Buffalo picked up their 2nd win off the foot of Rian Lindell. The Ravens drop to 4-3 going into the bye week with Kyle Boller still at the helm to give QB Steve McNairâ€™s bad back a rest.
Buffalo may have gotten the win over the Ravens on Sunday but their offensive performance will definitely not strike fear into the hearts of their opponents. 12 of the Bills 19 points came on Rian Lindell field goals of 29, 26, 35 and 41 yards after their offense sputtered on four out of five scoring drives in the red zone. The single touchdown they did manage came primarily on the strength of a 54 yard bomb from rookie QB Trent Edwards to Lee Evans, the 4th year wide receiver from Wisconsin. That late third quarter pass set Buffalo up with a first down at the Ravens 17. Five plays later, running back Marshawn Lynch was finally able to take it across the goal line and give Buffalo a 19-7 lead.
In fairness the Bills did make some smart decisions on offense. They often went without a huddle thus preventing the Ravens defense from substituting personnel, and they also used a good mix of passing and running plays. But they got a lot of help from the Ravens defense as well who picked up 7 penalties for 62 yards, the most costly being a defensive pass interference call in the corner of the end zone on Ravens cornerback Corey Ivy that gave the Bills a first down on the 1 yard line and set up their only touchdown of the day.
Kyle Boller couldnâ€™t get Baltimoreâ€™s offense airborne although he never really seemed to take a chance on airing the ball out for big gains. The running game was adequate however with RB Willis McGahee rushing for a seasonâ€™s best 114 yards on 19 carries â€“ he is now second in the league in rushing with 639 yards, second only to Vikings RB Adrian Peterson. It was McGaheeâ€™s first game playing against his former teammates since he was traded by Buffalo to the Ravens in the off season. “I left and it wasn’t on a good note,” Willis said this week “So they’re going to be a little upset.” Quite an understatement. Much furor surrounded McGaheeâ€™s return in response to some particularly nasty parting comments about Buffalo for whom he was a first round draft choice in 2003.
In the end it was not enough for Baltimore. The Bills much maligned defense, dead last in the league in yards per game allowed before this match managed to stuff the Ravens on 9 out of 11 drives. The only real momentum for the Ravens offense came when they opened the second half with an 80 yard drive that was capped off with Willis McGaheeâ€™s 46 yard touchdown run. They did score another touchdown but it was an easy set up by cornerback Samari Rolle who got his first interception of the year, picking off Edwards at the Buffalo 14 midway through the 4th quarter.
A positive season for the Bills from here on out will probably need to use the defense as itâ€™s foundation. Although they trailed the league in yards allowed per game, they run nearer to the middle of the pack in points per game allowed with around 20. But Trent Edwards and the Bills offense will have to step up and score 20 or more points every game in order to keep the Bills in contention.
Keep practicing Rian â€“ thatâ€™s a lot of field goals.