Bills remain upbeat despite familiar offensive dud

BY foxsports • September 14, 2010

Trent Edwards sees no reason to be discouraged after the Buffalo Bills' offense opened the season with an all-too-familiar dud.

''It's only Week 1,'' the Bills quarterback said Monday, a day after Buffalo's supposed new-look attack produced a mere 166 yards in a 15-10 loss to Miami.

Buffalo's anemic output has lasted for seven seasons - and counting - during which the Bills' offense has finished no better than 25th in the NFL in yards gained.

Edwards, a fourth-year player who reclaimed the starting job he lost midway through last season, didn't see it that way, and refused to get drawn into answering questions about the past.

''I know you guys are trying to find a way to bring it back to last year,'' Edwards said, pointing to reporters gathered around his locker. ''Last year doesn't really cross my mind, and we're on to a new year.''

The new year in Buffalo is off to a rough start for a team that spent much of the preseason raising expectations that its offense just might have found a spark under new coach Chan Gailey and the presence of rookie first-round pick, running back C.J. Spiller. Last month, the Bills starters produced five touchdowns, with Spiller using his dynamic speed to score three of them.

None of that potential materialized against a retooled Dolphins defense that forced six three-and-outs and limited Buffalo to nine first downs - matching a season low set twice last year. It would've been even more dreadful if not for Edwards using a hurry-up offense to engineer an 85-yard touchdown drive capped by a 31-yard pass to Roscoe Parrish with five minutes left.

Spiller was held in check, managing 6 yards rushing on seven carries, while the Bills running attack as a whole produced a mere 50 yards.

The 166 yards of offense were the fewest the Bills had since managing 163 in a 16-3 loss against Miami on Dec. 7, 2008; and fewest of any of the 28 teams that opened their season prior to the two games Monday night.

''Obviously, it didn't go as we planned - and that would be an understatement,'' said Gailey, who was hired in January in part because of his reputation for being an offensive innovator. ''And that's mostly my fault.''

Gailey, who also doubles as offensive coordinator, said he probably put too much into his playbook for his offense to digest. He intends to ''get back to basics'' as the Bills prepared to travel to play Green Bay on Sunday.

Gailey then shared a message he delivered to his players earlier in the day of how things will get better.

''I know where we want to go, and we've got a plan to get there,'' he said. ''I told the players, `I don't know if it's going to take two games, five games, eight games. I don't know how many it's going to take, but we're going to get there.'''

The Bills' offense remains a work in progress with a patchwork line that had difficulty protecting Edwards. He was sacked three times and pressured on numerous other occasions. The offense was also beset by penalties, including two holding calls that moved Buffalo back from facing a potential second-and-4 at the Dolphins 45 to third-and-29 at the Bills 30 midway through the third quarter.

As for Spiller's inability to deliver, Gailey chalked that up to rookie jitters. He said the player proved too impatient in trying to force runs rather than waiting for them to develop.

''He's got worlds of ability,'' Gailey said. ''We just have to slow him down a little bit and get him patient in reading things and seeing things.''

Spiller agreed with his coach's assessment.

''I let a couple runs get away from me,'' Spiller said. ''I was trying to play too fast, but that just comes with getting adjusted. And now I've got a good understanding of what it will be like.''

As frustrating as it might have been, veteran receiver Lee Evans remained hopeful.

''It's not cause for panic right now. There's a lot of good things on that tape, but obviously, we made some mistakes,'' Evans said. ''We have high expectations for ourselves. We expected to play well, and we didn't. So we'll be better in the future.''

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