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Offense emphatically returns as Bills bury Chiefs

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McKelvin, Bills make big plays in big W (Associated Press)

The Buffalo Bills ended a four-game losing streak with a 54-31 road victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

In a game that resembled conventional Bills football in no sense of the phrase, QB Trent Edwards scored four touchdowns, CB Leodis McKelvin picked off two Tyler Thigpen passes and returned one for a score, and the Bills forced five turnovers in a much-needed victory.  The Bills needed most of the 54 points they put up, however, as Buffalo's defense struggled to tackle and gave up plenty of big plays to the Chiefs.

Offense clicks... finally
That was the offense that Buffalo Rumblings has been calling for over the past month.  The Bills successfully established the run early, with Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson keeping the game close early.  Lynch finished with 104 total yards and the team's first touchdown, while Jackson added 76 yards as well.

With the run established, the Bills started running the play-action, and the simplified offensive attack worked wonders for Trent Edwards.  In a confidence-boosting performance for Buffalo's young signal-caller - roughed up during the four-game losing streak - Edwards completed 24 of 32 passes (75%) for 273 yards and two scores.  He added two more touchdowns on scrambles, as he finished the game with 38 rushing yards on 6 carries.  Edwards' QB rating?  120.9.  It's amazing what a competent game plan (and a not-so-competent defense) can do for you.

Everything worked for Buffalo's offense today.  Perhaps the most gratifying moment was when WR Josh Reed, who missed the last three weeks with ankle and Achilles injuries, caught his first TD pass since December 17 of 2006.  It's been a long time coming for Reed.  Lee Evans (5 receptions, 110  yards) and the tight ends (a combined 7 catches, 68 yards and 1 TD) were factors as well.  Capping off the success offensively was the fact that much-maligned head coach Dick Jauron ordered up two offensive plays on 4th and 1 early in the game, the first of which led to a touchdown run by Lynch.

Defense lucky that the O woke up
Set aside the five turnovers (two McKelvin picks and fumble recoveries by Marcus Stroud, George Wilson and Derek Schouman).  Set aside McKelvin's 64-yard pick-six.  (Well, don't.  McKelvin looked like a superstar today.)  It's true that Buffalo played most of this game with a big lead, but Buffalo's defense wasn't close to good on this day.

Kansas City gained 462 yards on the day.  Buffalo couldn't tackle to save their lives, Kawika Mitchell in particular.  Larry Johnson ran for 81 yards on just 7 carries, and Chiefs quarterbacks threw for four scores (3 from Thigpen, one from Quinn Gray in "garbage time").  It's great that the team came up with big plays defensively, but they gave up too many as well.  The D was not impressive early, surrendering touchdowns on two of Kansas City's first three drives, and needed all the help from the offense it could get.

In the end, the poor performance defensively didn't matter, as the Bills scored more points than they had in 17 years.  But if you feel the need to nit-pick, this is the area to concentrate on.

Game Balls
Two of these are going to be obvious.  One might not be.

QB Trent Edwards - I know a few of you will say "it's just the Chiefs", but this game is exactly what Edwards needed for his confidence.  He threw the ball downfield, he was more accurate than he's been in recent weeks, and he looked like a leader again.  This was a huge game for Trent.

CB Leodis McKelvin - All that "bust" talk?  It can now officially be thrown out the window; chalk his early struggles up to transitioning from Troy to the big leagues.  This kid is a monster.  Two picks, the pick-six and a 46-yard kickoff return to open the second half made him the most electrifying player on the field.

LB Blake Costanzo - Buffalo's special teams were once again outstanding.  At one point, I wondered which specialist to give this game ball to.  Costanzo was an easy choice; he was in on just about every special teams stop today.  I love the unsung hero, and Costanzo is that guy today.

Roll Call
A big "good on you" to the 22 folks who dropped by today's game thread.  As is usual, norcaliangelsfan out-nerded the rest of us with a whopping 211 comments.  The 22 folks:

ccthemovieman, WABillsfan, norcaliangelsfan, thatguy455, jj24, Brian Galliford, keuka121, taskersd, kaisertown, Cinga, Joe P., StuckInNJ, jdol1568, D.O., silverstreak3k, spavery, moncheri, NJBillsfan, dontuan, BenAllen, Tatunka, Kurupt, BILLS

I don't care what the nay-sayers come up with this week about our opponent.  It just feels GREAT to win again.


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