Inside The Bills

Branch gets game ball

Posted by Chris Brown on December 3, 2013 – 8:47 am

Bills DL Alan Branch has been filling in admirably since Alex Carrington left the starting lineup with a season-ending quadriceps tendon tear. His performance on Sunday earned him a game ball award from Pro Football Focus.

In their game review Branch was one of their two positive Bills performances. Here’s what they wrote.

Performances of Note

Spilling Over
Posting his top grade so far this season, Buffalo’s C.J. Spiller put on quite a show for the city’s Northern neighbors. It was tough to find days that weren’t glowing with green grades for Spiller in 2012, but this season that hasn’t been the story. The +2.7 he earned this week just outshines his +2.6 from the Kansas City game a few games back but those two sit as the lonely pair on a sheet dominated by red marks. Seeing him work against Atlanta it’s tough to believe he’d rate anything less than excellent at any point along the way. An impression of his 2013 truth is there to be had, though, and not just in his season grade, but in his numbers as well. His Elusive Rating for this game – built from his seven forced missed tackles on 17 touches and a 6.07 yards after contact figure — was an astounding 249.8 (a measure that crowns a yearly champ with a mark in the neighborhood of 90), but as impressive as it was, his season ER was only pulled up to 30.6; 32nd on the league’s list of runners.

Breakout, Part 2
Alan Branch, playing on a one-year deal with the Bills, has had trouble matching the consistent levels he showed in his 2011 breakout year with Seattle. After turning in a mixed bag in his last season as a Seahawk and seeing his first in Buffalo start on the same pace, you wouldn’t turn heads by suggesting his best was a blip and safely back in the distance. Well, don’t look now but Branch might just be finding his feet again. With a +4.1 grade in Week 10 and a career-best +5.9 this week, he’s posted two of his three best marks since we started watching him in 2008. Against Atlanta this week, he saw 50 snaps for the second time this season and his five run stops kept pace with (or outpaced) the weekly headliners at the position. He simply looked too strong for the Atlanta line to cope with, no matter who he was matched up with; Joe Hawley (3Q 10:33), Peter Konz (3Q 11:57), Lamar Holmes (2Q 13:45), Jeremy Trueblood (3Q 9:37), and Justin Blalock (1Q 14:50) all got tastes as he discarded blockers and disrupted runs all afternoon.

PFF Game Ball
For taking on all comers and winning out, Alan Branch tossed aside the competition for the PFF Game Ball.

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