Week 4: Bills Blow Past Rams 31-14
Another strong second half makes up for lousy first half.
by Steve Saslow
The Bills once again used a solid second half of football to help overcome a lousy first half in their 31-14 win over the St. Louis Rams to go to 4-0 for the first time since 1992. The Bills played awful in the first half and trailed the winless Rams 14-6 at the intermission. As was the case the previous two weeks the Bills made the perfect halftime adjustments and turned it on in the second half to storm past the Rams and cruise to the victory in the final minutes.
It was a good start as Trent Edwards hit Lee Evans for a 49 yard completion on the first offensive play from scrimmage. He then hit Evans late in the fourth quarter for a 39 yard touchdown and two point conversion that gave the Bills a two touchdown lead. In between there was some bad football before the Bills came out of the locker room like a loose cannon in the second half.
The long pass to Evans setup the first of three Rian Lindell field goals to give the Bills a 3-0 lead. That didn't last long as rookie Donnie Avery made good on his promise of an end zone dance, as he scored on an end around from 37 yards out to give the Rams the lead that they would not relinquish until the opening play of the fourth quarter.
The Bills cut it to 7-6 as they continued to have the field position edge in the first half but couldn't capitalize with the exception of Lindell's second field goal. The Rams used some nice stunts and blitzes to get to Edwards for four sacks all in the first half.
While they were keeping the Bills down on offense they were rolling up some yards of their own behind the running of Steven Jackson. He ran 99 of his 110 yards in the first half including a 29 yard touchdown run where he went untouched to go up 14-6. A Trent Edwards interception late in the first half kept the Bills from closing the gap before halftime.
The offense got the ball first in the second half and decided to announce their presence with authority as they started running the ball well out of the stretch formation. They struggled opening any holes for the running game in the first half but the adjustments made in the locker room allowed them to open up running lanes for both Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. They went 76 yards in nine plays to start the third quarter with mostly Lynch and Jackson making the plays as Jackson put it in the end zone for the first time in the game with a 22 yard run. The Bills thought they tied it when Jackson ran in the two point conversion but an unusual illegal formation penalty on Robert Royal took the points off the board and forced the Bills to settle for the extra point to pull within one at 14-13.
When the fourth quarter hits the Bills begin to shine this year. They scored 17 points in the fourth quarter last week and they topped it by one this week. It started on the first play of the fourth quarter when Trent Green was pressured into throwing a wounded duck that was picked off by Jabari Greer. He broke one tackle and headed down the sidelines for his first NFL touchdown to give the Bills the lead. Evans touchdown and two pointer made it 28-14. Lindell's final field goal of the game after the Rams turned it over on downs put a nice bow on the win.
The Bills continue to do it the hard way. The question is how long will they get away with struggling early and turning it on in the second half. Eventually they have to put a full game together or else this will catch up with them. Maybe as early as this week in the desert. There is not getting around the fact that this team has a tremendous amount of confidence that they can pull out any game at anytime. So far they have pulled them all out leaving many smiling faces in Bills Nation.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Rams:Gameballs