Wednesday, November 19, 2008
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QB Edwards' latest meltdown has Bills reeling

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[November 19, 2008]  ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- It wasn't that long ago when Trent Edwards was reminding anyone who cared to listen about not getting too carried away with the Buffalo Bills' hot start because there was still a lot left to the season.

InsuranceThe second-year quarterback was speaking from experience following his days at Stanford, when the Cardinal would raise hopes with a few early season wins before falling apart.

Little did Edwards realize at the time how right he would be; or fathom how far his own performance would drop.

Some two months later, the Bills (5-5) have lost four straight and five of six to go from first to worst in the AFC East following a 29-27 loss to Cleveland on Monday night.

It's been no better for Edwards, whose latest meltdown had him throwing three interceptions on his first six attempts, digging the Bills too deep a hole in a game that was decided on Phil Dawson's career-long 56-yard field goal with 1:39 remaining.

With eight interceptions to go along with two fumbles and a safety in his past four games, Edwards has unraveled at such a rapid pace that he's beginning to second-guess himself.

"You start seeing things that you're not really seeing, and you're doing things that you're not normally used to doing," Edwards said after the game. "Right now, I don't really have any good answers."

He had better find some quickly, because the Bills have left themselves with little room for error if they intend to snap an eight-year playoff drought, already the longest in franchise history.

The Bills were given Tuesday off before they return to practice on Wednesday in preparation for a game at Kansas City on Sunday.

Though, Edwards is taking the brunt of criticism for the Bills' free fall, his job is considered secure for the foreseeable future.

It's unlikely the Bills will make a switch because backup J.P. Losman is considered a short-term fix. Losman is in the final year of his contract and not expected to re-sign with Buffalo this offseason because he's unhappy over losing the starting job twice in his previous three seasons.

Coach Dick Jauron continued to provide a certain amount of leeway for Edwards, the 2007 third-round pick who took over the starting job midway through his rookie season last year. But Jauron did wonder how much this slump is affecting the quarterback's confidence.

"I would say that for a young quarterback, it's got to affect you when things start to slide a little bit and go downhill," Jauron said. "I think that he's a terrific player. I think he's just going to get better and better as we move on. We have to live through some of these issues."

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Issues might be an understatement, considering how easy a time the Browns had in catching Edwards' passes.

Edwards' first attempt was batted by defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, who was triple-teamed at the line of scrimmage. The ball floated into the hands of linebacker Kamerion Wimbley.

The next interception came when Edwards attempted to hit James Hardy over the middle only to have linebacker Andra Davis reach back and catch the pass.

Interception No. 3 came on a third-and-1 at the Bills 10, when Edwards never looked away from tight end Robert Royal, allowing cornerback Brandon McDonald to easily jump in front of the pass.

Credit the Bills' defense for limiting the Browns to three field goals off four turnovers, including a lost fumble by running back Fred Jackson. But it's becoming apparent that Buffalo's defenders aren't happy with the additional work.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams twice noted the turnovers as cause for concern following the game. Williams did add that the defense also wasn't generating enough turnovers of its own -- having managed just three takeaways (two fumbles and an interception) in the past four games.

"The bad thing about it is, the games that we've lost, we played terrible, giving the ball away, not taking it away, not making the plays when we need to," Williams said. "It's frustrating for everybody. It's frustrating to watch."

[Associated Press; By JOHN WAWROW]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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