After the first Bills preseason game there was a sense of panic across Bills Nation. People wondered if Losman might be a threat to Edwards this season, they wondered if the defense would stop anyone, and there was a general sense that the Bills could be in for another long season.
It’s amazing what a little more than one quarter can do for the psyche of a team and it’s fans. The Bills were a different team this evening as they appeared for the first time in Toronto. Edwards was brilliant, the running game was solid, Robert Royal (yes the one who plays TE) had 2 TD’s, and the starting defense was relatively solid. And for good measure a rookie shined again, with Leodis McKelvin returning a kickoff for a 95 yard TD. All is right in Buffalo, or Toronto, once more.
The starting offense drove down the field surprisingly well against the Steelers’ starting defense, with the result being two TD scoring drives. Both of the drives ended with TD passes to Robert Royal and on one of the drives the Bills started from their own 10. On these drives Edwards was sharp, composed, and most importantly effective. Combined these two drives took approximately 11 minutes off the game clock, a drastic change from last week’s game against Washington, and once the drives were done the Bills had seen enough from Edwards. He finished 9 for 11 for 104 yards and 2 TD passes and he kept the 2nd drive alive with a 22 yard scramble when the Bills were pinned in their own end zone. Marshawn Lynch had a productive 5 carries for 25 yards, and Lee Evans had 3 catches for 55 yards. Not bad production from the “Big 3” in less than 2 quarters.
Ben Roethlisberger was productive as well completing 9 of his 11 passes for 142 yards, a TD, and an interception. However the interception by Donte Whitner was a big play as it resulted in the Bills first TD. The Bills were better against Willie Parker, who only managed to get 14 yards on 5 carries.
In the 3rd and 4th Quarters the rookies were the stars. After a muffed punt return by the Bills the Steelers finished a short 18 yard drive with a 6 yard TD run by rookie Rashard Mendenhall. Leodis McKelvin, also a rookie, stole his thunder by immediately returning the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a TD. And rookie Dennis Dixon had a 47 yard TD run in the 4th quarter to end the run of exciting rookie plays and the scoring.
While the rookies stole the show in the end the real story was the improved play by the Bills, especially by their offense. Trent Edwards can go to bed tonight knowing that tomorrow there will be no talk of a potential takeover by JP Losman, because after tonight’s performance he is firmly entrenched as the starting QB of The Buffalo Bills. At least for the time being.
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