09-17-2012, 11:44 PM
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PFF sunders Cassel
Kansas City – Three Performances of Note
Feeling the Heat
The one thing that stands out most about Matt Cassel’s display (a performance whose numbers were padded by some late garbage time yards and touchdowns) was just how poor he was when pressured. On his 15 drop-backs under duress he was sacked five times, ran once, and otherwise completed only two of nine passes. While he came out with a marginal -0.8 grade, his work under pressure netted him a -3.7 against +2.0 when given time. Worse, when blitzed, he completed only one 6-yard pass. This is a veteran NFL quarterback but those numbers are more reminiscent of a rookie, and a poor one at that.
As You Were?
One of the bright spots of the 2010 NFL year for the Chiefs was the play of then rookie, Tony Moeaki (-2.2). Not only did his pass catching skills look the part but it appeared he may be one of those rarest of things; a receiving tight end who could block. When injury took away the whole of his 2011 season, it was a blow to fans — not just of the Chiefs, but of the game itself.
He’s back but not, so far, as we remember him. Despite being in pass routes for 46 plays he caught only one ball; a 9-yarder against the Bills’ second string with 2:11 left in the game. Add to this some sub-optimal pass and run blocking and things need to improve quickly. The way Mark Anderson threw him aside to tackle Peyton Hillis with 3:45 left in the third was an indication of his fall.
If there was one player on the Chiefs who stood out as playing well it was Justin Houston (+2.2). While as a pass rusher his single hit and hurry may be considered below average against a normal offense, going against the Bills, who get rid of the ball so quickly, it was certainly creditable and made up half the total pressure the Chiefs achieved as a team. However, it was in run defense he really shone and his change of direction and ability to get to the sideline quickly were shown time and again. Although not a run, watch the way he tracks down the lightning-fast C.J. Spiller on a flare with 9:42 left in the second.
Buffalo – Three Performances of Note
Taking the Strain
While he got the win, this was hardly Ryan Fitzpatrick’s finest hour (+0.7) and he had much to thank his new starting halfback, C.J. Spiller (+2.8) for. Averaging 8.2 yards a carry (with 78 after contact), this was a superb display, particularly as he also generated 47 yards on receptions. The fact that 52 of these came after the catch shows that they were really just elongated handoffs.
He’s not being asked to stay in to pass block much (a real strength of the injured Fred Jackson) but he did a good job in that regard last year so it appears for the time being at least, the Bills will not miss their Week 1 starter too much.
We could talk about how well defensive tackle Kyle Williams (+4.4) played, but we’ll save that for our game ball shall we? Instead let’s talk about someone that got lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree last week and did rather better here. Rookie Stephon Gilmore played almost exclusively at right corner and gave up only five receptions on 11 targets. The fact that the biggest of those catches, the 26-yarder to Jonathan Baldwin, came well into garbage time shouldn’t be ignored. What was especially pleasing was of the three balls thrown to Dwayne Bowe he gave up none.
There were the two penalties — the hold on Steve Breaston and the stupid twelve men affair — but this was a markedly better showing and one much more befitting his high draft status.
Covering Thing Up
While the RCB spot is looking close to be locked up for some time, the LCB position is in flux. The Bills rotated both Aaron Williams (45 snaps at LCB) and Terrence McGee (22) and neither played well. Between them they gave up receptions on nine of 14 targets for 108 yards and two touchdowns and a cumulative coverage grade of -2.4 including missing three tackles.
They will play far better quarterbacks than Matt Cassel soon and, if the Bills have playoff aspirations, this is an area of concern.
- For the Chiefs, WR Steve Beaston’s salary cap number in 2012 is $4.5M. He ran 29 pass routes and was only targeted once; courtesy of being the closest Chief to the Hail Mary at the end of the game.
- Before leaving the game with an injury, Bill’s rookie LT Cordy Glenn had only given up a single hurry despite playing against Tamba Hali for a large proportion of snaps.
- On 15 running plays, Nick Barnett made three tackles all of which were stops for a Run Stop Percentage of 20%.
I know I blew it earlier but even people who didn’t watch the game probably know that Bills DT Kyle Williams was once again the best player on the field. Two sacks, two hurries, and a controlled performance against the run gives him this game ball by some margin.