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Bills-Saints report card

>Grading the Bills

RUNNING GAME: C

Jackson had his moments, slashing for 71 yards on 18 carries. But no carries over 12 yards. Lynch's return will be welcome in Miami next week.

PASSING GAME: D-

Edwards in full Captain Checkdown mode against Saints pressure. Was 20 of 35, but didn't have completion over 18 yards and didn't get ball to Owens.

RUN DEFENSE: C- Any way you slice it, the Saints rushed for 222 yards and 5.8 average. Didn't even need to use Pierre Thomas (126 yards) until second half.

PASS DEFENSE: B

Bills held Brees to 172 yards, his lowest total since 2006. Front four got decent pressure and Fewell's coverage schemes were solid.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-

Fake field goal was work of genius, but shabby overall. Had three more penalties on kick returns. Parrish's fumbled punt was a killer.

COACHING: C-

Another signature Jauron loss against a contender. Can't understand his insistence on deferring opening kick. Punting on fourth-and-1 was weak.

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>Grading the Saints

RUNNING GAME: A

Payton had masterful plan. Was committed to establishing run and wore down Bills' defense. Saved Thomas, who ran for 126 after halftime.

PASSING GAME: C-

Brees seemed unsure of himself and unwilling to throw the ball down the field. Maybe he watched too much film of Edwards.

RUN DEFENSE: C

Prevented Jackson from breaking any long ones. Kept Bills from getting many manageable down-and-distance situations. Grant and Smith are beasts.

PASS DEFENSE: A

Gregg Williams was in his glory, sending the heat and knowing Edwards wouldn't burn him. Broke Owens' 185-game streak with at least one catch.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B

Stripped Parrish on punt return. Didn't allow Bills much on kickoff returns. Strong punt coverage. Caught napping on fake field goal for TD.

COACHING: A-

Payton had his team ready to compensate for poor passing day with insistent, effective running game. Never easy to win big in Orchard Park.

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