In the third quarter of Week 2's game between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars, it looked like the Jags were going to take over the game and just put the Bills out of their heat-induced misery. All us die-hard Bills fans know that feeling. The game is on the line and close, yet the Bills just cannot close out the deal.
Well, not so much anymore, eh guys? Trent Edwards and company on offense, plus Turk Schonert's scheme, did not let the game end. Edwards looked poised. The offense had the look of "We've been here before, we've done this before. Just another drive and another touchdown." Where did that come from? Confidence, teaching, and trust.
It doesn't hurt to have Edwards looking like he owns that pocket on that drive. He didn't scramble or look scared back there. He just made the right steps at the right time to deliver the ball where it was meant to go. One beautiful throw to Evans who schooled Gerald Sensebaugh, and then great touch on the lob into the corner. Oh, and on that note, James Hardy is a beast. It doesn't matter if he doesn't get the ball between the 20s. If the Bills can drive down into the red zone, his presence after that touchdown is going to give defenses absolute fits. They've got to cover one of the tallest players period in the league. Oh yeah, he can jump an extra two feet to boot.
In conclusion, the offense did what it had to do to win. They did it with style, poise, and confidence, too. What's not to like? They're only going to get better.
After that drive, it was the defense's turn for the clutch play. Going into the game, there were people (myself included) that thought that the three interior offensive linemen for the Jags were going to give their offense problems. So I have to give props to Coach Jack Del Rio and his assistants on the play of their o-line. Throughout most of the game, they were pretty darn good for what they were.
But in the end, it just wasn't good enough for the win. Garrard got sacked twice, but both sacks came on third down. Once on a corner blitz by Ashton Youboty (a very pleasant surprise in camp, I might add), and then Kyle Williams on the clutch play, pushing the Jags out of realistic range of going for the conversion.
I must give props to both the Jags' offense and the Bills defense. The Jags held the ball for most of the third and took control of the game. However, the Bills defense answered the call at the right time. The two field goals in the third were key. I honestly thought that the Jags were going to end up with more rushing yards. Good job by the Bills D to hold Jones-Drew, Taylor, and Garrard to under 100 rushing yards total. That's darn impressive.
And finally, the special teams. They weren't really noticeable during the rest of the game, but in the fourth quarter, the league's best punt return (yes, Parrish is better than Hester) made his mark on the game. No, it wasn't a touchdown. But it was a clutch return to get the Bills good field position to tack on the field goal to put them up by four.
Clutch plays in the fourth quarter by all three phases of the game. The offense may not have scored a lot of points, the defense may have had trouble in the third quarter, and the special teams weren't playing that big of a role until the fourth, but each phase made its distinctive mark.
If the Bills can keep this up, getting clutch plays from each phase, this team will go far. The elements are there. The coaching is coming together. Perry Fewell finally has the personnel to make his defense as aggressive as he wants. Turk Schonert has a cerebral quarterback who has touch but can stretch the defense in key situations, a consistent and good wide receiver who can become one of the best in the business in Lee Evans, his genuine red zone threat in James Hardy, and one of the best 1-2 running back punches in the game due to their all-around ability in Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch and Fred "Action Jackson" Jackson. And Bobby April?
Well, let's just say he's always ready for points to be put on the board when the Bills are receiving a kick.
Lastly, but definitely not least, Dick Jauron. Everyone who badmouthed this man hopefully is rethinking their stance on him. He's smart, he gets everything out of his players they can give him. Now it looks like he has confidence in his offensive coordinator and is letting Schonert call the shots. While the playcalling may not be the most aggressive in the NFL, it's certainly a heck of a lot better than the previous how many ever years.
The Bills are a team on the rise. At work, people have been congratulating me on the Bills' play. It's a darn good feeling to be able to talk proudly about the Bills again. I Billieve.
Let's Go Buffalo.