|Efficient Edwards has Bills off to 2-0 start|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 15 September 2008 21:31|
``OK, if I sit down?'' said Edwards, still sluggish and a little drained a day after playing in 90-degree temperatures during a 20-16 win at Jacksonville.
Sure, have a seat. You've earned it.
Just don't ask him to put his feet up.
``I wouldn't go that far. It's only Week 2,'' Edwards said, as the Bills prepare to host the Oakland Raiders (1-1) on Sunday.
Early as it might be, Edwards can be credited for helping Buffalo get off to its first 2-0 start in five years. The 2007 third-round pick out of Stanford has been resourceful, poised and efficient in showing he's capable of leading a revamped offense, and has looked nothing like the inconsistent rookie that stumbled down the stretch last year.
eflect is Edwards' sudden ability to produce in the clutch.
Despite the oppressive heat and facing a stingy defense, he capped the win over the Jaguars by engineering a nine-play, 74-yard drive that ended with a perfectly placed 7-yard touchdown pass to rookie James Hardy to provide the go-ahead points with 4 minutes left.
``'Encouraged' is a good way to describe it,'' Edwards said. ``But for me, personally, I still feel like we have a lot to prove. It's Week 2. It's nothing monumental.''
It just feels that way in a football-mad and win-starved community that's gone eight seasons without a playoff appearance - the longest stretch in franchise history. A win over the Raiders would mark the Bills' first 3-0 start since 1992, when the Jim Kelly-led team was enjoying its Super Bowl run.
The Bills revamped defense, anchored by the addition of veteran defensive tackle Marcus Stroud, has been dominating. The unit that finished 31st in the league by allowing 363 yards per game last year, has given up only 495 in two games, while producing seven sacks.
The offense entered the season a bigger question mark because of Edwards' lack of experience and whether first-year coordinator Turk Schonert would deliver on his objective to revive what had been a sputtering and unreliable unit.
was an important next step.
``It's just another step, but it's a good step because it was versus a tough defense, on the road, in adverse conditions, and we came from behind and won,'' offensive tackle Langston Walker said. ``It's a great confidence-booster.''
Edwards says the ability to win a game coming from behind provided the entire unit validation for the hard work it put in during practice.
``It was very important I think for myself and the other guys in the huddle in recognizing that we can do something like that,'' Edwards said. ``That gains a lot of momentum for this team and momentum for this season.''
Edwards was near-perfect in the fourth quarter, going 8-of-11 for 91 yards, and set up Hardy's touchdown by laying in a perfect pass to Lee Evans up the left sideline for a 37-yard gain to convert a third-and-6.
Evans is suddenly shedding his reputation for getting off to slow starts. Though he doesn't have a touchdown, the Bills' No. 1 receiver has eight catches - all for first downs - for a team-best 179 yards. That's 66 more than he had combined in his first five games last season.
It's no coincidence that Evans and Edwards spent part of the offseason working out at the receiver's home in south Florida.
``The mood is good around here,'' Evans said. ``Right now, we're starting to find our niche. Everybody's starting to get a little more confidence in what we're doing and believing in what we're doing.''