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The Guardian Angel

Posted by Philip Saponara on November 18, 2008


Ralph Wilson Field, Home of the Buffalo Bills

Ralph Wilson Field, Home of the Buffalo Bills

 The Monday Night Football game between the Bills and the Browns was one that had two key points to it. If the Bills lost they would loose major ground in the playoff hunt and qiute possibly even be out of the race. If Cleveland won there would be no great change in how the rest of their season plays out because essentially they were out of the playoff chase even before it started. But a win for Cleveland would very well make Brady Quinn sleep soundly and it would show a bright future ahead of him. 

     Ill start with the Keys to success for the Bills then continue on with the Browns. I wrote the Keys to success minutes before kick off so at the end of the article we’ll see how I do.

     Bills: Well the Bills starting 5-1 on the season looked very promising. But the last three games for Trent and company have been absolute downfalls. Giving up absurdly amounts of points and letting the opposing defensive line throw Trent Edwards around like a rag doll. So going into this game I noticed something very important. In the last three games Marshawn Lynch [Buffalo’s RB] had less then 18 carries and ran for less than 50 yards. In the games that the Bills went 4-0, Lynch had 19+ carries for more than 50 yards. Its not that big of a changer but If your rushing game can get it done and beat up the defensive line then it will relive stress when they try to bring blitz packages on your quarterback. Another key to this game if the Bills would like to come out with a win would be, how much time can that offensive line hold the BIG bad line of the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland runs a 3-4, so their big… really big. Lead by their all-star multi-million dollar player Shaun Rodgers, the Browns defensive line brings a presence that honestly hasn’t done that much this year surprisingly. But the main factor in their failure to succeed is the others players surronding Rodgers. They are no-body’s and i am expecting for the Bills to use Lynch tonight to wear out that fat line of the Browns to relieve some pressure coming out f their pass rush. With that being said Trent Edwards will need to keep the ball in the hands of his go too receiver Lee Evans, the Browns secondary has been terrible against pass’s for more than 20 yards this year, expect Evans to burn a few Corners and bust out in this game. 

     Browns: The Browns go into this game with the mentality thinking about the 09-10 season. The team had surprising amounts of expectations coming into this season and they just straight up didn’t produce. Last year the Browns went 10-6 and Romeo Crennel barely held onto his job. The office of Cleveland started building for the future picking up Quinn in the 07 draft. The main reason why Quinn has yet to start a game up until the past weeks is because of Derek Anderson. Anderson showed promising skills at the end of the 07-08 season and he was guaranteed a position to play in the 08-09 season. With a fans thinking that they had a franchise quarterback under center they were pleased and rumors started to come out about having an improved season. This unfortunately did not happen. Much like the issue with Tavaris Jackson in Minnesota, Anderson performed below standards at the beginning of the year. With this being said watch Crennel to give Quinn a lot of crazy plays for him to throw a shootout game. Although weather could be an issue I don’t expect it to hurt the Browns being from Cleveland. The running game for the browns is not so great and they need to get Jamal Lewis warm if they want to keep the sticks moving on 3rd and short plays. One big problem that the offense for the Browns has had is dropped balls, a majority of these dropped balls come from Braylon Edwards the all-star Wide out for the Browns. Edwards is a big receiver that knows how to read defenses, he is agile, tall, strong……. but he has butterfingers. The guy has the highest percentage of dropped pass’s and you know that percentage is in the back of his head all game long. The trick here is how much will Kellen Winslow be able to help Quinn out becuase I don’t expect Edwards to stop his high percentage of dropped balls to decrease in this game. Last but not least for the Browns will be to see how resilient the rush defense and the pass defense will be against the Bills offensive line. Shaun Rodgers and company must step up tonight because their going against a tough Marshawn Lynch and if they would like to win this game they need to stop the big running back. 

      Prediction: Saying that the Browns have given up an average of 160.6 yards per game I gotta go with the Bills on this one. They are playing in Ralph Willson Stadium so there will be many shirtless fans in the 25 degree weather. I expect the ending score to be 20-13 Buffalo. Expect too see high amounts of yardage and multiple punts in this game, I dont expect either team to get a lot of scoring done tonight.     

 Now i’ll give you my in depth analysis after watching, and commentating the game.

     Starting from the first play off of scrimmage was the beginning of a long nightmare for Dick Jauron. Trent Edwards dropped back to pass and the ball was tipped at the line having K. Wimbley of the Cleveland Browns easily pick the ball up out of the air for an interception. Might I say that since the Bills lost their last three straight you would think that Trent would be playing for his job, and throwing a interception as his first action of duty on the field was not promising. But its ok because its only one…….. Brady Quin steps on the field and immedietlystarts to get zero protection from his offensive line. Might I add the the Bills play a 4-3 as opposed to the Browns playing a 3-4 in this game, mainly because Cleveland has guys on there defensive line the size of a small planet, the largest being there multi-million dollar player Shaun Rodgers. Any way were was I? Oh of course Brady and the pocket. Well to be totally honest in the first quarter i didnt see a pocket he was just scrambling or trying to throw the ball into double covered territory. The Bills show a valiant effort and stop the Browns and making Ole’ Romeo go three and out. Might I add if you don’t like drives that end in punts please dont continueon with this story because I got news for you, there’s more punting in this game than beers in the stadium. Okso Trent and company gets back on the field feeling good trying to get that bad taste of the last drive out of their mouth……. INTERCEPTED by A.Davis at the Cleveland 47. Alright so the conversation you would think Jauron and Trent would have on the sideline would be hostile but it actually wasn’t Jauron later told sources that “After the first few drives I was not upset at Edwards because the balls were tipped at the line and the interceptions weren’t his fault” Said Jauron. So Cleveland gets the ball and its time for Quinn to start doing some work. At the end of the drive they settle for the field goal which is not a terrible product out of the interception. The next drive Trent fights his urges to get a negative 100 passer rating and actually doesn’t throw an interception, instead they punt. This happens allot guys so im just going to skip ahead a bit. The Bills set up shop at their own 1 yard line. A couple of plays,  and everything seems fine. They’re moving until Trent Edwards throws yet again another interception, thats number three on the day by the way. This gives Crennel excellent field position, and allows Brady to find the end zone. Unfortunately for him, dropped passes and pocket protection were just not on his side today. The Browns yet again settle for 3. Jauron had a Guardian Angel on his side because he dodged a bullet, giving up three turnovers and only being down by 6 is very assuring. The Bills defense couldn’t get any better and going into the 2nd quarter the score was 6-0 Cleveland.

      The second quarter, saw Trent Edwards throw no interceptions, which was pleasureable, and the game was actually going some were. The Browns started the second quarter with a bang scoring on a drive that lasted 5:57 and went a duration of 97 yards. On the opposing drive the Bills also got something going but with a different attitude than the Browns. The second string running back Fred Jackson was given some running room and he broke a couple of tackles to put the Bills into Browns territory for the first time of the game. After a long duration of runs and throws, the Bills threw their first touchdown on the board. A drive that went 59 yards showed Trent Edwards was finally warming up and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

After a three and out from Cleveland the Bills started a run for a last minute drive before halftime. The result was a Field goal with :02 left in play. Going into halftime, the momentum was on the Bills side, but Brady Quinn still had the fire burning inside. 

The third and fourth quarters were both roller coaster rides to the end, starting with a punt from Cleveland, the Bills were ready to rock. Scoring before the half and getting the ball back after stopping Quinn with a three and out was a good sign for the Bills. Unfortunately, the drive was cut short by a Fumble recovered by Rubin of the Browns. The Browns were given a second chance and with time closing in, they scored a field goal to end the drive. The score was 16-10, and the Bills had to strike back with at least a field goal. After a nice drive and multiple first downs the Bills settled for a 31 yard field goal by Rian Lindell.

The start of the fourth quarter was tense and most of the players were getting worn out by each other’s rushing game, more so with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. At the start of the 4th quarter, I personally was getting sleepy until Harrison of the Browns broke a 73 yard run for a touchdown. Just when we thought it wasn’t enough, on the very next play the kick went back to McKelvin of the Bills, and after superb blocks and elusive runs, the Bills struck back with a 98 yard kick return for a touchdown. All of this happened within the first 27 seconds of the fourth quarter. Cleveland set up shop with 14:33 to go and the score 23-20. The game was as close as it had gotten all night. The Browns’ drive lasted only three minutes, but it resulted in a Phil Dawson 21 yard field goal. So with the Bills getting the ball back, Trent Edwards and Marshawn Lynch really had to take control of this ball game. The next two drives by both teams resulted in punts. Now with 5:13 left to play, the Bills made a run for the end zone and got a touchdown with a QB sneak by Edwards. The drive ended with 2:18 left to play, which was plenty of time for the Browns to march down the field to score. The drive started marvelously for the Browns. Quinn was showing poise in the pocket that he hadn’t shown in the past. With a couple of zips, the Browns were stopped. Phil Dawson came out to kick a 57 yard field goal, the longest of the game. With all breaths being held in Buffalo, the kick was up and good. 46 seconds left in the game the time was not on the Bills side and they were given just one more drive to win the game.

After multiple passes out of bounds, and sideline catches, Rian Lindell was in a situation to kick a 47 yard field goal for the win. With the world on his shoulders Lindell’s kick had the distance but was wide right. This gave the Browns the chance to win the game, and it gave Quinn his first ever chance to take a knee to end regulated time. 

The end of this game was surprising to me, and I personally thought that Quinn played superb and the Bills offense was way too one dimensional. Although Lynch had 19+ carries for 50+ yards the Bill were -4 in the turnover ratio and ill tell you one thing, you don’t win football games with a minimal passing game and 4 turnovers. The ending score out of Ralph Wilson Stadium Cleveland 29, Buffalo 27.


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