It’s tough to be a Bills fan. We’ve suffered through some awful, heartbreaking losses. Each week (or whenever I get around to writing one), we’ll take a look at one awful game from years past in a feature called Bills Failure Chronicles.
It’s amazing how small the margin is between success and failure in the NFL. Often, it only takes one small moment or one injury to one player to totally change a season. Today, we’re going to talk about one of those moments. Remember when we all had some hope Trent Edwards really was the quarterback of the future in Buffalo? At one point, it really looked like he was well on his way…until one fateful play in the desert of Arizona.
Background: The 2008 season couldn’t have started better for the Bills. Buffalo destroyed Seattle in the season opener and went on to beat Jacksonville, Oakland, and St. Louis to earn a shocking 4-0 record. Granted, the Bills hadn’t exactly taken out a bunch of powerhouses, but 4-0 is 4-0. With just one game left before a bye week, the Bills were in an amazing position heading into a week 5 contest in Arizona. Believe it or not, Trent Edwards was big reason things were going so well. He didn’t have a QB rating below 81 or a completion percentage below 60 in any game in the first four weeks. He’d thrown four touchdowns and two interceptions. The team was beginning to believe in him. Trent Edwards was…the franchise.
The Cardinals entered Week 5 with an even 2-2 record, but were coming off a horrific 56-35 loss to the Jets in which Arizona only trailed 34-0 at halftime. Quarterback Kurt Warner racked up six turnovers, throwing three picks and losing three fumbles. Needless to say, the Cardinals were looking to bounce back.
The Terrible Result: Really, you only need to see one play to understand this game:
Edwards is OUT. He might be conscious, but he’s out. The lights are on, but no one’s home.
Edwards obviously never came back to this game. The immortal J.P. Losman came in for him and played okay (even hitting Lee Evans for a 87-yard touchdown), but the Bills were clearly a bit shook up. The Cardinals pulled away in the second half and rolled to a 41-17 victory.
Hope Spot: The 87-yard touchdown I guess. But once Edwards went down it never felt like the Bills were winning this one.
Norwood Moment: The Edwards hit. Really? No one blocking Adrian Wilson? When the safety is on the line of scrimmage, he just might blitz!
Plus, this is the kind of crap that happens to the Bills. 4-0 start? Time for the quarterback to get knocked stupid.
Ridiculous Stat(s) of the Game:
1) Tim freaking Hightower ran for a 17-yard touchdown. Not good.
2) Bills cornerback Jabari Greer led everyone with 12 tackles. Most of which came after a Cardinals receiver caught the ball after easily evading Greer’s coverage.
3) The Cardinals had a crazy 28 first downs and went 9-15 on third down. Not going to lose many games like that.
4) The Bills actually moved the ball really well…except for the three lost fumbles and an interception. The Cardinals had zero turnovers.
Personal Memory: I was all in on this Trent Edwards thing. Him going down was CRUSHING. I was bummed out all week.
Best Postgame Quote: Cardinals coach Ken Wisenhunt being really obvious: “We’re a pretty tough team when we don’t turn the ball over.” No shit, Ken. You know who else falls into that category? Every team in the league.
Aftermath: The Bills were lucky enough to have a bye week after this game. It gave Edwards time to heal, and he came back for a win over San Diego in Week 7, pushing Buffalo’s record to 5-1. Life was good again!
Then it all went to shit. The Bills totally collapsed down the stretch, going 2-8 in the final 10 games to finish 7-9.
Worse than that was the sad state of Edwards. He was never the same again. Trent looked at times timid, at times baffled, and at other times downright scared. And I don’t think it was totally his fault. It was that hit. His brain never recovered from the brutal bounce it took off the Arizona turf. From then on, his survival instincts overruled his football instincts.
“Captain Checkdown” was born.
Labatt’s Losing Level: (1 – I’ll be okay; 10 – Only getting blackout drunk will dull the pain)
Nine. Sorry, Trent. We’ll never know how good you could have been.
Previous Editions of Bills Failure Chronicles: