Who says Edwards can't play in the cold? (Associated Press)
Attention Buffalo Bills fans: remain skeptical if you wish, but Trent Edwards is back.
I know what you're thinking. "Well, it was just the Denver Broncos and their terrible defense." "Well, it was just one game." "Well, where was this two months ago?" All of these thoughts remain valid concerns - and the jury is clearly still out on Edwards as far as his future goes - but after watching J.P. Losman bumble and fumble his way into Gibran Hamdan's emergency quarterback position, I'll take any competency at the quarterback position that I can find. Folks, Edwards was more than competent yesterday.
Perhaps most importantly, however, Edwards answered a key question: yes, he can play - and play well - in freezing temperatures.
Yesterday's game in Denver was the second-coldest game played in Broncos franchise history. Let that one sink in a second. Denver has played some cold games in its storied history, and this one was trumped by just one other. That's cold. Edwards, who has been knocked for his shoddy play in cold, blustery weather, calmly completed 68 percent of his passes at 7.7 yards per attempt, threw a touchdown pass to rookie Steve Johnson, didn't turn the ball over once and proved his toughness by getting up after taking several vicious blows.
The strong performance in sub-zero wind chills was the first major step forward for Edwards that we've witnessed in nearly three months. Again, it's only one game, and if the Bills' fall from a 5-1 start taught us anything, it taught us to temper expectations. But even while learning from our past mistakes, it's hard to dilute the fact that Edwards answered several key questions yesterday. He can still make plays. He can play in the cold. He's still very tough under pressure. As Jerry Sullivan so eloquently put it this morning, Edwards' resurgence is something to be excited about. Just don't get too excited.
We talked late last week about whether or not Edwards can still be considered a cornerstone of the franchise. Let's just say that Edwards did nothing to hurt his chances in that department in yesterday's big win.
Oh yeah, and Sullivan? He still doesn't like Dick Jauron... and I'm sure he's not alone there.
Sully may not like Jauron, but Jauron's players clearly do. This quote from LB Kawika Mitchell - he of the key interception yesterday - says it all...
"Everybody reads the media and knows what's going on. So we just know he's been under a lot of heat. He takes good care of us. We wanted to win for ourselves and we really wanted to win for him."
Yesterday's hero? As we discussed yesterday, there were quite a few key performers, but the game-changer was very clearly Fred Jackson. With a "D" pained on his right cheek and a "III" on his left, Jackson shredded the Broncos yesterday, setting up Johnson's score and putting the game-winner in the paint himself. Marshawn Lynch is clearly this team's MVP, but Action Jackson is quite the player himself.
Only the Buffalo Bills can emerge from a game after surrendering over 500 yards of total offense to an opponent and deservedly be excited about their effort. Buffalo was shredded for over 200 yards in the first quarter alone, but several key stops in the fourth quarter sealed the win. It's been a long time since our defense has made the plays to seal a win. Good feeling.
Sal Maiorana at the D&C phrases it correctly when he says the Bills handed their fans a pleasantly unexpected Christmas gift. Well said, Sal.