It was going to be interesting to see how Trent Edwards bounced back from his injury, and if he could start the second half of the season on a positive note, and be the franchise quarterback that this town has not seen since Jim Kelly. In this game, there were some positive things Trent did, but with the game on the line in the 4th quarter, he wilted just like the Bills defense as the Titans stomped the Bills 41-17.
The game started off on such a positive note, when the Bills defense forced a quick punt. The Bills drove right down the field utilizing a mixture of Marshawn Lynch runs, and short throws by Edwards to put the ball at the Titans 27 yard line. Alex Van Pelt and Dick Jauron called a creative plan utilizing Fred Jackson out of the wildcat formation. Jackson took the direct snap, and faked a run, then stepped back and threw the ball to a wide open Lee Evans for a 27 yard touchdown pass to put Buffalo up 7-0.
Unfortunately for the Bills, Chris Johnson was unleashed on the Titans next possession. Vince Young found Johnson on a key third down completion for a nine yard gain, and then Young completed another third down pass to Nate Washington for 19 yards. On 2nd and 9 from the Bills 45, Young hit Johnson for 17 yards, and Johnson finished the drive off by running the ball in from 28 yards out to tie the game at 7. He showed his speed on the touchdown run, cutting to the outside, and blowing past everybody.
The Titans attacked again after forcing the Bills to punt. Young found Kenny Britt for 38 yards down the left sideline, and then two plays later hit Washington for a 14 yard touchdown to put the Titans up 14-7. The Bills had to find a way to respond as the second quarter started. Edwards found Josh Reed open on first down for a 11 yard completion, and on the next play Trent got sacked for a 9 yard loss by Stephen Tulloch. The Bills did not move the ball on this drive due to a false start penalty on Eric Wood, and Edwards completing a 2 yard pass on third and long. After the punt on the sideline, Terrell Owens was having a very animated discussion with Reed and Bills receivers coach Tyke Tolbert. This was the first major heated exchange this year from Owens, and his frustration with the offense was clearly noticeable. The Titans added a field goal on the next drive which was set up by a 32 yard run from Johnson on third down to get them to the Buffalo 24.
The Bills responded with a five play drive resulting in a nice looking 8 yard touchdown toss from Edwards to Evans that cut the lead to 17-14. The huge play on this drive was a 46 yard completion to Owens on a play action pass. Jairus Byrd followed it up with an interception of Young on the Titans next possession, but the Bills could not capitalize on that error.
The score remained at 17-14 at the half. The Bills came right back in the second half with Edwards hitting Owens on a long hookup for 37 yards which help set up a 25 yard field goal by Rian Lindell to tie the game at 17. The Bills offense moved right down the field on this drive but had to settle for three after Edwards scrambled for a 2 yard gain on 3rd and 8.
The score was tied going into the 4th quarter, and the Titans were driving with the ball at the Buffalo 36 yard line. On a third and short play, Johnson ran for 23 yards to the Bills 13 yard line. The Bills were having a very difficult time containing Johnson throughout the game. Young converted another third down by running the ball himself to the Bills 1 yard line, and Johnson punched it in to the end zone a few plays later to put the Titans up 24-17. The Bills needed to respond after this possession, and all they could muster was a quick 3 and out. Tennessee came back after forcing the Bills to punt, and drove down the field using Johnson again. The key play of this quarter came on 3rd down and 14, and Young completed a pass to Johnson that went for a first down to set up a 51 yard field goal by Rob Bironas to extend the lead 27-17 over the Bills with 3:21 left in the game.
The Bills could not respond with Trent Edwards badly missing a wide open Owens twice before being intercepted by Vincent Fuller on third down. Fuller returned the ball for a touchdown putting the Bills away. In an interesting move after that drive Edwards was pulled for Ryan Fitzpatrick who was also intercepted, as Rod Hood returned it for a touchdown as well making the final score 41-17.
This was a very disappointing start to the second half of the season for the Bills, but its something that is nothing new for the fans. This story has been repeated numerous times this year, and over the last ten years. The interesting thing this week at One Bills drive will be, who will be the starting quarterback in Jacksonville this week, and has the organization made its decision on Edwards’ future in Buffalo? The Bills will have a very challenging opponent this week, as the Jaguars are playing good football at the right time to help their playoff chances.