|Bills stay in playoff race with dramatic win over Washington|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 03 December 2007 09:56|
Buffalo (6-6) has overcome devastating injuries, instability at quarterback, the second-worst offense in the league and the third-worst defense. And despite losing their opening three games and four of the first five, the Bills find themselves just a game behind Cleveland and Tennessee in the race for the final playoff slot.
With a game against winless Miami this Sunday followed by a matchup in Cleveland, Buffalo has a legitimate opportunity to end a seven-year playoff drought.
``You've got to believe or else nobody else will,'' coach Dick Jauron said Monday, a day after Rian Lindell's 36-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining beat Washington. ``As a group we've had faith.''
The numbers are staggering: The Bills have allowed nearly 1,000 more passing yards than they've accumulated with the quarterback carousel of rookie Trent Edwards and J.P. Losman. They've also been outscored by 90 points overall, allowed opponents to convert nearly 50 percent of their third downs - worst in the league - and have mustered only 188 first downs on offense.
Still, Buffalo continues to plod forward.
``It's a credit to our guys,'' Jauron said. ``They've just hung in there. Our players play hard and with a lot of heart.''
Sunday's last-gasp win epitomized the season. The Redskins outplayed Buffalo for most of the game and led 16-14 with under a minute to go after limiting the Bills to just four field goals and a safety. But Edwards' key 30-yard completion to Josh Reed with 8 seconds remaining began a bizarre chain of events that led to Lindell's winning field goal.
His initial attempt from 51 yards split the uprights, but was nullified because Washington coach Joe Gibbs called a timeout just before the snap. Gibbs then illegally called another time-out to ice Lindell, and the Redskins were flagged for a 15-yard penalty.
Lindell calmly booted the winner in steady rain.
``I believe that they believed they would win that game,'' Jauron said. ``They did enough things to win it.''
Edwards, meanwhile, improved to 4-1 as a starter by engineering the first fourth-quarter comeback of his career.
``The significance of it is greater because he hasn't done it before,'' Jauron said. ``This should help him as we move on. He doesn't seem to rattle and he likes being out there.''
The Bills also got a big contribution from Fred Jackson, a former Division III running back who spent all of last year on Buffalo's practice squad. He finished with 82 yards rushing and his 54-yard reception late in the fourth quarter helped set up Lindell's field goal that cut the deficit to 16-14 with just over 3 minutes to go.
Even though Jauron knows his team needs to get better in order to be one of the 12 teams still playing in January, he's not betting against it.
``We can certainly improve, and we'll need to,'' Jauron said. ``But I feel real good about our guys.''
Notes: DE Copeland Bryan sustained a knee injury against Washington and will be evaluated over the next two days. ... RB Marshawn Lynch's severely sprained left ankle is improving, but Jauron didn't indicate whether the rookie will be ready to play after missing the last three games. ``We're hopeful, but I don't want to overstep it right now,'' Jauron said. ... Lindell has made 17 consecutive field goal attempts, tying Steve Christie for the franchise record. ... The Bills had three sacks against Washington after coming in with only 10 sacks the first 11 games.