Buffalo Bills Stock Watch: 3 Up, 3 Down For Week 2
3 Up, 3 Down For The Bills
The Buffalo Bills evened their record at 1-1 after a dramatic win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. There were a lot of good performances across the board for the Bills in the game. A lot of the guys who were invisible in the game against the New England Patriots stepped up this week and helped lead the Bills to the win. In particular, there was a vast improvement in the running game. C.J. Spiller looked like the Spiller of last season with a couple of big runs, and Fred Jackson was his usual, dependable self. Carolina had not given up more than 70 yards rushing in their last five games, but the Bills backs totaled 149 yards against the Panthers defense.
It was, of course, a coming out party for E.J. Manuel as you've likely already heard by now. He looked poised in the face of adversity and won the game at the last second with a TD throw. He did make some mistakes which he didn't do in the first game, however, so I won't be marking Manuel's stock as going up again just yet. I'm not going to put the running backs in there either since Fred was up last week, and C.J. is just getting back to his normal self and has yet to find the end zone. The receivers are the ones that will get the props this week as they stepped up big after only catching four balls combined in the opener.
It's hard to pick guys whose stock is down after this game because so many of the early-game goats like Manuel and Dan Carpenter redeemed themselves later in the game. Nonetheless, here are three players whose stock is up and three whose stock is down after Week 2 of the season.
Stock UP: DE Mario Williams
I think that you can consider Williams' stock through the roof after this week. He had six tackles and a team-record 4.5 sacks on Sunday. He added another four QB pressures and kept Cam Newton on his toes all game long. I haven't seen Mario as dominant as he was in years. He was blowing up every single offensive lineman that Carolina put in front of them, bulldozing them back into the backfield on nearly every play.
Stock DOWN: FB Frank Summers
Summers actual had a good start to the game with two early big catches, but his two late mistakes nearly cost the Bills the game. He committed a holding penalty on a punt which gave the Panthers a first down and a subsequent TD, and then whiffed on a block that led to the Manuel fumble. On a team where the fullback doesn't get much time in the offense, make mistakes like these can lead to unemployment in short order.
Stock UP: WR Stevie Johnson
Johnson only had three catches in the opener, but he bounced back in a big way this week. He had eight catches for 111 yards and the game-winning TD. These are the types of games that Manuel needs from his veteran receiver while the new chips on offense fall into place. Johnson was a monster after the catch as well and was clutch on the game-winning drive. Manuel needed a game like this from Stevie and he got it.
Stock DOWN: TE Scott Chandler
Chandler had three catches for only 10 yards on Sunday and a couple of drops. He looked a bit lethargic out there. It might not be fair to say that about someone coming off of ACL surgery, but the Bills have pretty much nothing at tight end behind him in the passing game. Backup Lee Smith is basically a sixth offensive lineman and rookie Chris Gragg has been inactive for the first two games. We need to see more from Chandler.
Stock UP: WR Robert Woods
Woods was quiet in his debut for the Bills, catching only one pass, but he stepped up this week as well. He caught four balls for 68 yards and, like his mentor Johnson, was creating positive plays after the catch. I've called Woods almost a "mini Stevie Johnson" since he was drafted by the Bills, and he seconded Johnson's big effort with a solid day of his own. He's got a good rapport with Manuel, and big things could be ahead for the duo.
Stock DOWN: OLB Nigel Bradham
Bradham's face might as well be on a milk carton. After a decent rookie season, Bradham can't find the field. He got into one defensive play all day on Sunday (ironically, he made a good run stuff on that one play). He may have been benched in anticipation of a possible suspension after a marijuana arrest, and his replacement Arthur Moats has played really well in the meantime. Bradham might just need a chance, but it will be hard to get one with off-field issues.