BUF-CIN grades: Bills’ secondary stifles Bengals in road win

Bengals QB Andy Dalton struggles after star WR A.J. Green leaves early to injury.

| 7 months ago
(John Grieshop, Getty Images)

(John Grieshop, Getty Images)

BUF-CIN grades: Bills’ secondary stifles Bengals in road win

Buffalo Bills 16, Cincinnati Bengals 12

Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the Buffalo Bills’ 16-12 road victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11:

Buffalo Bills

Quarterback grade: Tyrod Taylor, 44.7

Conservative Taylor struggles on downfield passes

The Bills did not ask a lot from quarterback Tyrod Taylor, as 20 of his 25 aimed attempts did not travel more than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. The Buffalo signal-caller was relatively accurate on these passes, as he completed 16 of them. However, he did not have a good day when it came to passing downfield. While Taylor did complete three of the five attempts that traveled more than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage, those completions include a pass that went right through the hands of Cincinnati CB Adam Jones, and Taylor also threw an interception on a deep attempt.


Top offensive grades:

G Richie Incognito, 81.0

RB Mike Gillislee, 74.5

RB LeSean McCoy, 70.3

WR Brandon Tate, 69.5

T Jordan Mills, 59.8

Bills’ offense does just enough in win

Buffalo’s offense did not excel against Cincinnati’s defense, but pulled off some big plays to move the chains at just the right times. The most crucial plays arguably came from running back Mike Gillislee, who ran for 72 yards on 14 carries. What is more impressive from Gillislee’s performance is that he gained 61 of his 72 yards after contact and also broke two tackles. While the offensive line had an off day for Buffalo, guard Richie Incognito provided a spark with a couple of dominant blocks in the running game.

Top defensive grades:

S Corey Graham, 85.4

CB Stephon Gilmore, 80.9

ED Jerry Hughes, 77.4

CB Ronald Darby, 76.6

LB Lorenzo Alexander, 76.5

Bills’ secondary stifles the Bengals’ pass game

Bengals star WR A.J. Green went down early in the game, and his injury made the day far easier than expected for the Bills secondary. Stephon Gilmore was thrown at seven times, and he allowed five catches for 63 yards and only four yards after the catch. Gilmore did give up a touchdown, but he also hauled in two interceptions. Corey Graham only allowed one catch for zero yards and provided a run stop as well. Ronald Darby was thrown at four times, and he allowed two catches for only 15 yards. Andy Dalton’s QB rating when throwing at Darby was 59.4.

Cincinnati Bengals

Quarterback grade: Andy Dalton, 45.7

Dalton struggles without A.J. Green

Losing A.J. Green early in the game affected the way Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense’ had to play the game. With their vertical threat gone, the Bengals relied on short and intermediate passes. Dalton only threw three passes farther than 20 yards downfield, and he only completed one. Dalton was just 4-of-11 to the intermediate range (10-19 yards downfield), with no TDs and two INTs.

Top offensive grades:

C Russell Bodine, 75.7

FB Ryan Hewitt, 74.4

T Andrew Whitworth, 72.7

G Kevin Zeitler, 71.6

T Eric Winston, 71.0

The Bengals’ offense couldn’t get going against the Bills

The Bengals’ offense was stagnate for most of the day. The offensive line didn’t allow a sack, but yielded two hits and seven hurries. The Bengals’ running backs Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard didn’t create much on their own, and only generated a combined 26 yards after contact and two forced missed tackles. Rookie Tyler Boyd performed admirably in Green’s absence, catching passes against six different coverage defenders — including one touchdown — and earning Dalton a QB rating of 131.8 when throwing at him.

Top defensive grades:

CB Adam Jones, 85.2

LB Karlos Dansby, 83.0

LB Vincent Rey, 81.6

CB Dre Kirkpatrick, 81.2

S Derron Smith, 81.2

Bengals’ defense plays well in loss

Most of Cincinnati’s defensive starters earned good grades in the loss to Buffalo. Cornerback Adam Jones had the best performance, as he had a very solid outing in pass coverage. Jones was targeted twice and was in position to prevent a completion on both occasions, but one of the passes went straight through his hands and was caught by Bills receiver Robert Woods. Edge rushers Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson each recorded a sack and combined for an additional five quarterback hurries, while Johnson also batted down a pass.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Buffalo Bills S Corey Graham

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

  • JT

    Very strange grade for Gilmore who didn’t play well at all…sure he got 2 interceptions but one was literally off the hands of Eifert who he left wide open on the play. Weird that Taylor got penalized so hard when he didn’t play that bad at all.

    • Thomas W

      I’d have to watch it again, but I thought Gilmore pulled off his man to grab the Eifert pass, and the other INT was excellent. I don’t think Taylor wasn’t very good at all. So I don’t agree about these ratings being strange.

  • crosseyedlemon

    I think this loss by the Bengals guarantees that there will be a major overhaul of the coaching staff once the season ends.