Yogi Berra said it best when he said it was like deja vu all over again. Last night's 29-27 loss to the Browns was as heartbreaking as last year's Monday night loss to the Cowboys. The problem is it was a heartbreaking defeat like so many others in the team history. In fact, I think I've used the same headline before. Homerun Throwback, last year's opener to Denver, the aforementioned Dallas game and of course the original Wide Right were all games that devastated the fans. I wasn't at last year's Monday nighter but being there yesterday left you wondering is it all worth it being a fan of this team?
I'll spare you all the details of the game since you've probably already read them or care not to. You know things aren't going your way when Phil Dawson kicks a career high 56 yard field goal and the almost always reliable Rian Lindell misses from 47 yards out, yes wide right, for the loss.
The truth is if Lindell had hit that kick like he has so many others, the Bills would have stolen that game. They needed to get off to a fast start and what do they do? Trent Edwards throws three interceptions in his first six passes. He looked like a scared rookie out there while his counterpart, Brady Quinn, looked more like a seasoned veteran in his second career start. Edwards had receivers open downfield all game long but never looked deep, he always looked for the dump off that is why Marshawn Lynch had a career high 10 catches and his first touchdown reception.
Lynch did it all with 177 yard total offense and his first 100 yard game. The Bills ran the ball for 186 yards and Edwards wasn't sacked once so the offensive line came to play. So why was the offense struggling so much? The blame squarely falls on Edwards who has backtracked so much I started screaming for J.P. Losman early in the game.
The coaching staff won't change quarterbacks since they are committed to Edwards and knows Losman is leaving at the end of the year anyway. Now that the playoffs are an unrealistic dream they might as well give Edwards the year to see if he can develop or if they have to start all over again like so many times before. When Edwards through the three first quarter picks I flashed back to a Monday night game during the Super Bowl years when Jim Kelly threw three interceptions in the first quarter against Cincinnati. The Bills went on and blew out the inferior opponent on that day. It just shows that this team is still looking for the next Jim Kelly.
Dick Jauron obviously didn't trust Edwards in this game and may have trusted Lindell too much. After another good kickoff return setup the Bills nicely for a potential winning field goal drive. They just kept it on the ground once getting in field goal range since they didn't want Edwards to take a sack or turn the ball over. That is fine since we are used to Lindell hitting the big kick but that will come back to haunt you sometimes and it did last night. Since when is a 47 yarder a chip shot into a slight wind? It wasn't in Super Bowl XXV and it wasn't last night as the same distance kick just went a bit too much to the right which was eerily similar to that other heartbreaking loss. That game was 18 years ago and we have seen a lot of heartbreak since. How much more can you take?
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Browns: