Weekly Feature

2008-01-02 / Sports

Dreadful offense held back Bills all season

by MATT KRUEGER Reporter

Quarterback Trent Edwards says Buffalo's offense will be better in 2008 and will rebound from one of the worst offensive seasons in franchise history. Quarterback Trent Edwards says Buffalo's offense will be better in 2008 and will rebound from one of the worst offensive seasons in franchise history. Flip-flopping of quarterbacks, conservative play calling, numerous injuries, inexperience and who know what other factors all conspired to produce one of the Bills most futile offensive seasons in franchise history.

Yes, 2007 will be remembered as the year Buffalo could have gone to the playoffs if it had anything resembling a productive offense.

The Bills finished at 7-9 for the second year in a row, but with a few points here and there, four of those losses could have gone the other way. Buffalo managed just nine points against the Philadelphia Eagles in a 17-9 loss in the season finale. That followed up close losses to the Denver Broncos, 15-14, Dallas Cowboys, 25-24, Cleveland Browns, 8-0. In those four games, Buffalo's offense scored just one touchdown and 10 points.

You could also add the New York Giants to the list of could-have-had wins. In the Bills' 38-21 loss in Week 16, New York scored 14 points off of interception returns.

"We've been close," said receiver Lee Evans, who finished the year with 55 receptions for 849 yards and five touchdowns. "We've been close and I think it just takes a little bit more. I think a lot of the losses that we've had, the close to playoff appearances are just a matter of inconsistency. And I think the faster that you can get consistent the more success that you'll have. I believe we have the pieces and we just have to put it all together and that starts from the top down to the bottom. And when you get moving on that type of road, moving on that type of train you'll get yourself a chance."

The Bills' offense scored just 20 touchdowns all season. That's the worst record for the team in a 16-game schedule, breaking the previous mark of 22 in 1985. The team ranked 30th in the league with 277.1 yards and 15.8 points per game.

"It's very disappointing, but I think we have a lot of players in this locker room that are going to find a lot of motivation in that and this offseason, that there's a lot of things we need to improve on," said quarterback Trent Edwards, who threw for 1,630 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions while splitting starts with J.P. Losman. "But the way those last three games went I think it said a lot about our team and where we need to change some things. And I think some guys are going to have that fresh in their memory to use once the end of March comes around when we're back in here we can use that, be able to look at those three games and make some changes."

The beginning of Buffalo's quest to recharge the offense will begin with the search for a new offensive coordinator. Steve Fairchild, who received much criticism this year for a perceived lack of imagination in play-calling, is gone to coach at Colorado State University. His replacement will inherit an offense that produced a 1,000-yard rusher in rookie Marshawn Lynch (1,115 yards and seven touchdowns on 280 carries), but lacked cohesion.

"For us I would just like to see offensively, from an offensive coordinator standpoint, bringing in somebody that's knowledgeable about the game, that's a smart offensive coordinator that can use the talent that we have on this team," Evans said. "I think that's really what you look for. We obviously have a lot of weapons, a lot of people who can make plays, so getting people involved, getting the guy that could come in and maximize everybody's potential, (is what we need)."

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