The Buffalo Bills played three competitive quarters of football only to give up 24 straight points in the fourth to be blown out by the Tennessee Titans 41 – 17.
The bye week seemed to do some good for the Bills offense that has been otherwise anemic during the first half of the season. We even saw some successful use of the wildcat formation as RB Fred Jackson completed a pass to a wide-open Lee Evans for the first score of the game.
The Titans, however, who improved to 3-6 simply had too much firepower on the offensive end. The dual threat of tremendous athletes Vince Young and Chris Johnson overpowered the defense. Teams continue to run the ball over and through the Bills front line; Johnson rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns. The versatile Johnson was also a threat to catch passes and netted 100 yards on 9 receptions.
The true theme of this story, however, is one that has troubled the Bills this season – the inability to finish games. Edwards looked lost late in the game missing three consequitve throws, incloding a wide-open Terrell Owens. It was this series, Jauron explained, that led to Edwards being replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick.
“There was some good obviously, but some things that were missed,” Jauron explained regarding Trent’s play. “That’s why in the last three minutes we decided to get Ryan out there.” When asked if Edwards would start next Sunday Jauron was uncertain. “We’ll discuss it as we go along. I have to see the whole game too. Obviously from the field you can’t see everything that happens and you get after the fact you get information as the game goes on.”
We may have seen the beginning of the end of Owens’ “reformed” nature in this most recent loss. T.O. was clearly frustrated on the sidelines before being hit on a deep strike from Edwards which set up the Bills second touchdown. After the game Owens voiced his disappointement asking rhetorically, “Whats new? That’s how it been the last seven or eight weeks. We lose games in the third or the fourth quarter.”
Owens, of course, was referring to the two interceptions — one thrown by Edwards, the other by Fitzpatrick — returned for touchdowns in the last three minutes to put the nail in the proverbial coffin.
The Bills have certainly sealed their fate for this season, but it remains to be seen if this will simply be another team that rolls over and dies or one that continues to try to work out the kinks as the season goes on. While it is too late for a dream of snapping the playoff drought, I think Bills fans want to believe that this team can improve going forward and can translate the moments of brilliance into a full game’s worth of performance.