Hall of Fame NFL Players

Trent Edwards, Joe Montana: Many Similarities

Trent Edwards and Joe Montana
Most people don’t like to rush to equate young NFL players with Hall of Famers of legendary status. Obviously, earning the rank of “legend of the game” takes many years of consistent production, and can not be applied to any player in his first or second year in the league. I would not presume to equate any such novice with any aforementioned Legend.

But I am shocked by the similar starts to their careers.

As I said, Joe Montana is a legend. I can’t say it enough. Every time I say his name it is like the pure definition of the word quarterback. They are synonymous. When I first began watching football games some 20 years ago, I quickly learned that Joe Montana was the king of his craft. With him under center, the 49ers were never out of the game, and were usually going to win the game. Precision passing, a great knowledge and understanding of the game, quick decision making, and cool, calm and collected demeanor. That was Joe Montana.

And it sounds a lot like how we describe Trent Edwards. Let’s take a look at just how similar they are.

Bill Walsh
The first thing that comes to mind is Montana’s former coach, the late Bill Walsh, has often been cited as commending Marv Levy and crew following their selection of the QB in the third round of the 2007 draft. Walsh knew that Edwards was something special, and he called up Levy to tell him so. The Bills had Edwards rated very high in the draft and were thrilled when they picked him up in the third round. Hearing Walsh’s endorsement of him as “the real deal” (or something to that effect) only further confirmed their selection.

Passing Style
I mentioned some of this above, but it bears repeating. As I have watched Trent this season, I’ve heard comparisons to a young Tom Brady. Brady was an unknown mid-late round draft pick who has obviously excelled. But I never quite bought that. Brady has a very different style. He has a slightly stronger arm and excels at the deep ball. Edwards can throw the deep ball, but that is not his strength.

It finally hit me a couple weeks ago. The closest match is Joe Montana. Montana was a very poised, confident, cool and collected leader on the field. His team was never out of it, and they believed he could bring them back. We see that already from Trent and his teammates. Montana didn’t have the great physical talents of Elway (rocket arm), Marino (lightning-quick release), or Kelly (toughness, grit, and strong arm) of his day, but he always made the perfect throw to the perfect guy.

On top of his decision making, Edwards has been right on the money with his passes. He throws a perfect pass to the perfect place for his perfect receiver. He completed 80% of his passes in one of the games this year, and for the season is completing 65.5% of his passes. Montana was also an incredibly accurate passer. He was consistently between 65 and 70% for much of his career. A lot of this is attributed to being able to read the defense quickly and correctly, but of course also a testament to the skill of the passer, throwing an accurate ball.

The Draft
Trent Edwards was projected by some as a late first-round choice. The Bills were shocked that he was still on the board when they were making their third-round selection in the 2007 draft. They had to take him, even though they weren’t planning to take a QB till the later rounds. Edwards was drafted in the third round of the 2007 draft at number 92 overall. Not too surprisingly, the Legend, Joe Montana was drafted by the 49ers in the third round of the 1979 draft, pick #82 overall.

Comeback Kings
This is perhaps the greatest similarity – and what alerted me to how much Edwards is looking like Montana. Joe Montana is known for connecting with Jerry Rice – a lot – and for winning Super Bowls, and for the things I mentioned above. But perhaps above all, he is known for engineering fourth quarter comebacks. And really, what better stat is there? Elway was great at this. And Montana was a master. He engineered 31 come from behind victories in his 16 year career, 26 of them as a 49er.

Trent Edwards has only started 13 games. Less than one full season. Thanks to trailing by one point at the start of the fourth quarter in yesterday’s game against the Rams, Edwards is credited with another fourth quarter comeback in his fledgling career. Actually, that makes five. FIVE. Not only is Edwards a fairly impressive 9-4 as a starter, he also has five 4th quarter comebacks under his belt. Well on his way to 31? Perhaps…

First Year as a Starter
This is where I am getting into speculation a bit, but bear with me.

Joe Montana played a few games in 1979 and 1980. In fact, his first 4th quarter come from behind win was in December of 1980, subbing for the starter, Steve DeBerg. His play that season solidified him as the starter for the coming season. San Francisco had been 2-14 in ’79, and then 6-10 in ’80 – definitely not impressive. But 1981 was coach Bill Walsh’s third season. He had been building the team in his image (much like Dick Jauron – currently in his third season – has done with the Bills) and they were poised to succeed under their new field commander.

Montana led the 49ers to an impressive 13-3 record that season. But it didn’t stop there. That team, which Montana was officially commanding for the first time, hosted the NFC Championship game against Dallas. Dallas had a lead with under five minutes to go in the game. Montana got the ball at the 1 yard line and engineered an 89-yard drive that culminated with “The Catch.”

A come-from-behind victory, taking his team to the Super Bowl. In his first season as the starter, in his coach’s third season with the team. They even went on to win the Super Bowl that season. Montana had pretty average numbers, but as always, got the job done, and got the W.

Edwards’ team is off to a 4-0 start, with three fourth quarter comebacks engineered by the poised, cool and collected, confident, unflappable quarterback. Could we possibly be seeing history repeating itself?

Bills fans certainly hope so!

Montana not only took his team to the Super Bowl – and won – his first year as the starter, but that really ushered in an era of dominance by Montana and the 49ers. They won four Super Bowls during his time there, and were a perennial force in the NFC.

It’s obviously too early to call Edwards a legend. Or even a legend-in-the-making. But you have to admit… he bears a striking resemblance to The Legend. The Legend’s coach saw something in this kid, too.

If Edwards is even close, Bills fans can look forward to great football for many years to come.


Bills-Rams – 10 Things I Think

4-0. Didn’t see that coming two months ago.

1. Resilient. I used that word last week, and it’s easily the best word to describe this team and how it plays. They just don’t give up. They’re not the best team in the league; they can’t dominate teams like the Cowboys. But they’ll stay in every play, and they’ll stay in the game. Teams have to be good for sixty minutes to beat the Bills, and no one has done that yet. The Rams came out charged up, ready to save their coach’s job and save their season. They couldn’t do it against the Bills for 60 minutes.

2. Last week’s slow start didn’t bother me. This week’s did. The first half the Bills looked very much like a team we saw a lot of last year – the 2007 Bills. Ineffective offense, bend, don’t break defense that was breaking just enough to let the other team get the lead. It was pretty disturbing to watch. Can’t keep winning playing like that.

And still, this team is doing what I hoped they would. Many fans were moaning about 2007, 30th in offense and 30th in defense. But I saw it differently. The Bills had a pretty good defense last year. Around the middle of the league in points allowed, the defense was losing games mostly because the offense couldn’t stay on the field or score. After the season, I said the offense needed to improve to just an average NFL offense, and with that help the defense would be fine. So where are the Bills after four games? The offense is an average offense, in total yards and points, and the defense is top ten in both categories. Poz and Simpson came back, and Stroud, Mitchell and Johnson showed up, all big differences this year. But the most important thing is that the offense is now an average NFL offense. It puts together drives and finishes them. That play allows the defense to rest, and it also inspires the defense to put up those late-game three-and-outs that strangle the opponent and give the ball back to the offense.

3. Offensive line? Hello? Are you guys there? Do you have something against Trent Edwards and Marshawn Lynch? Are you trying to toughen them up? Let me clue you in: They’re plenty tough enough. They don’t need to get pounded like that, week after week. This team can be good, but those guys in the backfield need your help. I guess the second half was better; Trent wasn’t constantly picking himself off the carpet. But please, let’s protect the passer a bit, and maybe give Marshawn a chance to get past the first wave of tacklers. That was painful to watch; I can only imagine how it felt for our young stars.

4. The defense seems to be giving up more yards each week, but still, the defense is winning football games for the Bills. Once again in the second half, they shut down the opposition, and this time they got the go-ahead score themselves. They made it tough for the Rams to pass in the second half, and they made it tough to run, too. Only 157 yards in the second half, no scores. The depth on defense is proving valuable, too. They survived with McGee going to the bench, they played well when Stroud was out, and Denney was a presence today. A good defensive showing. We could get used to this.

5. Steven Jackson is one heckuva ball carrier. I wanted to stop the game and give a trophy to someone every time we stopped him for no gain. Speed, power, shiftiness. Big-time weapon, worth every dollar he got for his holdout. The Bills stopped him enough to win the game, but it wasn’t easy. I’m glad the guy isn’t playing in our division.

6. Hardy showed he isn’t ready. He isn’t NFL-tough yet. He has to catch at least one of those balls. He has to want the ball and go get it. He seems to be waiting for the ball to come to him; he hasn’t gotten used to the fact that almost every time the ball is thrown to him in teh NFL, there’ll be contact before it arrives. He’ll get better, but he isn’t ready yet.

7. I’m not sure Leodis is ready, either. He wasn’t close to his man on many completions – in the vicinity, but not close like Terence is. And he (and Whitner) got themselves out of position on Jackson’s touchdown run. The hit and fumble recovery showed that Leodis can make plays. He is a talent, and with Terence going down, it was good to have him there to step in. His education will accelerate if Terence is misses some time.

8. We’ve seen Trent-to-Lee up the left sideline several times now this season. It’s time that teams understand that all Lee needs is a half step – Trent is going to put the ball where it needs to be, and Lee is going to catch it. If you single cover him out there, the Bills are going to take 30-40 yards or more.

9. This was one of those games we knew we were going to get from Trent – one of those games where he looked like a second-year quarterback. Most disturbing part was how often he threw into double coverage, and not just on the interception. He lost some of the discipline that has made him so effective up to now. He got his foot caught under Fowler’s foot. He ran into Marshawn on a handoff. He held on to the ball too long in the face of a tough blitz. All the things young (and struggling) QBs do in this league. It wasn’t the kind of performance a winning team needs. But he ended with decent numbers – passer rating of 81.6 and a W. He doesn’t panic – he stays with his game, he hangs in, and he makes plays. This was his first ugly game this season, and it won’t be the last, but if that’s as ugly as it gets, the Bills have themselves a quarterback.

10. I like Poz. He seems to be around the ball all the time. He’s a sure tackler. He isn’t a star yet, maybe never will be. But he’s good now, and he’s going to get better with experience. He seems to be getting better from week to week. It’s so nice to have a guy in the middle making plays again.

Two more takeaways for the Ball Burglar this week, and one for a score counts double. The Ball Burglar is on his way to another big season. Right now he’s paying more than $290 for every takeaway, every nickel from Bills fans around the country. Add your dollar to the Burglar’s bounty today at

So the big question for the coming week is this: Are the Jets that good, or are the Cardinals that bad? You didn’t have to be a Hall of Fame quarterback to find those open receivers. The Cards will be desperate for a win. Another tough road game for the resilient Bills.

Games Greg's Weekly Picks NFL

Greg’s NFL Week 4 Picks

I make weekly picks with the guys from Sports Talk Underground (site is currently down for some reason) and am currently in the middle of the pack, four games out of the lead. It’s fun to compete against other NFL fans, and actually does make the other (non-Bills) games a tad more interesting. At least, I am a bit more interested in the outcome of those.

Since I am doing that already, and making picks using the Pro Football Picks app at Facebook, I thought it would be fun to give a rundown of my weekly picks here, as well as a brief thought or two on each game, and why I picked who I picked.

Since it’s already 12:30 EST, I am just going to give my picks here below. Expect a more in-depth analysis next week. For now, here’s how I think Week 4 will go…

(my pick is bold)
Denver at Kansas City
Houston at Jacksonville
Cleveland at Cincinnati
Green Bay at Tampa Bay
Minnesota at Tennessee
San Francisco at New Orleans
Arizona at NY Jets
Atlanta at Carolina
Buffalo at St. Louis
San Diego at Oakland
Washington at Dallas
Philadelphia at Chicago
Baltimore at Pittsburgh

A few interesting games on the list there this week. I’ll be curious to see what happens in two very defensive games. Baltimore’s defense is doing great, but their offense is horrid. Pittsburgh got killed by Philly’s defense last week, but they should be able to beat a one-sided Baltimore team at home. Tennessee and Minnesota have to very, very solid defenses. The final score of this game could be 10-7! Should be a tough game for both.

Someone will have a victory (unless they tie!) in the state of Ohio after two 0-3 teams meet in Cincy. Washington at Dallas may be a tougher game than most think, being a division game, could be a hard-fought game.

And finally, will the Bills be able to blow out a team on the road?? Let’s hope so!

Go Bills!

Fun Website Updates

Bandwidth Exceeded!

Hey folks. I just discovered this morning that we had exceeded our bandwidth for! The site was blocked by an automated script that shuts us down if we ever go over. Ordinarily we do not, but apparently, traffic is UP. That’s fantastic! Thanks for visiting, and keep coming. I hope that this will not only be the place you can grab our weekly (or more) shows but also get some great content from other Bills fan/writers, and links to other great Bills stuff… just a fun place to stop by for Bills fans!

Don’t forget that we have a “promote” page here where you can get graphics to include on your own website, or maybe emails. We’ll get a little form up there soon where you can let a friend know about the Buffalo Bills Review right from that page.

Also, tons of “fun” stuff at the fun page. (The BBR Guys predictions, some crazy fun Bills-related songs, a fairly regularly updated poll, and much more.

So thanks for visiting, listening, and let’s keep it going!

Go Bills!


Just For Fun…

The boys and I had fun doing a little “simulation” on our old Tecmo Superbowl game (updated with “current” players) just to see what might happen in today’s game. I think that looks pretty accurate… 🙂

Terrence McGee had 3 INTs in the game, Marcus Stroud had 3 sacks, and you can see the offensive production above. Lynch also caught quite a few passes (including a TD).

The Rams only TD was a 94 yard catch and run by Holt on the last play of the game!

I’m really hoping for a blow out today… I know the Rams will be playing hard, but… let’s hope it goes something like this “simulation” above. 🙂

AFC East Bills History Current Bills

A Good QB Changes Everything

Trent Edwards, Buffalo BillsFollowing two straight fourth-quarter comebacks, the Buffalo Bills are alone atop the AFC East. All by themselves. That has not happened since week 13 of the 1996 NFL season. That is a long time.

We’ve heard the stats. The Bills are off to their fastest start since 1992. Not since that season has a Bills team started 3-0. And this week with the Bills facing the team who is arguably off to the worst start of all 32 NFL teams in 2008, most consider it a foregone conclusion that the Bills will be 4-0.

The last time the Bills started a season 4-0 was also 1992. Go back another year to find the last time a Bills team started the season with a 5-0 record. They lost their sixth game that year – the year after “Wide Right” – but went on to amass a 10-1 record, cruising to the AFC East crown and eventually, the AFC title.

But let’s go back just a couple years. 1988. The Bills were coming out of relative obscurity. Back to back 2-14 seasons, followed by a 4-12 season (which saw the arrival of new – and equally obscure – head coach, Marv Levy) followed by a meager 7-8 season. They had not made the playoffs for six straight seasons, but there seemed to be reason for hope.

A very talented young team was being put together. Largely around stars like Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, and even Andre Reed (from tiny Kutztown State university) and a rookie RB from Oklahoma State, Thurman Thomas. A blockbuster trade had brought LB Cornelius Bennett to town, inspiring more hope from the Buffalo faithful. There was certainly potential…

But it had been so long since there had been a real winner in Buffalo.

All of a sudden though, the wins began coming. 1-0. 2-0. 3-0. People began wondering about this “surprising” team from Buffalo. Robb Riddick kept jumping over the pile for a goal-line TD. Butch Rolle continued to fool everyone as Kelly would fake the handoff and toss the ball to a wide open (little used) TE. (Didn’t they watch the film? If Butch was on the field, he was going to get the TD!) A pretty solid offensive line, a QB who was showing he could will his team to win, a budding receiving star, and a scrappy defense – even a kicker who never missed. (32-33 FGs on the season, including an OT game winner that gave the Bills their first AFC East title in many long years.)

This team came out of nowhere to go 11-1, and grab the AFC East from their other four unsuspecting division rivals. And the rest of the NFL.

Flash forward to 2008.

This young, confident Bills team, being built around a young QB, a scrappy defense, a few solid veteran additions, a talented young RB – and even a kicker who never misses – has gotten out of the gates quickly. 1-0 after a blowout. 2-0 with a tough win on the road against a playoff contender. 3-0 following a sloppy performance, turned gutsy comeback. It looks like the sky is the limit for this young team, and it almost looks like we’re 20 years in the past… ready to do it all again!

And the thing that gives me more confidence about that is watching our QB manage his offense.

If you take a look around our division – which the Bills currently lead by one game – who else would you rather have at QB in the crunch? Now that Tom Brady is gone, the starting four AFC East QBs are: Edwards, Brett Favre, Chad Pennington, and Matt Cassel. Cassel has looked quite pedestrian, Favre has seemed at best out of step, and Pennington is… Pennington.

Edwards on the other hand has been incredibly accurate, completing 67% of his passes – and much higher in the 4th quarters of all three games. In the first game, late in the third quarter, Edwards sealed the victory with a 30 yard bullet to TE Robert Royal to quickly buoy the Bills from a 10 pt lead to a 24 point lead, and victory. In game number two, Edwards rallied a very tired and heat-exhausted Bills team to a 4 point victory from 6 points down on the road against a team who never loses when leading at home heading into the 4th quarter.

And last week, Edwards looked even more determined and capable as the Bills’ field general, picking apart the Raiders secondary in the 4th quarter, leading the Bills to score 17 points – even after the defense gave up a disheartening 84 yard TD catch and run by Johnnie Lee Higgins – giving the Bills the one-point victory at the final whistle.

Folks, what we have in Buffalo is a winning QB.

Cassel is not (yet) a winner. Favre has been, but is not looking like the Favre we have seen the past 16 NFL seasons. Pennington has never been a real winner. Edwards is looking like he is. And he’s only started 12 NFL games! He is now 8-4 as a starter, and perhaps his last three games have been his most impressive.

When Tom Brady went down, I said it was way too early to change your AFC East predictions based solely on the loss of one player. It is a team game. BUT… after Miami’s 38-13 drubbing of the Pats last week, and after two straight 4th quarter come-from-behind victories lead by Edwards, I am reconsidering. It still feels too early, but with a favorable schedule, and a QB who seems to have the confidence and the ability to rally his team to victory (and the apparent lack of that from the rest of the AFC East) I am truly beginning to believe.

I have said it many times actually. I believe this year is going to be much like that 1988 season. The Bills take most of the NFL world by surprise, and just keep winning. All the way to the AFC East title. Maybe – like 20 years ago – all the way to the AFC Championship game.

Maybe beyond.

We can’t know. That is a long way away. It is a long season. But for now, it’s fun to be in this Bills fan time warp. It was a pretty fun 6 years from 1988-1994. Maybe this time around, the Bills can finish it off with a big W. The biggest W this franchise has ever posted.

I don’t think it will happen in 2008… but, you just never know.

Bring on the Rams, and let’s keep this thing rolling!

Most statistical data was obtained from Some current stats also found at


Bills “For Real” or Just One Point Better Than the Raiders?

Marshawn Lynch is in for the TDThe question that seems to come up following yesterday’s exciting one-point, come-from-behind victory over the visiting Oakland Raiders seems to be, “Are the Bills for real, or did they just barely beat a really bad team?”

I can see both sides of this.

On the one hand, the Bills were heavily favored against the 1-1 Raiders. The Raiders were blown out by the Broncos in week one, but followed up with an impressive win over their even more hapless division foe, the Chiefs. Rolling up more than 300 yards rushing against any NFL team is nothing to sneeze at. However, the Bills were a fairly impressive 2-0, and figured to win big against a team in turmoil who had to travel all the way across the country to play this early game for them.

Much seemed to be against the 9-point underdog Raiders.

But, often being a clear underdog is more than sufficient motivation for an NFL team. The Raiders were confident following their win in KC, and they felt they could come into Buffalo and dictate the flow of the game with their strong defense and running game. They were pumped up by the notion that Buffalo – who has not been in the playoffs this millennium – were such heavy favorites.

They knew they could win, and they were going to.

From the start, the game couldn’t have been scripted better by the Raiders. The first kick was returned 69 yards to the Buffalo 30. Next play, Bills are called for a neutral zone infraction, giving the Raiders 1st and 5 at the 25. You can’t have a better start to a road game, especially against a heavy favorite.

The Raiders kept the field position advantage thanks to sloppy play by the Bills on offense and special teams. It started (but did not end) with that 69-yard return. Buffalo continued to have trouble covering punts and kicks. On offense, receivers were dropping passes (even Marshawn Lynch), players were fumbling (even Lee Evans), the offensive line was not blocking (Edwards was sacked 3 times in the first half), and committing drive-killing penalties.

In the second half the Bills improved their pass blocking, but the follies continued. Lee Evans was called for offensive pass interference (which he did not need to do to make the catch) and perhaps the most bone-headed play of the game, Roscoe Parrish fielded a punt inside his own endzone! He was tackled at the one yard line, and that led to a third-down interception of a Trent Edwards pass intended for Evans. There was some dispute (and an official review) of the call, but in the end, Oakland got the ball at the Buffalo 13, and scored their first TD of the day.

Only the defense performed admirably (even with the bad field position) only allowing Oakland ten total first downs, and holding them to 2 of 12 third down conversion attempts. The Raiders were in the red zone four times on Sunday, only scoring a TD once (when they got the ball at the 13). The Bills defense held the Raiders rushing attack to just 98 total yards, and one TD scored by QB JaMarcus Russell from the 1 yard line. Through the air, Oakland got 84 of its 149 yards on one play, which was about one-inch from being knocked down by LB Paul Posluszny.

This Team Knows How To Win

Facing a fourth quarter deficit for the second straight week, Trent Edwards (and the #5 defense in the NFL) rallied the team and looked determined to win. Despite sloppy play for the previous three quarters, Edwards and his receivers began carving up the Raiders defense. Josh Reed finished the day with 6 catches for 72 yards. Reed is now the third different leading receiver through three weeks for the Bills. And none of them are Lee Evans! Marshawn Lynch looked equally determined, running over opponents, lowering his head at the end of runs to add the exclamation point.

After the offense moved the ball down the field fairly easily to get within two points of the Raiders at 16-14, the defense figured they would continue the success they had been having against the Raiders offense. And for two plays, they did. The crowd was roaring, and the defense looked as determined as Lynch and Edwards to close out this game and post the “W”.

But on third down, Russell threaded the microscopic needle, and the speedy WR Johnnie Lee Higgins split the safeties and cruised for the TD, putting the Raiders very much back in control, leading by 9 points with 6:23 to go.

Interestingly, on that play, Donte Whitner showed his own determination by taking a penalty for his team. Whitner was trailing Higgins on the play, and when Higgins slowed down to “coast” into the end zone for the last 30 yards, he took exception and tackled Higgins 5 yards deep in the end zone. Higgins was flagged for taunting, and Whitner for unsportsmanlike conduct. However, the end result of the play may have been continued (furthered?) determination by the Bills to pull out the win.

Edwards and Co. took the field once more, and again moved the ball (seemingly) with ease. Edwards was on fire, and the Bills took only 2:20 to score on a great pass to Roscoe Parrish. The quarterback was hit hard and knocked down on the play by several Raiders, but delivered the ball perfectly for the TD.

The inspired defense this time forced a three-and-out, and the Bills offense showing poise, talent, determination and confidence marched down the field – even running out the last 30 seconds of the game – to kick the winning field goal on the last play of the game.

Many question why Raiders’ coach, Lane Kiffin, did not call either of his two remaining time outs in the final minute. Perhaps he was counting on Lindell missing his second FG attempt of the day? Perhaps he forgot how much time was left?

Perhaps he is trying to get fired?

For whatever reason, the end result was the Bills took complete control (except for the one play resulting in the long TD to Higgins) in the fourth quarter, and won the game.

Good Teams Win…

So far, through three weeks, the Bills have won three different ways. They beat the Seahawks by “going for the jugular” with a fake FG that started a quick 14-point surge in the third quarter of that game. They blew out a decent opponent. In week two, playing a hungry, talented Jacksonville team in their home-opener (in ridiculous heat) the Bills pulled off an impressive come-from-behind win. They won a tight game, on the road, against a good team. On Sunday, the Bills played a sloppy game against a team that was playing well, and lost in almost every category except on the score board. They won a game where they didn’t play their best.

Those are the marks of a good team.

Sunday proved to me that this Bills team is indeed for real. They have the talent. They have a good scheme/game plan. They have good coaches. And most of all, they are learning how to be winners, and they have the determination and the confidence to go out and get it done.

This week against an 0-3 team which has been outscored 38-3, 41-13, and 37-13 through three weeks, the Bills will need to stay focused as they could easily think that they could cruise to a big victory. This week may have helped refine that focus. Winners don’t often lose focus, and don’t often lose games.

And from what I have seen so far, this team is full of winners.


Bills-Raiders – 10 Things I Think

Three-and-oh for the first time since 1992. Please pardon the understatement, but things have changed.

1. Of course it’s a cliché, but clichés become clichés because they’re true. Good teams find ways to win when they aren’t playing very well. For three quarters against the Raiders, the Bills simply kept making mistakes. They looked like they could win, the fans thought they could win, but as the game was slowly going down the drain, it seemed like they would lose. Then the team that fans had thought they had, or hoped they had, showed up. And the Bills found a way to win. Outstanding win for a young football team.

On the post game interviews, I heard two special comments from players. In the fourth quarter, when the defense was on the bench, Stroud was telling everyone that championship football teams win games like this. When the offense was on the bench, Edwards was telling his team that the game was not over, that everyone needed to get ready. Gotta love it.

2. Of course it’s a cliché, but clichés become clichés because they’re true. To win a football game, a team has to win in two of the three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams. For three quarters against the Raiders, only the Bills defense was winning. In fact, a spectacular defensive performance was being wasted. Then, the offense that fans thought they had, or hoped they had, showed up. The defense and the offense won two phases, and that was that.

3. Driving home after the game I heard some guy from Scouts, Inc. talking about quarterbacks. He was asked what he thought about Trent Edwards. He said something like “I don’t think Edwards is a guy you can win with. I think he’s just a manager. He isn’t in a class with Cutler, etc.” Huh? I mean, huh? That guy must have been watching some of the other 1:00 games and just following the score.

Trent was workmanlike for three quarters, trying to avoid the toughest pass rush he’d seen so far this season. He had balls dropped. He threw a few bad passes. He was forced to throw some away. By halftime, Trent hadn’t played well, but he hadn’t hurt us, and the Bills were still in the game.

In the fourth quarter, Trent was everything you could want. He was getting better protection, and he was moving well in the pocket. He kept the team organized, getting the play call and getting the team to the line of scrimmage and in to the play efficiently. One play in the fourth quarter, two players joined the huddle late, just as the huddle was breaking, and Trent got everyone back into the huddle to be sure they all were on the same page. Another time Marshawn got in late, and Trent made sure Marshawn had the play before the snap count.

What was most impressive, when you look back on it, was that on those pass completions on three scoring drives, receivers weren’t making spectacular catches. Trent kept finding the open man and delivering completely catchable balls. He threw masterfully. He hit Reed repeatedly with balls Josh could do something with. He hit Roscoe perfectly, so that Roscoe could make the turn into the end zone. Hardy’s drop was right where the throw needed to be.

Trent Edwards is just a manager? Ten fourth-quarter points on the road to beat Jacksonville? Seventeen fourth-quarter points at home to beat the Raiders?

The guy is still learning, but – WOW!

4. I know he’s only in his second year, but Marshawn Lynch is one of the very best ball carriers in the clutch that I’ve ever seen. He must have had five carries yesterday (one on the shovel pass) either on third or fourth down or in the red zone when the Bills desperately needed the yardage. Marshawn got it every time. The guy will not quit until he gets what he needs. If you have a tape of the game, watch the shovel pass, the first touchdown, the second touchdown and a few of the third and short plays. The guy has unbelievable guts, heart and determination.

5. Sitting in the stadium, I saw no one who stood out on defense. And isn’t that the kind of defense we want to have? Look at the stats. EVERYONE had a lot of tackles. Look at the total yards. Take away the long touchdown pass, and what did the Raiders get? Nothing. Granted, the Raiders have decided that they can’t put the ball in Russell’s hands all day long, so their offense is a bit one-dimensional. Whatever. The Bills’ defense shut them down.

6. I liked Whitner’s penalty. Yes, it could have hurt the team, but winner’s need that attitude. They need pride in what they’re doing, and Whitner was showing his teammates and his fans that he has that pride. He’s a smart guy. It was a calculated move by a leader, calculated to show everyone what it takes. It said “I’m not afraid and I won’t back down.” I liked it. (May not have liked it so much if we had lost, I suppose, but we didn’t. In fact, that play may have helped the Bills win.)

7. The 12th Man was pretty quiet most the game. The offense and special teams certainly weren’t giving fans anything to yell about. But after the Lynch touchdown to get us to 16-14, the noise in the stadium was unbelievable. Maybe the loudest I’ve ever heard it. Easily as loud as the loudest noise at the Cowboys game last year. Stroud kept pumping his arms, pleading for more, and the crowd responded. Then the Raiders got the long TD, but no one thought it was over. As the defense returned, down 23-21, the noise came back. It was deafening. Russell had to be wondering what was going on. Magnificent.

8. The special teams got outplayed. The kickoff return to open the game, the missed field goal, and the punt run out of the end zone put the Bills in a hole each time. Their punter kept giving Roscoe deep, unreturnable balls.

*** Just like the special teams, the Ball Burglar barely showed up at the stadium yesterday. Not for lack of trying. Several times I saw defenders trying to strip balls, but it didn’t work. ***

*** Four takeaways on the season so far. People keep signing up. The Burglar is paying over $270 for every takeaway the Bills get; but if you want more takeaways, he’ll need to pay a lot more than that. Throw your buck or two into the kitty today. Go to, click on “Join” and sign up today. It’ll only take a couple of minutes, and you’ll be glad you did. ***

*** And watch these pages for an exciting announcement about the Burglar in the coming days. The Ball Burglar is on the move. ***

9. I haven’t seen an injury report, but I understand Langston Walker left the game at some point. I don’t know if he returned. I also didn’t see Darian Barnes in at fullback in the fourth quarter. That may have been because the Bills wanted Schouman, the better receiving threat, on the field when they lined up with a fullback. It would be a shame if Barnes were injured, because the guy made some spectacular runs. What a gamer.

10. The half-time was moving – unveiling Bruce’s name on the wall. Bruce spoke really nicely, from the heart. You could see in his face and hear in his voice how much his experience with the Bills fans meant to him. He was great. As I was leaving the stadium, filled with pride for my team and what they had just accomplished, I looked back and could see the Jumbotron. They were showing, for a few seconds each, short clips from the game, and it made me feel good. Then they froze a picture of Bruce on the screen, in his prime on the sidelines, in his blue (what we now call throwback) jersey, helmet off, big Bruce Smith smile, pointing his figure toward the camera, as if he were saying “Now, THAT’S what I’m talking about!” It was the perfect end to the afternoon.

There are no easy games in the NFL, expecially on the road. Enjoy the win, Bills, and then get ready for another battle this Sunday.

Players Videos

Not The Same Marshawn posted this video today. It’s Marshawn Lynch talking with the media. And it’s kinda sad. Lynch is not his jovial self. You can see he is very guarded. And just not the happy guy he usually is. At least in front of this camera, these mics. Hopefully it’s just that.

If it’s not, I miss the old Marshawn. Hope he comes back.

BBR Guys Events Fun

Greg will be Live Blogging at!

Quick news flash here… Earlier in the summer, the Buffalo News asked us to contribute to a new site they wanted to start this football season, They are featuring our podcast, as well as my (Greg’s) articles and even a couple live chat events.

One of those is a live blog during the game. I will be moderating a few of those, along with some other folks. The schedule for those has been announced, and here are the games I will be moderating (which includes THIS Sunday!):

  • 9/21 1:00pm vs Oakland
  • 10/26 1:00pm at Miami
  • (the Bills @ Miami… not me)

  • 11/9 1:00pm at Patriots

It looks like I’ll be there 30 min prior to kickoff, so come on over and add your comments to the mix. It’ll be just like the BBR Game Day chat room, except, not in the BBR Game Day chat room.

See ya there.