QB Controversy In Buffalo?

J.P. Losman (AP Photo)

Marv Levy admitted in the locker room following Buffalo's 17-14 victory over the New York Jets that quarterback controversies are a team's worst nightmare.

"It's the last thing anybody needs," the Bills general manager said.

Like it or not, the Bills might have one on their hands if rookie Trent Edwards keeps playing the way he did in completing 22 of 28 passes for 234 yards and the winning touchdown against the Jets on a fourth-and-goal play-action pass from the 1-yard-line.

"Although I miss coaching greatly, this is one for Dick Jauron, one for him that's not my call," said Levy, who knows that Jauron will have the dreaded quarterback controversy on his hands if Edwards plays well and/or beats undefeated Dallas on Monday night.

J.P. Losman is the team's starter, but he went down with a knee injury in the first series last week at New England and gave way to Edwards. Predictably, with almost no practice reps during the week, the rookie struggled against the tremendously talented Patriots.

However, with a full week of work and a game plan to operate, Edwards looked like a seasoned veteran against the less-than-daunting Jets.

"I think he handled himself very well," said wide receiver Lee Evans, who snapped out of his funk with six catches for 72 yards. "He came in, he delivered the ball accurately, he made the right reads and he managed the game. He made plays when he had to make plays. He converted some third downs and got us down the field."

Granted, Losman had tougher assignments playing against the Broncos and Steelers the first two weeks, but he was clearly struggling in all aspects, particularly with his accuracy. He threw for just 251 yards in those two games combined. Edwards was sharp against the Jets and had only five incompletions and one interception that came on a deep ball into the end zone when Jets CB Andre Dyson made a nice read and a nice recovery to pick off the pass.

"They told me they simplified the playbook tremendously, but it was very pleasing how well they executed what they had to do," Levy said, speaking of Edwards and the Buffalo offense, which came into the game ranked dead last in the NFL in yards and points. "It wasn't a blow-you-away performance, but it was very efficient."

Having lived through the divisive Rob Johnson-Doug Flutie soap opera a few years back, Bills owner Ralph Wilson doesn't want to hear about quarterback controversies.

"I don't know anything about that," he said. All he knows is that Edwards looked awfully impressive.

"How can I answer anything else but to say he was terrific," Wilson said of Edwards, who became the first Bills rookie quarterback to win in his first NFL start since Joe Ferguson in 1973. "That's up to Dick Jauron (who starts when Losman is healthy), but in training camp I liked this guy, and in minicamp I liked him. I thought he had a good chance, and today he showed it. I looked up there and he was 22 of 28; you can't do much better."

NOTES

--Bills coach Dick Jauron said he really didn't change his mind when he elected to pull his field-goal unit off the field and go for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter on a fourth-and-goal play. Originally, Jauron thought running back Marshawn Lynch had been stopped on the 2-yard-line, so he sent Rian Lindell into the game to try to extend Buffalo's lead to 10-7. He soon found out the ball was much closer, so that prompted him to send the offense back onto the field after a timeout. The move paid off when Trent Edwards threw a one-yard TD pass to Michael Gaines for what proved to be the winning points. "I was looking across the field at the marker on the far side and the marker looked to me like it was on the 2-yard-line," said Jauron. "So I said, 'kick the field goal' and then when time went by I said to someone on the phone 'that's fourth-and-two' and they said, 'No it's fourth and one-half (yard).' So when we took the timeout we said let's go for it if it's a half."

--Edwards turned in one of the finest performances ever by a Bills rookie quarterback. His 78.5 completion percentage was the best for a Bills rookie, and it was the eighth-best figure in team history. Edwards became the first rookie to start for the Bills since Todd Collins did so in 1995, and he became the first to win in his NFL debut for the Bills since Joe Ferguson did it in 1973. "Mentally and physically it was a lot harder than anything I've ever been through in football," said Edwards. "For all of the hard work and extra hours I put in from being the guy that was going to be in there at the start, it was something that was very, very enjoyable after the game."

--The Bills finally won a game, but their bad luck with injuries has continued. FS Jim Leonhard, who has been starting in place of Ko Simpson who broke his ankle in the first game, suffered a calf injury late in the fourth quarter. It looks as if he'll be out at least one game, which means Bryan Scott will likely start against Dallas. Backup LB Kevin Harrison, who was just re-signed this week after being cut after the preseason, suffered a knee injury on the opening kickoff and did not return to play. Jauron said it was probable that Harrison will be out for the year. And CB Ashton Youboty, who started in place of Jason Webster who went on injured reserve after Week 1, went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter and never returned. He could be out a couple weeks, Jauron said. Harrison would be Buffalo's eighth player to go on injured reserve. The good news is that Jauron indicated that injured LBs Coy Wire and Keith Ellison were both close to returning, and one or both may be ready for Dallas.

PLAYER NOTES

--TE Michael Gaines, one of the newest Bills, caught four passes, including the game-winning TD.
--CB Jabari Greer stepped in for injured Ashton Youboty and picked off a Chad Pennington pass in the fourth quarter that set up the Bills' winning touchdown.
--LB Angelo Crowell played a big role in limiting the Jets to 60 yards rushing as he was credited with a game-high 11 tackles.
--CB Terrence McGee had an unusually quiet day on kickoff returns as he averaged just 20 yards on three attempts, but he made his first interception since Dec. 24, 2005 and it sealed the victory with seconds left to play.
--DE Anthony Hargrove will be returning to the team this week after serving a four-game suspension for substance abuse that was meted out during training camp. The Bills sorely need depth at end, especially with top reserve Ryan Denney still out with a broken foot.

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