Edwards was good early and even better later, doing just enough to lead the Buffalo Bills to their best start in five years.
Edwards finished 20-of-25 passing for 239 yards and a touchdown—a perfect 7-yard toss to James Hardy in the fourth quarter—and the Bills beat the beleaguered Jacksonville Jaguars 20-16 on a steamy Sunday.
“Trent was really good, particularly when he had to be,” Bills coach Dick Jauron said. “(His play) was a huge part of the game. Not only did he take us down when he had to, but he also took us down in the midst of the heat. We don’t know how good he can be, but he gives us a chance.”
Buffalo last started 2-0 in 2003. The team finished 6-10 that season, but expects much different results this time around. And for good reason. The Bills manhandled Seattle last week and kept Jacksonville in check most of the game.
The Jaguars (0-2), meanwhile, are off to their worst start since 2003. They finished 5-11 that season, and could be in for another long year now.
“Losing two games isn’t the end of the world,” cornerback Drayton Florence said. “Obviously, you don’t want to start out 0-2. But the swagger’s not gone, the confidence isn’t gone, the expectations aren’t gone. We’ve just got to regroup and get this thing turned around before it gets ugly.”
The Jaguars looked like they would turn things around in the second half Sunday. Buffalo had just four offensive plays in the third quarter—a commanding 15 minutes for the Jags that gave them their first lead of the season.
Jacksonville took the second-half kickoff and drove 74 yards for a touchdown that tied the score at 10. Maurice Jones-Drew plunged in from 2 yards out, then the Jaguars recovered an onside kick that led to a field goal, the lead and all the momentum.
Edwards fumbled on the ensuing possession, giving the Jaguars good field position, and they tacked on a field goal that made it 16-10 early in the fourth.
Jacksonville looked as though it would hold on from there, especially since the defense had buckled down after a shaky start and since the sweltering, Florida late-summer heat seemed to be taking its toll on the Bills.
But the heat index of 93 degrees didn’t affect Edwards, who completed his first 10 passes and then saved two of his best throws for late in the game. Facing third-and-6 from the Jacksonville 44, Edwards hung in the pocket and threw a strike to Lee Evans that gained 37 yards. Edwards was even better on the next play, hooking up with second-round draft pick Hardy in the corner of the end zone.
“This is a big game for all the young guys,” Evans said. “Games like this early in the season help all season. It is a big, big game for the young guys.”
“It comes down to a couple of plays going our way,” receiver Matt Jones said. “We’ve got to make some plays when it’s time. These games are going to be close and really two or three plays decide the game. When you’ve got the opportunity to make a play, you’ve got to step up and make it.”
Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcus Stroud made a big play in his return to Jacksonville.
Stroud, who spent the last seven season with the Jaguars before getting traded to Buffalo in March, split two linemen late in the first half and tipped Garrard’s pass toward the end zone. Instead of a possible game-tying TD toss to Mike Walker, the ball was intercepted by Terrence McGee.
“You just can’t throw that pick,” Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. “We’re going to take a look in the end zone. If we like it, good. If not, it’s got to hit a guy with a beer cup there in the north end zone, knock the beer out of his hand and we’ll kick the field goal.” ^Notes: Edwards had a passer rating of 119.8. … Bills Pro Bowl LT Jason Peters, who missed all of the offseason and preseason in a contract holdout, started the game and split plays because of the heat and humidity. … Six of the eight games in the series have been decided by six points of less. … Jaguars LB Justin Durant (groin) left the game. … Buffalo’s Marshawn Lynch had 59 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Head to Head - Week 2
- Peyton Manning storms off Super Bowl field. Is he a poor sport?
- Manziel's ex-girlfriend says she lost some hearing in attack
- Manning spoils his fans again, walks off with a second title
- Record $132.5M bet on Super Bowl at Nevada sports books
- Budweiser didn't pay for Manning's post-Super Bowl shout out
- Super Bowl gets 111.9 million viewers, down from last year