The Buffalo Bills didn't just go out west for their latest game on Sunday. It seems as if they went through a time-warp, as the Bills looked more like last years team, as opposed to the one that had won four straight games to begin the season.
The nightmare scenario occurred just three plays into the game, when Trent Edwards was knocked out of the game by a borderline-illegal hit by Cardinals Strong Safety Adrian Wilson. This forced JP Losman into the game, and from there, it was 2007 all over again.
On the very next play, a JP Losman hand off was botched when an Arizona defensive tackle was allowed into the backfield untouched, forcing a fumble and loss of possession. That lack of rhythm would be a mere microcosm for the way the game would turn out.
Although Losman had a quarterback rating over 101.3 and had a pretty 87 yard touchdown pass to Lee Evans, he looked a lot like the JP we have learned to fear every time he touches the ball. Two fumbles, holding on the ball way too long, an interception caused by locking on to Lee Evans, and an inability to lead the offense, it will be a long few weeks if Trent Edwards is not OK to go by the time the Bills play the Chargers in a week and a half.
On defense, the Bills also looked a lot like the unit of 2007, not able to stop teams on third down, as the Cardinals were perfect on third downs While they were respectable against the run, the lack of a pass rush was the most telling thing about the game, as Kurt Warner was able to pick apart the defense to have a superb game after suffering the worst performance of his career just a week ago versus the Jets.
All the blame though cannot be placed in the lack of effort. In another parallel to last season, the Bills defense was forced onto the field due to a lack of sustained offense, injuries, and a really good Arizona passing attack, which should teach Matt Millen that you don't need to draft all your WR's in the top ten every year. With Terrence McGee out and Ko Simpson lost during the game, and Aaron Schobel injured during the game, the defense was playing shorthanded, providing some reasons, if not excuses for the lack of results this week.
What was most stunning however, was the play of the special teams. Justin Jenkins was called for an offsides on a fourth quarter field goal attempt, which put the Cardinals up 34-17 and a three possession game, as opposed to a two possession game.
All in all, it was a pretty lousy outing for the Bills this week. Although it is always tough to win road games, a championship team will learn how to put away a mediocre team, or at least a team that gets rocked the week before. Although I still have faith in our team, and still think a playoff berth is all but likely, hopefully this game serves as a wake-up call that the Bills are still learning, and that they still have some learning to do when it comes to winning at a consistent level. Fortunately, the bye week is upon us, and we can all catch our breath, and then gear up for the rest of the season.