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Other Week 7 Game Recaps

Week 7 Game Recap: Buffalo Bills 20, Carolina Panthers 9

Buffalo Bills

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Pass: 11 - 22 - 123 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 10 - 0

Fitzpatrick did enough for the Bills to win the game, but it was more his lack of big mistakes and smart play to preserve field position than any big positive plays that helped the Bills get over the hump in this one. The Panthers got good pressure on Fitzpatrick - creating a lot of his incompletions by forcing him to just throw the ball away. Fitzpatrick did make a few improvisional plays, but mostly he seemed to short-circuit when he was under pressure, either looking to run or just get rid of the ball. On deep balls, he hit Lee Evans in stride, but also underthrew Terrell Owens when he got a step on the defensive back trying to cover him. Fitzpatrick was victimized by a few Owens drops, in addition to drops by Josh Reed and Jonathan Stupar, and played better than his stats, while still showing why he is a backup. Fitzpatrick seemed to have the best timing with Lee Evans again this week. He executed much better in the red zone and showed great arm strength on short throws.

RB Marshawn Lynch, Rush: 17 - 40 - 1, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0

Lynch found no room to run on most of his carries, but his cuts were crisp and powerful, and he still often made the first tackler miss or hang on while his teammates came over to finish the play. He got the goal to go carries on two drives, easily converting an early TD by seeing the cutback and walking in the end zone. His TD was scored on a very short field after a turnover. It's a little troubling that the Bills never got a consistent push at the line of scrimmage, but Lynch still looks as good as ever, and he has emerged as the clear lead back in this offense.

RB Fred Jackson, Rush: 5 - 2 - 0

Jackson has settled into a smaller role, getting an occasional series here and there, but no longer truly a 1A committee back. He did get a few goal to go carries that he did not turn into TDs. Jackson was tackled in the end zone for the Panthers safety, but the poor blocking was to blame, not the running back.

WR Lee Evans, Rec: 5 - 75 - 1

Evans was the more reliable target for Fitzpatrick today, and he got more looks as the game went on. He was able to get a step for a late deep ball that came when the Panthers were looking for the Bills to be conservative. Evans was mostly on the same page with Fitzpatrick timing-wise, and he got multiple red zone targets leading up to his TD, which he created by defeating the jam and getting inside on a quick slant route. Evans fantasy stock isn't very high, but it is as high as it has been this season.

WR Terrell Owens, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 3 - 27 - 0

Owens had another performance that flashed his talent and tools, but was mostly marred by uneven effort and execution. Owens dropped multiple passes after getting open deep early, only to be underthrown by Fitzpatrick. While Fitzpatrick could have made a better throw, Owens didn't attempt to make a play on the ball. Owens did climb the ladder like a younger man to make a third down catch, and showed strong hands on another catch that was competed for by the DB. Perhaps the most telling play of the game for Owens was when he got his number called on a 3rd and 2 end around late in the game that he could only turn into one yard. Owens is not going to be a fantasy factor unless this offense has a magical transformation.

TE Jonathan Stupar

Stupar got on the field because Shawn Nelson was inactive, and he got a downfield target, but couldn't hold on when he took a big hit.

Carolina Panthers

QB Jake Delhomme, Pass: 27 - 44 - 325 - 0 TD / 3 INT

The Bills got good pressure on Delhomme early, and then later in the game, but most of Delhomme's problems were his own making. The Panthers game plan had him throwing lots of short passes early, and he also used his tight ends and running backs as effective checkdowns, but as the game went on, the Bills started anticipating the short passes, especially to Steve Smith. Delhomme threw all three of his interception on long downfield passes that he overthrew, sometimes to wide open receivers, but he also converted perfectly thrown deep balls to Gary Barnidge and Steve Smith. He also threw a lazy out that should have been intercepted. Delhomme doesn't bear all the blame for the Panthers loss. He played well enough for the Panthers to have the lead going into the half, but John Kasay missed two field goals, and a fumbled punt allowed the Bills open up a two-score lead after Delhomme had driven them to a TD to pull the Panthers within eight points.

RB DeAngelo Williams, Rush: 16 - 89 - 1, Rec: 5 - 50 - 0

Williams played like an all-pro, breaking tackles and dragging tacklers anytime he wasn't met in the backfield. He also make a few tacklers miss and flashed his signature blazing initial burst. He was one tackle away from breaking one of the long TD runs he made happen so often last year, and he was also very useful as an outlet receiver out of the backfield. Williams displayed patience to let the holes develop, then explosiveness to hit the hole as soon as it developed. He used his stiff arm to get extra yardage, and broke multiple tackles on the way to the Panthers only TD on a fourth down carry. His stamina was outstanding as Williams ran as hard late in the game as he did early on. None of the blame for this loss belongs at his feet.

RB Jonathan Stewart, Rush: 7 - 25 - 0, Rec: 4 - 20 - 0

Stewart was running with irresistable power, always falling forward and breaking tackles along the way. He looked very natural as a receiver out of the backfield. Stewart got the red zone touches on one drive, including a fourth and 1, but he couldn't convert because the Panthers lost the battle in the trenches. There was a productive game for Stewart there to be had if the Panthers hadn't ineptly fallen behind early to an inferior team.

RB Mike Goodson, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0

Goodson got in for two carries when Jonathan Stewart left the game with a hand injury. He was sudden and elusive, but he also tried to do too much on his first carry and lost yards because of it.

WR Steve Smith, Rec: 6 - 99 - 0

Smith was bottled up for much of the game, but he slowly but surely piled up targets and yards on short catches with good run after catch ability and body control. He was overthrown on one deep target when he got a step on the defense, but later Delhomme was able to hit Smith in stride when he abused man coverage, and only an ankle tackle kept Smith from scoring a long TD. As long as the Panthers aren't able to control the game and abandon the pas, Smith will find a way to get his.

WR Muhsin Muhammad, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0

Muhammad wasn't involved much in the passing game, and then he got hurt. He looks like the fifth or sixth best target in this passing offense right now. He can be dropped in most leagues.

TE Jeff King, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0

King was mainly used as a safety valve for Delhomme, as Gary Barnidge and Dante Rosario got most of the downfield routes for the TEs in this game.

TE Dante Rosario, Rec: 3 - 35 - 0

Rosario made possibly the best individual play of the game with a one-handed snag on a first-down conversion, and he generally showed his superior athleticism, even on attempts to catch poorly thrown balls that turned into incompletions. He also ran well and broke a tackle after the catch on one of his targets. His fantasy value is modest, but he has the talent to do more if the Panthers have to rely more on the pass in the future.

TE Gary Barnidge, Rec: 3 - 77 - 0

Barnidge had a breakout game against the Bills. He got a step on Terrance McGee because he was peeking at the inside receiver, and converted a 52-yard gain on the resulting deep pass for the Panthers longest play of the game. He was also wide open over the middle on one of Delhomme's INTs, and he also got another deep target late in the game that was overthrown and picked off. He looked sure-handed and athletic, and he should have a role in this passing offense going forward.