Week 4: Bills Get First Win 17-14
Edwards performs very well in first NFL start and win.
by Steve Saslow
What a difference a win makes. Everyone should be all smiles in Western New York as rookie QB Trent Edwards played a very solid game in leading the Bills to a hard fought 17-14 win over the Jets to get their first win of the season. Edwards threw a touchdown pass and an interception while completing almost all of his high percentage passes with plenty of time to throw the ball in the win.
It was a defensive effort as a banged up Bills defense, that lost two more starters in the game, held on in the end for the victory. Thanks in part to a nice interception by Terrence McGee in the final seconds to keep the Jets from moving into field goal range to tie the game.
The Bills put forth an inspired effort on defense as they came to play. They looked rejuvenated at home despite having so many injuries and losing Ashton Youboty early and Jim Leonhard late while the game was on the line. Two second half interceptions gave the Bills a chance to win it. Jabari Greer replaced Youboty and had an interception with the Bills up 10-7 that gave the Bills a chance to extend the lead. McGee's interception allowed the Bills to hold on to it.
It was scoreless at halftime when the Bills stopped the Jets with a rare three and out series to start the third quarter. The Offense took over from there with a 10 play, 56 yard drive to a Marshawn Lynch 10 yard touchdown run where he rumbled through tackles for the score. It was the first Bills score of the game but they could have had more in the first half. They had drives of 51 and 60 yards in the opening half but had bad drive starts and Edwards one mistake of the game also kept them off the scoreboard. He underthrew Lee Evans and had it picked off. An earlier Robert Royal fumble also kept the Bills from scoring in the first half.
The Jets were kept off the scoreboard in the first half as well as the Bills defense really battled hard, one long drive just before halftime ended with a field goal attempt going off the right upright to keep it scoreless. A fake spike by Chad Pennington was completed to setup the attempt.
The Jets seemed to respond offensively after the Bills scored. They had a nice touchdown drive that ended with a Laveranues Coles five yard reception that tied the game at 7. The Bills drove to a clutch 46 yard field goal by Rian Lindell to gain the lead.
Greer's interception setup the biggest play of the game. After his pick, they moved it and faced a fourth and goal inside the one. Dick Jauron initially sent the field goal unit on the field. He thought at first they were two yards away but timeout was called and then they went for it inside the one when they realized how close they were. With everyone expecting a run from Lynch, they ran a rare play action pass and Edwards found Michael Gaines wide open for the touchdown to give the Bills the 17-7 lead with less than seven minutes remaining and the Jets down to their final timeout.
It never could be easy for this team as the Jets went right down the field for an eight yard touchdown run by Leon Washington to make it 17-14. The Bills went three and out as they tried to throw on 3rd and 3 and the pass went incomplete leaving the Jets with their timeout on their final drive. They did convert one fourth down on the final drive but pressure on Pennington led to McGee's interception with :06 on the clock ending the game.
It's nice to have a victory but talk immediately went to a QB controversy. The team opened up the offense despite Edwards making his first NFL start. They showed trust in him by letting him throw it on fourth down on the goal line and on third down while they were trying to run out the clock. He did a nice job but it should be noted the offensive line had a fantastic day in pass protection. Edwards had all day to throw and his two sacks were coverage sacks. Before Edwards is pronounced the starting QB you may want to wonder if J.P. Losman could have done the same thing with that kind of time to throw against a weaker defense than the team saw the first three weeks.
That is a discussion for another day, it is time to bask in the glory of a rare Bills win, the first one in six games. The team showed heart in playing through injuries and rallying around a rookie quarterback to hold on for a nice win against a division opponent.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Jets: