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The 2007 Buffalo Bills season might very well be remembered for the many shortcomings and failures that seem to be plaguing the organization in the first decade of the two thousands. Whether it’s the laundry list of injuries – seventeen players on injured reserve by the end of the season? – including the life-threatening, paralyzing injury to TE Kevin Everett, or the many gaffes by the Bills coaching staff – there is plenty to forget from the Bills eighth straight season without a trip to the playoffs.
However, this season had it’s share of memorable moments as well.
Being the eternal optimist, and preferring to look at the sunny side of life, I thought it fitting to wrap up the third season of the Buffalo Bills Review with some favorite moments from the season that was. I can’t cover them all, but this is a pretty comprehensive list of the significant, the amazing, and the just plain fun plays and events from the season past for us Bills fans.
When the Bills selected Trent Edwards in the 2007 draft, I admit, I was perplexed. It was a good pick, and I did applaud the Bills for, if nothing else, landing a good backup that could benefit us (later) in a trade.
Boy was I wrong!
From the get go this guy was obviously better than we fans thought. He impressed in pre-season, but that’s just pre-season. He then got an early chance to show his stuff in maybe the worst situation imaginable – in New England, with very limited preparation going into the game.
This is where my list begins. Here are my Trent Edwards highlights from the 2007 season.
- On his first drive as an NFL QB – thrust into the game by an injury to the starter – Edwards moves a struggling offense efficiently and impressively against the vaunted New England Patriots. The Bills scored a TD on the drive and held what would become one of the only leads on the Patriots all year in their perfect 16-0 season.
- In Edwards first start in Week 4 at home against the NY Jets, he again moves the ball efficiently, and observers notice that there is something special about this kid. He just has “it”, people were saying. Apparently the coaches believed this as well as a normally conservative coaching staff elected to not only go for a TD on 4th down on the goal line, but to call a play-action, roll out pass to TE Michael Gaines. That play showed extreme confidence in the rookie, showed what Edwards is capable of, and showed that Losman was on his way out.
- In an emotionally charged game following the death of Washington Redskins’ safety Sean Taylor, the Bills were able to stay in the game against an obviously fired-up Redskins team. Very late in the game, with the Bills down only two points, Edwards needed to drive a good chunk of the field to even get his team in field goal range. Showing poise beyond his youth, Edwards moved the team, completing a perfect, laser pass to Josh Reed across the middle of the field, setting up a makeable 51-yard field goal attempt for his kicker, Rian Lindell. Clutch pass, perfect pass, Bills win.
- The hated Miami Dolphins were coming to Buffalo, in December… winless. It was a Bills fan’s dream. And Edwards did not disappoint. The rookie tossed up FOUR TD passes in the game, throwing three in the first half, and the fourth was a 70-yard bomb (in the snow!) to the speedy Lee Evans.
Aside from the surprise of our third round pick, Trent Edwards, there was the expected great play of our first round pick, Marshawn Lynch. He was the second running back taken in the draft – behind Adrian Peterson, in whom the Bills were also interested, and he did not at all disappoint!
Some Lynch highlights from the 2007 season include:
- In his very first game, on his very first NFL touchdown, fans in attendance at Ralph Wilson Stadium could tell that Lynch was something special. On a run off to the right side, Lynch showed his speed, his agility, his shiftiness, and most of all his POWER. He went into what he calls “Beast Mode” and literally carried three Denver Broncos several yards into the end zone. As Bills play-by-play voice, John Murphy exclaimed, “Marshawn Lynch would not be denied!” Great sign of things to come.
- In a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at The Ralph, Lynch not only dominated on the ground, posting the first 100 yard game of his career, he also passed for a touchdown! On a drive where he carried six straight plays to move the Bills into scoring range, the half-back option pass was the perfect call, and worked just like they drew it up! (Soon after throwing the TD pass, Lynch also ripped off a 50-plus yard TD run!
- Another GREAT example of “Beast Mode” was on the two-point conversion play following a hard-earned TD run against Miami which would tie the game up late in the fourth quarter, Lynch was hit hard by the Dolphins defender, and even knocked backwards. Always up for the challenge, Lynch twisted and turned and pushed and lunged forward into the end zone for the tying points. Lynch also drove the Bills into field goal range on the subsequent Bills possession – earning the final needed yards with a sprained ankle that would keep him out for the next three weeks. Pure Beast Mode!
- In his first game back after the injury, Lynch again faced the Dolphins and showed no sign of weakness in his ankle. Lynch rushed for 107 yards on his “bum” ankle. This was amazing enough by itself, but making the day even more fun was backup running back Fred Jackson rushing for 115 yards on the day! Two 100-yard rushers against the Dolphins. Nothing could be better!
Monday Night Football, October 8th – vs the 4-0 Dallas Cowboys
One of the more memorable games of the years was the Bills first Monday Night home game in something like thirteen years! The place was rockin’ like never before, and the Bills showed up to play against a team they seemed to be far outclassed by. And, in the end, Bills fans will remember the insanity of the final minutes that stole the victory from them, but the game did have its moments…
- On cocky young Dallas QB Tony Romo’s first pass, undrafted free agent WR-turned-FS, George Wilson, intercepts and returns the pass for a touchdown! That set the tone for one very wild evening at The Ralph, and was a career highlight for Mr. Wilson (that would be George…) as well I’m sure!
- Seeing Tony Romo so flustered as to throw FIVE picks and even fumble once – very Eli Manning… – was just simply a highlight of the year. I don’t care if the Bills lost the game, that was definitely a highlight. The Bills defense was opportunistic that night to say the least!
There were many more great memories from the 2007 season. They are a bit more random, so I’ll list them individually below in no particular order.
- Willis McGahee’s much-anticipated return to Buffalo was probably not what he hoped it would be. The Bills did allow him one drive on which he scored a 46-yard TD, as well as racked up over 70 yards (finished with 130-something, I believe). I’m still convinced he had enough friends left on the team that they let him have that one drive, just to be nice. 🙂 The rest of the day the Bills defense pretty much shut him down, and the Bills won 19-14.
- On his first punt return of the season, Roscoe Parrish took the ball 74 yards for the touchdown. The tiny return man would end up leading the league in punt-return average for the 2007 season!
- Late in the year, the Bills had a chance to still make the playoffs, but needed to beat the Giants and the Eagles to do that. They had the Giants at home, and took an early 14-0 lead! The Giants came back to tie the score, and appeared to be going for more until the defense stiffened and forced the Giants to decide whether to go from the one yard line, or kick the easy field goal. They chose to go for it, and on 4th down, John McCargo knifed his way through the Giants offensive line and made a HUGE tackle for a loss. Great play, great stand.
Kevin Everett Returns
My final – maybe favorite? – memory from the 2007 Buffalo Bills season is probably the best because it is fairy tale ending of one of the worst moments of the year. Yes, there were some ugly football moments, but the ugliest life moment happened on the opening kickoff of the second half of the first game. Kevin Everett made a crushing tackle on the Denver Broncos return man, and he never got up. The stadium was silent, and there was a giant knot in my stomach as I had seen the whole thing, and knew exactly what was going on.
Days went by and the reports were not good. Fractured vertebrae and definitely won’t play football again. Might not walk again. Might not live. Hit this young team hard. Very hard. I’m pretty sure it affected their performance in at least the next game.
But then the weeks went by and the reports improved. A lot! Incredibly, what was once life-threatening was turning into a miraculously speedy recovery! Reports began to circulate late in the season that Everett would actually return to Buffalo and walk out on the field for the Bills’ final home game against the Giants!
Well, there was no public appearance by the quiet Bills tight end. But, he did return to Buffalo. Perhaps his walking into the Bills locker room inspired the fast start the Bills saw that day, but whether it affected the play on the field, it certainly affected the players personally. It was the storybook ending to a rough, unprecedented injury-riddled season for the Buffalo Bills.
Whether you will remember the losing record, or the injuries, or any or all of the fun moments listed above, the 2007 Buffalo Bills season was certainly memorable. And with some impressive play by rookies and other unknown players, as well as many players who didn’t even really get a chance to play in the 2007 season, 2008 is looking promising for the Bills. With a few off-season moves, and a new offensive play caller, this back-to-back 7-9 team could surprise some folks next year. Could be impressive.
Could even make the playoffs?
But we get ahead of ourselves. Another season is in the books, time for a short break, and then the Bills start building for next season. For now, let’s just take a moment and enjoy the memories!