Potential to Production: Bills Growing Up With Win In Jacksonville
Solid. Resilient. Tough. Winners. Undefeated? Those were not words normally associated with the Buffalo Bills. At least not in my recent memory. After the first two weeks of the 2008 NFL season all those words tie directly to the Bills squad.
Yes, it's only two games in, but the Buffalo Bills have shown a lot of production, not just potential. Their 20-16 comeback win in Jacksonville, proved that not only can they beat an injury-depleted team at home, but they can win on the road, against a team picked by some "experts" to make the Super Bowl.
Buffalo has won in two complete different ways. Week One they triumphed in blowout fashion, and in Week Two they showed their resilience in defeating the Jags with a late 4th quarter surge. The Bills are looking as if they are for real. And so is their young quarterback.
This game was a hot one to say the least, as temperatures crept into the triple digits. As the game began, the Bills, usually thought of as a cold weather team, were hot. They methodically drove down the field for a 1st quarter score.
Great calls by Turk Schonert, allowed Marshawn Lynch, Lee Evans, and even Trent Edwards to show their array of skills. Lynch's 11-yard run capped off a great drive by the Bills, who looked unstoppable againg Jacksonville's stout defensive unit.
David Garrard and Jacksonville started the 2nd quarter with a 28-yard field goal, after their drive stalled in the red-zone, making the score 7-3. Later in the half, Buffalo looked eerily similar to their team from a year ago, as they could not punch it in for a score after having a first and ten on the Jags' seven yard line. Rian Lindell tapped in a 21 yarder to increase Buffalo's lead to 7, 10-3.
In an attempt to tie the game, Garrard lead his team down the field with good running and bad Bills tackling, giving his team a chance to score late. With 14 seconds left in the 2nd stanza, Garrard dropped back and lofted a ball into the end zone, toward Mike Walker. Bills corner back Terrence McGee slide in-front of the route and intercepted the pass, cementing the Bills lead going into halftime.
Bills fans were content, as they had a touchdown lead over a playoff team from a year before. That sweet taste turned sour as the 3rd quarter started. The Jaguars munched on the clock for six minutes to begin the 2nd half, ending with a Maurice Jones-Drew plunge from two yards out.
On the ensuing kickoff, Bobby April took a big sip of his own medicine when, Jack Del-Rio called an onside kick, resulting in a recovery by former Bill Pierson Prioleau. The wave of momentum was rolling Jacksonville's way.
Later in the drive, Josh Scobee's 50-yard launch off his right foot through the uprights gave the Jaguars their first lead of the ball game. Finally the Bills had a chance to respond to the quick start of Jacksonville. A nice Kevin Faulk-like "catch n run" by Freddy Jackson had the Bills on the move, as it looked like a field goal attempt, at least, was on the horizon.
On the next play, rookie Quentin Groves beat Pro-Bowler Jason Peters to the outside and striped the ball from Trent Edwards as he dropped back. The ball was recovered by Jacksonville. They played hot-potato down the field, lateralling the ball twice before it landed out of bounds.
Again the Bills defensive unit stood firmly against Jacksonville's vaunted attack, as Josh Scobee added this 3rd field goal of the game giving the Jaguars their biggest lead, 16-10. The Jags were confident heading into the 4th quarter that they would come away on top after their sheer domination in the 3rd.
Remember how I said "resilient?" In the 4th quarter the boys from Buffalo showed their newly found capability to re-bound following a tough stretch. The Bills and Jaguars' defenses remained stout, until the Bills started their 2nd drive of the 4th quarter.
Facing a pivotal 3rd and 6, Trent Edwards put his poise and arm on display, firing a 37-yard strike to Lee Evans on the sideline, setting up first-and-goal. The next play, Turk Schonert did not waste anytime using all of the six feet and five inches that make up James Hardy, as he called an un-Bills like fade route. Edwards delivered the high-arcing throw and Hardy came down with both feet inbounds, barely. If his spikes were a half size bigger, the story would have been different. It was that close.
The Bills defense, not totally on top of their game, still held Jacksonville to a three-and- out, leading to a late 4th quarter Rian Lindell field goal that bought Buffalo some insurance that in the end, sealed the victory. Edwards finished 20 of 25 for 239, with one TD and no interceptions. His poise and accuracy in the pocket had fans believing that the coaching staff made the right choice in naming him the starter.
This was truly a great weekend for Buffalo sports. University at Buffalo's "Hail Mary" win at home against Temple, kicked off the weekend on a high note. Buffalo's professional football team's win in Florida ended the weekend perfectly for Western New Yorkers.
Weak. Predictable. Defeated. Losers. Those words are slowly but surely being erased as adjectives for the Buffalo Bills. The season is still very young, but now, Bills fans have more reasons to "Billieve". The Bills face off at home in front of what should be a boisterous Bills crowd Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. Kickoff set for 1pm EST.
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