Tonight was the ﬁrst Buﬀalo Bills game to air on Monday Night Football since September 26, 1994. (You would be forgiven for not knowing this, even if you watched the game, since the announcers only mentioned it about ﬁfty billion times.) It was not their ﬁrst Monday night win, alas, despite the excitement of the game — which ended with a last-second ﬁeld goal by Dallas.
Final score: 25-24 — the only time the Cowboys led in the game.
The two interceptions run back for touchdowns and McGee’s punt return were just fun to watch. I was generally happy with the aggressive, let’s-actually-try-to-win-this-one playcalling by the coaching staﬀ, despite the dismal results on oﬀense — yards but no points, and too many stiﬂed drives. The electric feeling of the game was great and the fans were both loud and ever-present. While I’m sure the in-stadium home crowd was dejected, they did get to see a heck of a show. It’s just too bad that the Bills couldn’t pull a victory out along the way.
Oh, and while I agree that Edwards looked poised at quarterback — the television announcers wouldn’t stop talking about it — let’s not forget that the oﬀense was still responsible for only three points this week. The lack of oﬀensive production when it counted also appeared to lead to a worn-down Bills defense — the unit was simply on the ﬁeld for too long in the second half. I wouldn’t be surprised if fatigue contributed to giving up 9 points in the last 20 seconds.
The weather to the east of Ralph Wilson Stadium was oﬀ-and-on heavy rain punctuated by thunder and lightning. I was wondering if Orchard Park had the same weather, and if they’d be able to even play. They did, and lightning didn’t strike for the Bills. (Sorry, I couldn’t help it.)
The Buﬀalo Bills just beat the New York Jets 17-14 at home, securing the Bills’ ﬁrst victory of the season. It always feels good to win against the Jets; the only win I’ve personally experienced in Orchard Park was against them.
At 1-3, the Bills’ record is nothing to start a tickertape parade about. Still, given the adversity of so many injuries (including the well-publicized spinal injury to Kevin Everett, which dominated the regional news for days after it happened) on what already seemed to be a rebuilding team, it’s heartening to see enough stubbornness from this team to hold on until the end of a game. (This, in contrast, to the loss in week 1 to the Denver Broncos, where they held the lead for virtually the entire game but still lost with a second remaining.)
I think one contrast I noticed today compared to earlier games was how much the tight ends were involved. This resulted in the ﬁrst passing touchdown to a TE, as well as several catches. I also saw at least one formation where a TE was lined up as a split back. I was really frustrated because I didn’t see tight end involvement in the play calling in past weeks. Overall, the Bills did a much better job of spreading the oﬀense around.
Beyond that, the defense did a decent job. I believe they are pretty good in the ﬁrst half but get worn down with each successive quarter. They’ve followed this pattern every week.
Although I’m happy to see a win, I’m not looking forward to the inevitable calls for Trent Edwards to replace J.P. Losman at quarterback. It’s already starting on the postgame show. Jauron himself says, in his understated way, words to the eﬀect of, “No one’s job on the entire football team is secure. We’ll play who we want.”
Personally, I think the lackluster coaching was at fault for the lack of oﬀense, and J.P. Losman had a point in his post-game comments several weeks ago. (Didn’t Lee Evans also echo these same sentiments?) I don’t think he’s the most accurate passer or the most well-rounded quarterback, but I’m not out for his head or for him to be benched when he’s healthy. Oﬀ the ﬁeld, I also think he’s made a lot of good moves to become part of the Buﬀalo community.
Anyway, we’ll see what happens.