. Tampa otherwise averaged 2.4 yards a carry. But Rainey’s long run seemed to devastate Buffalo’s fragile psyche. Buffalo did notch six tackles for losses on run plays.
PASS DEFENSE: C-
C-Buffalo has one of the NFL’s most dangerous pass-rushing outfits, but managed one whole quarterback hit against an unremarkable offensive line that entered the week ranked 24th in sacks allowed per pass play. Marcell Dareus got the lone sack. Stephon Gilmore and Jairus Byrd came up with interceptions, but two of Mike Glennon’s nine completions were TDs.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D+
D+Dan Carpenter accounted for all of Buffalo’s points on field goals of 40 and 46 yards. Brian Moorman was busy, netting 40.7 yards on seven punts. Leodis McKelvin muffed a fair catch in the second quarter, giving Tampa the ball on Buffalo’s 21-yard line. Goodwin averaged a meager 15.7 yards on three kickoff returns with a long of 21 yards.
D Sunday was the most lopsided loss of the year. Buffalo is 1-6 away from Ralph Wilson Stadium. Doug Marrone admitted focus was an issue by the mere fact his team committed 11 penalties for 114 yards. Those penalties also wiped 125 yards of gains and took an 83-yard Spiller catch-and-run touchdown off the board. On the plus side, Marrone won a replay challenge for the second straight game.
» Grading the Buccanneers
RUNNING GAME: B+
B+ As I noted before, if you take away that one Rainey run … Well, you can’t take it away. The play was colossal and made the difference on the scoreboard all by itself. It was the longest run and fastest touchdown in Bucs history. With the lead, the Bucs didn’t need to get fancy. Rainey and Brian Leonard pounded out carries and drained the clock.
PASSING GAME: C
C Glennon looked like a rookie. He completed only nine of his 25 throws for 90 yards and had a pair of interceptions. He posted a 40.4 passer rating. But Glennon threw a pair of touchdown passes with great catches from receiver Vincent Jackson and rookie tight end Tim Wright. The O-line kept Glennon clean against a fearsome defense that sacked Matt Ryan seven times a week earlier.
RUN DEFENSE: A
ABuffalo’s only success on the ground happened when Tampa’s pass defense forced Manuel to tuck the ball and run. Tampa held its third straight opponent to 67 or fewer rushing yards and no more than 3.3 yards per carry. Tampa gave up one rushing first down for the second time in three games.
PASS DEFENSE: A
AGet a load of this: ProFootballReference.com data showed Tampa was just the 22nd team in NFL history to record at least seven sacks, at least four interceptions and not allow a touchdown pass. The last time it happened was 11 years ago. Bucs linebacker Lavonte David had two interceptions, a sack and two quarterback hits.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
B Old friend Rian Lindell became the first kicker in Bucs history to make field goals of at least 53 yards in back-to-back games. He also kicked a 32-yard field goal Sunday. Kickoff coverage was impressive when Michael Koenen didn’t blast the ball out of the end zone. The Bills returned four kickoffs and started inside their own 20-yard line after three of them.
AGreg Schiano is doing a fine job making sure he stays employed. On the hot seat after losing eight straight to start the season, the Bucs have won four of their last five games. There’s little to quibble with from a coaching standpoint. The Bucs made the big plays, managed the game and outplayed their opponents in every phase.