Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills. 

On Sunday, the undefeated Bills rallied from a 14-6 deficit at the end of the first half to beat the St. Louis Rams at their home dome, 31-14. It was a great day to be a Bills fan.

The report card:

-Best Performance in a Losing Effort: Steven Jackson. The Rams star running back has been pretty quiet most of the season, but he made plenty of noise this past week. It all started when Jackson made his disgust known to the media of the Rams’ decision to bench QB Marc Bulger in favor of concussion man, Trent Green. Jackson made plenty of noise on the field yesterday as well, rushing for 110 yards and a TD in his best game of the season. He broke plenty of Bills tackles and was the first running back this year to reach the centennial mark against a tough Bills D. Thanks Steven for losing and still helping out my fantasy team!

-That’s A Shame Award: The Bills gave the Rams their first lead of the season with the score 7-3… It lasted less than 30 minutes.

-Pat On The Back Award: Bills head coach, Dick Jauron. With yesterday’s win, Jauron reaches the .500 mark with Buffalo. I like that. he deserves it. “If you’re asking me how I feel, I feel great. You know I’d take 4-0 over any other possibility we could be right now, absolutely. But we gotta keep going.” Bills nation agrees with you coach. 

-Biggest Disappointment: I wanted to see more hits on Trent Green. With only two sacks against him on the day, it wasn’t enough for sense memory to kick in on the QB who went down last season with a painful looking concussion. The Bills pass rush has been average at best this year, and needs to improve if the goose egg is to remain in the losses column.

-Most Drunk Award: Scott Linehan, the (former) Rams coach who as of this morning has found himself to be unemployed. Enjoy that whiskey on the rocks Scott. Enjoy it.

-Cool, But No Cigar Award: I commend Buffalo offensive coordinator, Turk Schonert, for calling numerous plays in which QB Trent Edwards passed the ball deep down field. This is something Bills fans have been wanting to see for years now, as former offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild rarely called deep passing plays. That wasn’t the case yesterday, but unfortunately, the Bills WR’s couldn’t come up with enough catches to make the play calling effective. 

-Biggest Head Scratcher: Why, after a 22 yard TD run by Fred Jackson, the Bills opted to kick the extra point as opposed to going for the two point conversion in order to tie the game. At the time Buffalo was down 14-6, the TD making the score 14-12. Initially the Bills went for two and made it, but the play was called back due to a Buffalo penalty. Coach Dick Jauron then opted to kick the extra point to make the score 14-13. I don’t get this call. Whether you make the two point conversion or not, you’re still down by a field goal but if you do make the conversion, the game is tied. I suppose it didn’t matter though as the Bills went on to kick the crap out of the Rams anyway.

-Performance Grades:

A: Jabari Greer. The CB had his first career NFL touchdown, which came in the form of a 33 yard interception return. The play couldn’t have happened at a better time as it gave the Bills the lead, and consequently the game winning score. Greer looked awesome on the play, avoiding a diving St. Louis offensive linemen as if to say, “No way fat man, I’m hitting pay dirt!”

B+: The Bills D. They stood tall against a star running back, a QB looking to make his way back into the league, and essentially a team who had nothing to lose. Despite their early struggles, the defense came up big in the second half by holding the Rams to zero points. Also, I give props to DT Marcus Stroud and CB Leodis McKelvin. Stroud was injured in the game but managed to tough it out as he continued to play, and McKelvin did a commendable job filling in for the injured Terrence McGee. Still, a better pass rush would be nice to see develop over the coming weeks. 

B: Josh Reed/Lee Evans. WR Josh Reed has become the ‘go to guy’ when a play goes wrong for the offense. When QB Trent Edwards’ inner monologue is a loud and clear “Oh Crap!,” he looks to Reed and Josh delivers. After a horrendous performance last week against the Raiders, Lee Evans rebounded with a solid ‘good’ game. Granted, Evans only had two catches on the day, but they were pretty ones. He caught a deep pass for 49 yards on the Bills first drive which led to a field goal, and then drove the dagger into the heart of St. Louis with his 39 yard TD catch to put the Bills up 28-14. I still await a breakout day for either of these two veteran players. 

C: Trent Edwards. The sophomore QB had his ‘worst’ game of the season going 15/25 for 197 yards with 1 TD, and 1 INT. The stats didn’t disappoint me so much as seeing Edwards sulking on the bench when the Bills were getting beat. That’s not the type of emotion I like to see emitting from my team captain, and it reminded me all too much of former starting QB, J.P. Losman. I don’t want to go down that road again, and I hope the end result of this game showed Edwards to not get down on himself when there is still time left on the clock.

D: James Hardy. The rookie WR had a chance to prove himself yesterday, starting in place of the injured Roscoe Parrish. Unfortunately the amazing game winning TD catch we saw against the Jaguars didn’t carry over to St. Louis as Hardy had a rough day. The rookie was getting a lot of looks from Trent Edwards early in the game, but he dropped everything and ended up with zero catches. Hopefully Hardy can shake this and become the receiver we all hoped he’d be on draft day.

F: Once again the big fat ‘F’ on the report card goes to the big fat OT, Jason Peters. For three weeks in a row, Peters has looked slow, out of shape, and not like the guy who was the only Bill voted into the Pro Bowl last season. He was called on holding during the Bills opening drive, negating a huge run by Marshawn Lynch in the red zone, turning a probable 7 points into only 3. Peters also had a false start called on him, which resulted in a Buffalo punt. Coach Jauron needs to get this guy in shape or off the field as he’s done nothing to help in the Bills perfect start to the season.

-Best Hit: Buffalo CB Leodis McKelvin on St. Louis WR Dane Looker. I’ll avoid the obvious pun on this and just say: Wow. After the hit, Looker tried to get to the sidelines, but couldn’t make it as he collapsed to his knees after taking a few steps. It took him more than 5 minutes to get off the field, and to top it off, Looker fumbled and McKelvin recovered. Awesome. 

-Best Sight to Behold: The entire 4th quarter. Apparently, the 4th quarter is when the Bills decide to turn it on and go for the win. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; The 2008 Buffalo Bills remind me of the 2005-2006 Buffalo Sabres. Like that squad of Sabres, this years Bills are young, fast, hungry, not predicted by anybody to go anywhere, and they turn it on when they have to, finding ways to win. To note, the Sabres started out that season 10-0…

-Best Fact: There were 25 unanswered points scored by the Bills in the second half.

-Best Quote: “We’ve really picked up one another. You know, the offense finished the game strong last week. We got those two big scores this week in the fourth quarter, so really it’s been a team thing. Nobody’s really blamed anybody for any downtime or anything like that. We really stuck together. That means a lot, man, [and] it’s going to pay off in the long run.” – Bills LB, Kawika Mitchell

-The Final Word: The Bills sit at first place in the AFC East at 4-0 and travel to Arizona this week to take on the 2-2 Cardinals. Yesterday Arizona lost one of their top receivers in Anquan Boldin who had to be carried off the field on a stretcher. I hope he’s okay, but this should be favorable for Buffalo as the Cardinals offense would be greatly affected with the loss of Boldin. Come next Sunday night, the Bills should be 5-0 heading into their bye week.

Billieve.

I’m trying something different this week with my Bills game analysis; A quick report card on the 3-0 Buffalo Bills 24-23 come back win against the 1-2 Oakland Raiders on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Here she is:

-Best Speech: Bruce Smith’s acceptance speech of becoming the 25th player to be inducted onto the sacred Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame. It was the best most rehearsed speech I have ever heard.  

-Most Confusing Speech: Ralph Wilson’s introduction of Bruce Smith. With an average of 15 seconds between words, Wilson’s six sentence speech took too damn long to follow. I don’t think anyone knew what the hell he was saying. 

-Best Performance in a Losing Effort: Sebastian Janikowski. The Raiders kicker played an excellent game against Bobby April’s elite special teams unit. Twice Janikowski kicked the ball into the end zone, not allowing the dazzling Buffalo special teamers do their thing. In fact, the Bills special teams units were essentially a non factor, being held to 9 punt return yards and an average of 25 yards per kick off return. Oh yeah, Janikowski is also 6/6 on field goals this year. Good for him.

-Unexplainable Feeling Award: For some reason whenever the Bills wear their retro throwback uniforms, as they did on Sunday, I get this sinking feeling in my gut that they’ll lose. I understand it makes no sense, and I’m obviously overjoyed to know that I was wrong this time around, but it happens every time they don those specs. The same thing happens to me when the Sabres wear their throwback sweater. Freaks me out.

-Biggest Head Scratcher: When with 2:29 left to play in the game Raiders coach Lane Kiffin never called a time out when the Bills were driving to steal the game away. Kiffin didn’t even try to ice Lindell on the game deciding kick. That seemed very odd to me.

-Most Drunk Award: The 12th Man. As expected we did our job and were loud. I love feeling like a part of the team. 

-Best Hit: When Donte Whitner popped Johnnie Lee Higgins in the end zone for taunting his way in for an 84 yard TD catch. I say good for Donte. It wasn’t a vicious hit and Higgins was acting like a piece of crap so I’m okay with it.

-Performance Grades:

A: Trent Edwards. Gotta hand it to the guy. After being rushed, hurried, and hit all day long (thanks Jason Peters!) and having a less than stellar game entering the fourth quarter, Edwards hung in there. He was a vocal leader, rallying his troops and bringing them to victory. His stats on the day were 24/39 279 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. In only 12 games with the NFL, Trent Edwards is developing faster than we Bills fans could have hoped and it’s an awesome thing to behold. 

B+: Rian Lindell. Even though he missed a crucial-at-the-time 46 yarder, Lindell redeemed himself by making the 38 yard game winning kick as time expired. I remember when Bills fans would be nervous for kicks like these, but now they all feel like gimmies when Lindell is booting the ball. I love this guy and he’s come a long way since he first came to Buffalo in 2003. 

B-: The Bills Defense. They performed when they had to, recording a sack and forcing a fumble from JaMarcus Russell, all while standing tall in a frustrating first half. Still, the unit had their moments of getting burned, such as on the ground game. Granted the D held the Raiders to 98 rush yards as well as a 2/12 3rd down conversion ratio. This is a great stat considering the week before Oakland rushed for over 300 yards against the Chiefs. Still, they gave up some big plays. Most notably with just over six minutes left in the game on 3rd and 10, Russell managed to get the ball to WR Johnnie Lee Higgins who showboated his jackass self 84 yards into the end zone to put Oakland up 23-14. The 12th Man hadn’t been louder all day than on that play and the D blew their coverage. If the Oakland Raiders were the San Diego Chargers (or any other team for that matter), the end result of this game may not have been so joyous for Bills fans after giving up a play like that. But who knows. Props to Marcus Stroud for making the Jills look bad. He was getting the crowd pumped up all day long. I love that in a player. The defense also held Russell to 9/19 156 yards, 1 TD. Not bad, but they still need to improve on their tackling!

C+: Josh Reed. It’s nice to see this guy develop. I remember him dropping 50 yard passes when he was wide open back in the day. But all that is in the past. Reed is a great slot receiver and has cleansed his hands of the butter and grease that he had them doused in early in his career. On Sunday Reed was Edwards’ #1 receiver having 6 catches for 72 yards, breaking tackles and picking up extra yards after the catch. He gets only a C+ because Bills nation is still eagerly looking forward to seeing Reed bust loose.

D: Lee Evans. This game was one of the worst of his career. He allowed big-mouthed-ex-Falcon DeAngelo Hall to strip the ball from him which led to Oakland points. Evans also fumbled and had a costly offensive pass interference call, which was unneccessarry. I don’t mean to dump on the guy too harshly, but a bad day is a bad day. We’re still waiting from last season for Lee to make the breakout plays that electrifyed crowds back in 2006. Hopefully a weak Rams team can help with that in week 4.

F: Jason Peters. He missed all of training camp, preseason, and the home opener. Two weeks in a row Peters has let his man get by him, resulting in an Edwards fumble and points for the opposing team. To quote: “In another week I’ll be back to 100 percent every play, getting ready to go… It’s physical. Just getting my body in shape. The mental part comes.” Hmmm… maybe he should have gone to work this summer with the rest of the team and gotten in shape. Playing as yourself in Madden ’09 on your X-Box 360 while smoking a bowl with a bag of Doritos by your side does not count as “knowing all the plays,” Jason.  

-Biggest Disappointment: I’ve been to both Bills home games so far and I have yet to see a man leap from the stands and attempt to run from end zone to end zone while dodging security. This saddens me.

-Best Sight to Behold: Seeing the en masse of Raiders fans who showed up in their ridiculous looking Mad Max-S & M-KISS-wannabe-suits (there thousands upon thousands of them!) go home to the West Coast wondering how the holy heck their team blew this one.

-Best Pro Analysis: Vic Carucci of http://www.nfl.com puts the Bills at 4th place in his Power Rankings after week 3: “Should have been easier vs. the Raiders, but Trent Edwards showed once again that he knows when to rise to the occasion.” Yes it is true, Carucci does live in WNY.

-Best Fact: I was eight years old the last time the Buffalo Bills were 3-0 back in 1992. It’s nice to be excited again.

-Final Word: The Bills take on the 0-3 St. Louis Rams this week in St. Louis. A win here would be huge as their next opponent is the inconsistent 2-1 Arizona Cardinals in Arizona. It’s easy to think that Buffalo could be 5-0 heading into their bye week. Here’s to hoping.

Billieve.