It feels awesome saying this:

The Buffalo Bills are 2-0.

They earned this record today by persevering in a hard fought game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In near 100 degree heat, Buffalo answered the question as to how good they really are after easily defeating the Seattle Seahawks last week. Now, two games in a row, the Bills have defeated a 2007 playoff contender.

I think that statement speaks for itself.

Brief game summary:

After the Jaguars opted to kick the ball instead of receive, the Bills started off strong by scoring on their opening drive, traveling 82 yards to the end zone in exactly seven minutes. Buffalo RB Marshawn Lynch scored on an 11 yard run to put the Bills on top 7-0 early in the game. The Jags responded with a field goal, and the Bills responded with one of their own. Then, when it looked as if the Jaguars would score with seconds left in the half, Jacksonville QB David Garrard was picked off by CB Terrence McGee in the end zone. The Bills would lead at the half 10-3, but the Jaguars responded in the third, tying the game on a Maurice Jones-Drew 2 yard TD run. Josh Scobee would tack on 6 more with two field goals (50,39) to put the Jaguars up 13-10 with six minutes left in the third quarter. This was the first time all season that the Bills trailed in a game. With just over four minutes left in the fourth, Trent Edwards showed some gusto by connecting with Lee Evans on a beautiful pass for 37 yards on 3rd and 6 to keep the Bills chances alive. Seconds later he found the rookie WR James Hardy in the end zone who made a spectacular stretching catch to tie the game. The extra point put the Bills up by 1. Buffalo sealed the deal when when the defense stood tall to get Buffalo the ball back with a little more than two minutes left in the game. Rian Lindell capitalized on the opportunity by making a 45 yard field goal with 24 seconds remaining to play.

Now the Bills sit at 2-0, tied for first place in the AFC East alongside the New England Patriots.

Some thoughts on the game:

-Before the opening kick off happened, the Jaguars made two head scratching moves. The first is that they opted to wear their dark jerseys, thus allowing the Bills to wear their white away uniforms. Why didn’t the Jags wear their lighter uniforms and force the Bills to don their darks considering the temperature was never lower than 90 degrees? Secondly, Jacksonville won the coin toss and elected to kick the ball off to the Bills. Buffalo made them pay for that decision with their flawless opening drive.

-Today was OT Jason Peters’ first game back from his hold out with the Bills, and I have to admit the guy I dubbed a ‘whiney baby’ last week showed that he is a valuable part of this team. Aside from the time where he let his man blow by him (which led to a Trent Edwards fumble), Peters did a commendable job protecting his QB. I’m glad to see he’s back and ready to play.

-LB Paul Posluszny is a monster on the field and reminds me of Bill Romanowski; Posluszny hits hard and looks mean doing it. After missing the last 13 games of the season last year with a broken forearm, it’s great to see him developing into the player we all hoped he would be.

-Last week I commented that Buffalo QB Trent Edwards needed to get more accurate with his passes if the Bills wanted to improve their game play. I’m glad to see he reads my blog! Edwards was 10/10 for 114 yards before throwing his first incompletion, and at the end of the day his stats were 20/25, 239 yards, 1 TD. Impressive for such a young guy playing against a formidable defense. Edwards’ best play of the game was when the Bills were trailing 10-16 with four minutes left to play and he hit WR Lee Evans for 37 yards on 3rd and 6 to give the Bills a chance at a comeback…

-James Hardy’s first career TD catch was one only he could have caught. The 2nd round pick, 6’5″, rookie WR out of Indiana made a spectacular toe line grab in the end zone to tie the game. Edwards tossed the ball so high that it looked difficult for even a stretching Hardy to come down with. The pass was for 7 yards and was reviewed before the 6 points were put on the board. After barely given a chance to play last week against Seattle, Hardy’s game winning TD catch should help him move up the depth chart. Let this guy play coach. He’s hungry. 

-Fred Jackson where did you come from?! Last season the Buffalo RB made some noise when Marshawn Lynch went out with an injury, but today he proved not only to be a formidable backup, he proved to be a valuable member of this young Bills team. Jackson, age 27, rushed for only 17 yards on 6 carries, but he was the top receiver of the day for Edwards with 7 receptions for 83 yards. Not only would he make catches, he would get large chunks of yards after the catch. Jackson and Lynch serve as a formidable duo in the two back set, and with his hands he is turning into a respected (and needed) weapon on this Bills offense.

-Props to the Jags O line. For being so beat up (four starters injured), they held their own and protected their QB from an aggressive Buffalo pass rush. They also did a superb job of keeping their former teammate, Marcus Stroud, from ever becoming a factor in the game as he registered 0 tackles on the day.

-I applaud head coach Dick Jauron and new offensive coordinator Turk Schonert, for staying aggressive the entire game. The Bills of the previous decade would have sat back and let the Jaguars dictate the game. That wasn’t the case today and it showed in the teams determination to win.

-The Bills proved today that they can win a game against a tough team without having any ‘big’ special teams play.

Some criticisms on today:

-The defense needs to seriously work on their tackling. This was a major flaw in the D last season, and there were too many close calls today. Far too often the Bills had Jacksonville RB’s Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor locked up in the backfield and they still managed to jet ahead for positive yardage. David Garrard also had a decent day on the ground, shifting and sneaking his way for 32 yards rushing. Despite the sloppy tackling, CB Ashton Youboty had some fantastic open field tackles. His most notable stop was during the Jaguars second last possession of the game. Youboty made a key open field tackle on Garrard to set up fourth down, forcing the Jags to punt the ball away with just under three minutes left to play. The Bills would capitalize with the possession, going on to score a final field goal to take a 4 point lead. Nice work Ashton, you’re showing why you were such a hyped up pick back in 2006. Keep it up.

-Unlike last week, the Bills burned themselves today with stupid penalties. Granted there were only 4 of them for a total of 40 penalized yards, but they all came at key times during the game. A block in the back negated a strong Roscoe Parrish punt return Buffalo’s second possession, and there were a lot of defensive penalties which aided the Jaguar’s on offense, keeping drives alive on 3rd down. The young Bills can’t allow their excitement to result in silly mistakes, and they need to get a grip, settle down, and mature as a team if they want to make a serious playoff run. 

Parting Wisdom:

For the first time since 1992, the Bills could go 3-0 if they defeat the 1-1 Oakland Raiders next week. After the Raiders, Buffalo takes on the St. Louis Rams (0-2) and the Arizona Cardinals (2-0) before heading into the bye week. Anyone can see that 5-0 is a very real possibility, and with the NY Jets and New England Patriots looking awful against each other today, the race is on for superiority in the AFC East. It’s an exciting time to be a Bills fan.

GO BILLS!!

 P.S. Why did Fred Jackson literally lie down on the ground during a kick off in the first half?… weird.

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