ReFo: Bills @ Texans, Week 4
The Bill and Texans both entered the game coming off tough losses in Week 3. After a scoreless first quarter, Buffalo jumped out to a 10 point lead in the second quarter as their defense continued to keep the Texan offense in check. Houston was able to quickly drive down the field at the end of the second quarter though, preventing the first half shutout. An incredible interception for a touchdown by J.J. Watt early in the third quarter gave Houston a lead they never relinquished. The Bills made a final push in the fourth quarter with a long touchdown pass to Mike Williams, but ultimately came up short as their final drive ended on an E.J. Manuel interception.
Here’s a look at a few notable individual performances from each team.
Buffalo Bills — Performances of Note
Starting Defensive Line: Combined +9.4
Breakdown: The Bills’ defensive line play might get overshadowed by a particular defensive linemen on the other sideline, but their starting four put forth a solid performance against the Texans’ offensive line with all four starters grading positively overall. Marcell Dareus led the way with a +3.6 overall grade, due primarily to his work in run defense as the Bills held Arian Foster and Alfred Blue to a combined 15 yards on 17 carries. They were just as effective rushing the passer, combining for three sacks, four hits, six hurries, and a batted pass.
Signature Play: On the final play of the third quarter, Dareus got the better of Ben Jones to tackle Blue in the backfield for one of his three run stops.
Aaron Williams, S: +1.5
Breakdown: Williams has quietly had a great start to the season and his performance yesterday continued the trend with a fourth-straight positively graded game. He picked up two defensive stops and added a hurry on his only pass rush snap. He was targeted twice and allowed just a single 4 yard catch to Andre Johnson.
Signature Play: With 11:50 to go in the third quarter, Williams put a solid hit on C.J. Fiedorowicz to jar the ball loose and prevent a first down.
Sammy Watkins, WR: -2.3
Breakdown: While Watkins found the end zone for the second time this year, the rest of his day did not go nearly as well. Watkins dropped three of his other eight targets on the day, leading to a second-straight game with a severely negative grade.
Signature Stat: Manuel was 0-for-2 when targeting Watkins 10-plus yards downfield, putting them at 4-for-14 on the season.
Houston Texans — Performances of Note
J.J. Watt, DE: +13.5
Breakdown: As if there is anything you can say about Watt that hasn’t already been said. After two below-average weeks, by his standards, Watt regained his usual form and then some. Pending review of All-22 film in the coming days, Watt’s +13.5 overall grade currently sits as the highest PFF grade ever earned, eclipsing his previous record of +11.4 last season. There was little the Bills’ offensive line could do to stop him in the passing game as he tallied fifteen pressures. Watt’s nine hits (including one negated by his own roughing the passer penalty) were more than all but eight other 3-4 defensive ends had in the entire 2013 season.
Signature Plays: Watt started the day by beating Erik Pears for a hit on the first play of the game, and he finished (Q4 1:14) in similar fashion by beating Pears for another hit that helped lead to the game-ending interception.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB: +1.4
Breakdown: Outside of a fumbled snap that led to an easy stop on third down, Fitzpatrick played pretty well. Although the stat sheet shows two interceptions, he cannot be blamed for the batted pass turned interception, and the other was an outstanding play by Leodis McKelvin. He had a couple good passes dropped, but was able to get first downs when needed in the second half. He also scrambled to pick up two third-down conversions.
Signature Stat: Fitzpatrick finished the game with an overall Accuracy Percentage of 77.1%, and 66.7% when pressured.
Johnathan Joseph, CB: -0.7
Breakdown: At first glance it looks like Joseph had a better day in coverage (-1.4) than he did. He was targeted 10 times, but allowed just four catches for 27 yards. Two catches went for first downs, another three passes were dropped by Watkins, and Manuel was off-target more than once. To his credit, Joseph did have a nice pass defense on third down again Mike Williams.
Signature Play: On third down mid-way through the first quarter (5:41), Manuel finds Watkins on an out route past the first down marker, but Watkins was unable to haul it in.
PFF Game Ball
Without question, the game ball goes to J.J. Watt. In one of the best performances, if not the best, of his short career, he was an absolute force upfront for which Buffalo just did not have an answer. Topped off with a batted pass turned pick-six and Watt’s day could hardly have been more impactful or impressive.
Follow Matt on twitter: @PFF_MattC