In Week 2 of the 2008 NFL season, the Buffalo Bills faced the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville. The Bills came up with a series of clutch plays in all three phases of the game in order to stage a comeback in the fourth quarter and seal the win.
In Week three, the Bills faced the Oakland Raiders at Ralph Wilson Stadium in a game that many people, myself included, would be no contest with the Bills running away with the game.
Boy, were we wrong. The Raiders came out hard, believing that they were a good team. Quite frankly, they proved it. They ran the ball hard, played hard defense, and they won the special teams battle.
Yet the Bills for the second week in a row played their best football down the stretch, stringing together clutch play after clutch play, to earn their third victory of the young, yet crazy and unpredictable, 2008 NFL season.
Yet again, the offense turned in a clutch fourth quarter performance. Trent Edwards has arrived, it would appear. When the game is on the line, he shines. Just look at the touchdown drive against Jacksonville. Look at his fourth quarter performance against the Raiders. Edwards and the offense drove down the field and scored on a very nice three yard touchdown by Marshawn Lynch who was in full Beast Mode throughout the game.
Then we come to the point that the Buffalo Bills of the past eight years would have collapsed. Down by only two points, the Bills stop the run on first and second downs. Yet here come the Raiders, splitting the defense on a pass that Paul Posluzny misplayed and split the safeties for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Hold on, folks. Here we see that these are not the Bills of the past eight years. These are the new Bills who just don't know the meaning of quit. Donte Whitner takes offense to the showboating and tackles Johnnie Lee Higgins in the end zone for an unsportsman-like penalty. However, it appears he wasn't the only one, because the referees threw the same penatly at Higgins. Penalties cancel each other out, the Bills are furious, and here comes Edwards.
It would not have been a surprise for a second-year quarterback to have folded in my opinion. He had driven his team down the field with under ten minutes to play to bring his team back within two. Momentum has swung, and the defense had stuffed two consecutive run plays. Then the home run play. It felt like all the momentum and energy had been sucked out of the Bills and their fans.
Yet this second-year quarterback calmly stepped back under center and did it again. He even stepped into the touchdown throw to Roscoe Parrish that got him drilled. Trent Edwards is for real and he has a knack for the clutch plays.
The defense must have gotten the hint as well. This time they were not letting the Raiders get out of their grasp on third down. Kyle Williams, one of the players I named as a clutch player in the Jacksonville game, showed up big again.
Consensus was that Aaron Schobel would be the biggest beneficiary of Marcus Stroud's arrival in town. Well, Schobel is enjoying having Stroud there, but there is no one benefiting more than Williams. He has played very well against the pass and the run, making clutch plays at key moments. Defense forces the Raiders to punt from deep in their own territory.
Enter Edwards, Josh Reed, Roscoe Parrish, Marshawn Lynch, and Mr. Consistency Rian Lindell.
Even though Rian Lindell missed a 46-yard field goal earlier in the game, I personally think that was helpful in regards to the Raiders playing the fourth quarter with the mentality of a lead. If they had been down, the Raiders would not have run on three consecutive downs, which allowed the defense to get the ball back in the hands of Edwards and Company.
Who knows what would have happened if the Bills had been playing with the lead at that crucial point? It doesn't matter, however. The Bills offense came through with some clutch passing by Edwards, very nice receiving from Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish, and some very tough Beast Mode running to set up Lindell's chance at redemption.
Let me tell you, being a season ticket holder this season has been a joy. The stadium is amazing and so is the crowd. When Rian Lindell nailed that field goal, I have never heard anything like it. It was stadium-shaking loud. Louder than Roscoe Parrish's punt return for a touchdown against the Seahawks in Week One, which was the loudest I had heard it until the field goal.
Imagine that, Bills fans? The Buffalo Bills are playing clutch football. Who cares if it isn't pretty? A win's a win. It's hard to argue with 3-0. The best part of all is that this team is only going to get better.