ReFo: Bills @ Texans, Week 4

The Bills and Texans faced off in what turned out to be a defensive showdown. Matt Claassen takes at look at the players making an impact.

| 3 years ago

ReFo: Bills @ Texans, Week 4

2014-REFO-WK04-BUF@HOUThe 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

| Analyst

Matt has been an analyst for PFF since 2013. He is also a contributor to 120 Sports and a former NCAA Division-III football player.

  • Josh Knepshield

    My jaw dropped when I saw J.J.’s grade. Dominance.

  • MrBoo

    Watt a Beast 😀 Maybe we see the best DE ever to play the game

  • anon76returns

    Love Watt, and no doubt he had a game for the ages, but can’t help but think there’s a little gilding going on the grade here. How does Watt get two penalties for 30 yards (leading to two automatic 1st downs) and still come out with a positive penalty grade? One of those penalties came after an incomplete pass on 3rd and 13- love hi hustle, but that is a negative impact in the penalty column. And Watt’s interception was a thing of beauty (especially for an interior d lineman), but it was not a batted pass, unless every time a DB bobbles a pass before making a pick they also get credit for a PD.

    • Anon78doesnotreturn

      I don’t know how the scoring works but if you can hit the quarterback early (even if it’s roughing the passer) they will remember those hits the rest of the game and rush and make mistakes. Those penalties were definitely worth it for the impact later on.

      • anon76returns

        Sure, but I don’t know that 8 legal hits vs. 8 legal hits + 2 late hits has much of difference on QB play- EJ was playing pretty shell-shocked either way.
        And (unprovable) benefits of penalties should have no bearing on grading. If you cost your team yards by dropping a pass, missing a running lane, or picking up a penalty, it should be reflected in a lower grade.

    • Chris

      Most corners go up with the intent to catch the ball. If they bobble it it’s just that – a bobble.

      Defensive lineman are taught to get their hands up in the passing lane if they can’t get to the QB. That’s what Watt was doing. He wasn’t jumping for an interception, he was jumping to bat the ball down. It just so happened that it deflected off his hands perfectly that it dropped right to him.

      I agree with a batted ball INT combo.

      • anon76returns

        He was indeed jumping for an interception. He even caught the point in the triangle. Watt even tracked the ball with his hands. Furthermore, he never really lost contact with the ball. He was trying to do exactly the same thing any LB or DB would have done in that situation: #1 pick the ball, #2 knock it down. No reason to give him credit for both.

        • Chris

          I’m convinced most people on here don’t actually go watch the replays and just rely on highlights from sportscenter.

          This is 100% a batted ball that also turned into an INT.

          • anon76returns

            I watched it repeatedly from all 3 angles afforded by my NFL game rewind subscription, including in super slo-mo for the view that affords it.

            His hands went up as one would when trying to intercept a pass, he caught the nose of the ball in the “triangle” created by his hands, and he pulled it in for an interception.

            He did not extend his hands straight up (as D linemen are trained to do when trying to get their body parts into the passing lane), but rather reached his arms out forward to position his hands on the ball.

            This is 100% an attempt at an interception that ended up being as successful as possible.

          • Chris

            I can’t take you seriously. I freeze framed it and both of his hands are passed the ball, as a part of his standard DL bat technique. When he realizes he got most of the ball he flips his hands around and catches it as it drops to the ground.

          • anon76returns

            Take me as seriously as you like.

            Here’s the freeze frames:

            He definitely flips his hands after making initial contact with the ball, but that initial contact is right in between his two hands, exactly as (for instance) Kam Chancellor did here:

            Kam wouldn’t have gotten a PD had he bobbled it, don’t see why JJ should get both a BP and a INT. Textbook case of padding stats.

          • Chris

            What I see is a guy with two arms straight up, fingers extended, eyes of the QB. He’s not watching the ball. He’s watching where it came from and trying to get his arms in the way.

            You cherry picked the image where it hits his hand. What you didn’t pull, which I did, is when the ball goes passed both of his hands.

            I don’t see anything I just described with Chancellor.

    • sdcsea

      I saw a film breakdown of both of Watt’s penalties. On the first, he was falling and initially made contact with Manuel’s thigh, only making contact below the knee–which is what the penalty was called for–after Manuel fell on him. On the second, he was shoved from behind, which was not called on the O-lineman, sending him low into Manuel, which again was what the penalty was called for. Watt did wrap up Manuel low, though, so I’m not sure what the call should have been. I would assume that a penalty due to referee error would not result in being marked down on PFF, so that at least partially explains his penalty grade.

      • anon76returns

        That’s an awful lot of subjectivity going on there. I’ve certainly seen plenty of calls that looked questionable (and were strongly questioned by the announcers) show up as negative PFF grades on Monday morning.
        Seems very strange how these penalty grades are determined. I noticed in the Denver at Seattle game on a second and 16 play the Broncos got an encroachment/offsides call. PFF awarded that same five yard penalty to three different Broncos players, making the cumulative effect of that single five yard penalty (which did not come close to awarding a first down) a -2.7 grade to the defense. I just don’t see how that is consistent with Watt picking up 30 yards of penalties and getting a +0.2 grade. PFF prides itself on bringing an semi-objective grading system to the game, but that sort of discrepancy really calls into question how well you can compare grades between different teams/games.

  • whatdidyousaytome


  • Steve

    JJ Watt is an outstanding man, on and off the gridiron. GO TEXANS!!!