How much longer until T.O. tries to ruin Trent Edwards’ life?

Zero receptions, 0 yards, 0 touchdowns. That was the stat line for Terrell Owens in the Bills’ 27-7 loss to the Saints on Sunday.

For the season, T.O. has five catches for 98 yards and one touchdown, which are rather pedestrian numbers for one of the best receivers in the league.

Don’t think for a second that Owens is going to let this fly. He figured that when he signed with the Bills this offseason, that he would be the center of their offense. But so far, he isn’t even quarterback Trent Edwards’ fourth option in the passing game.

When asked about Edwards’ decision-making following the loss, T.O. said: “I don’t want to answer that, because whatever I say you guys are going to turn it into however you want to say it.”

Don’t worry T.O., because we can still read between the lines. You’re pissed off and don’t like the play calling. You don’t think Edwards is making wise decisions and you want to have a bigger role in the offense.

Eventually, Owens will say all of this himself. If Tony Romo couldn’t keep him happy, then Edwards sure as hell won’t. I don’t blame the Bills for taking a shot on him in the offseason (what did they have to lose?), but they’re about to see the real T.O. emerge soon if he continues to be a ghost in their offense.

As for the Saints, it was nice to see Pierre Thomas rush for 126 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. As long as he’s healthy, he needs to be a part of their offense, especially on a day where Drew Brees (16 of 29, 172 yards, 0 TDs) looked human.

Hopefully Sean Payton won’t shelve Thomas once Mike Bell is healthy again.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Patriots fortunate to be 1-0 as Bills choke

For 58 minutes of Monday night’s game between the Bills and Patriots, it appeared that New England was headed for a 0-1 start to the 2009 season. The Pats were dominating the Bills in every category except where it mattered most: The scoreboard.

But with just over two minutes remaining in the game, New England cut Buffalo’s lead to 24-19 after Tom Brady threw a bullet to tight end Ben Watson for an 18-yard touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Buffalo cornerback Leodis McKelvin (who played well defensively all night) foolishly decided to return the ball out of his end zone instead of taking a knee. He wound up fumbling and the Patriots recovered. Three plays later Brady again found Watson, this time on a 16-yard touchdown to give New England a 25-24 lead. (They would eventually win by that score.)

New England racked up 441 total yards of offense, including 368 passing yards. But this wasn’t your typical Patriot win in which they took control from the start and stepped on their opponent’s throat. Several times throughout the game, Brady looked uncomfortable on his newly repaired knee and New England’s defense looked befuddled by Buffalo’s no-huddle offense. If it weren’t for McKelvin’s fumble, the Patriots probably wouldn’t have walked out of Foxboro tonight with a win.

This loss doesn’t fall solely on McKelvin’s shoulders though. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell made several mistakes tonight, none bigger than switching to the prevent defense with under five minutes remaining. Instead of staying aggressive like he had been all night, Fewell went to a shell coverage and Brady picked the Bills apart.

And where was T.O. tonight? While Randy Moss was busy racking up 141 yards on 12 receptions, Owens totaled just 46 yards on two catches. He did make another grab, although he had to throw the defender down in order to make the catch and was called for pass interference. Granted, New England did a great job blanketing him all game, but he was non-existent. One would think that for as much as quarterback Trent Edwards scrambled out of the pocket that T.O. could have shaken loose from the defenders once or twice to make more catches.

The Bills let one get away tonight.

Ten NFL players facing make or break seasons

Training camp is still a month away but you don’t need daily reports from the grueling two-a-day sessions to see what players are going to have the heat turned up on them this season. I’ve complied a list of 10 players (in no particular order) who, not necessarily the same reasons, face make or break seasons in ’09.

1. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys
If Romo doesn’t get the Cowboys to the playoffs in 2009 will Jerry Jones look for other options at quarterback in 2010? No. But if you read between the lines, the Cowboys jettisoned Terrell Owens this offseason so that Romo will have every opportunity to be the team’s most influential leader and hopefully go from being a great quarterback to one of the elite. While it might not technically be a make or break season for Romo, his career is certainly at a crossroads. Romo’s numbers last year were solid – 3,448 yards, 26 TDs, 91.4 QB Rating – but his play faded over the last month of the season and the Cowboys imploded. Since then, Romo’s work ethic, offseason dedication and leadership skills have been questioned and it appears as though the QB’s career has come to a fork in the road. If he continues on the path his currently on, he might put up decent numbers and lead the Cowboys to the playoffs a couple more times before his days are done. That’s certainly not bad, but Jones and the rest of the Cowboy faithful want Romo to be extraordinary and if he completely dedicates himself to the game, maybe he can take this talented team to the next level. One thing’s for sure – with T.O. out of the way, this is now Romo’s team and it’s up to him where he and the Cowboys go from here.

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Trent Edwards wanted Bills to pursue T.O.

In his latest edition of “Monday Morning Quarterback”, Peter King writes that Trent Edwards wanted Bills’ chief operating office Russ Brandon to pursue Terrell Owens.

“How about T.O.?”

Bills chief operating office Russ Brandon woke up sometime after midnight Friday morning and noticed there was a text message on his cell phone. So he reached over and looked. It was from Trent
Edwards, the quarterback of the Bills. “How about T.O.?” That’s all it said.

Brandon shot back with this: “?”

“T.O. was released. Go get him,” Edwards texted back.

Brandon still seemed surprised when I spoke to him late Sunday. “I went back to sleep,” he said, “but I was stunned by it. The next morning, [coach] Dick Jauron and I talked, and he said, ‘I think it’s something we certainly should take a look at.’ I put a call into [owner] Ralph Wilson, and he said, ‘Absolutely look into it.”’

And that was it. The only team to seriously kick the tires on Owens got its man a day later for three major reasons:

1. The Bills think Jauron is the perfect coach — calm but commanding — to handle Mount Terrell.

2. The organization is sick of perpetually being one weapon away from catching New England (and Miami and the Jets, as it turns out), and it’s willing to take the risk of having Owens ruin the locker room so it can have a chance to win the division.

3. The Bills did the one-year deal for a fairly strategic reason, in my opinion. Owens is good when he’s trying to make a good first impression.

If Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo read this, they no doubt laughed at how naïve Edwards is when it comes to what T.O. brings to a locker room. But at least the Bills knew Edwards was completely on board when they decided to pursue Owens.

There’s no doubt that Buffalo could use T.O.’s talent, but Edwards is in for a rude awakening. There was a Monday night game that the Bills played last season against the Browns. In that game, Edwards was petrified to pass the ball more than 5-10 yards and settled for check downs to Marshawn Lynch instead of going downfield. That’s a game where T.O. would no doubt express his frustration in a dysfunctional manner. I don’t think the signing was bad (especially since the Bills only signed him to a one-year deal), but hopefully Edwards and Co. know what they’re getting into.

The race for the AFC West is a filthy mess of a situation

Mike ShanahanThat sound you just heard was the Denver Broncos’ season flushing down the toilet.

Following their embarrassing 30-23 loss to the Buffalo Bills at home on Sunday, the Broncos are now one loss away from losing their grip on the AFC West and sending the San Diego Chargers to the playoffs.

All the Broncos had to do was beat a struggling Bills team at home and they would win the AFC West. All they had to do was beat a quarterback in Trent Edwards that hadn’t played in three weeks and score more points on a team that was ready to get the season over weeks ago. And yet the Broncos couldn’t do it.

I guess a win for the Chargers next week would be justice served. The Ed Hochuli game sent San Diego into a massive tailspin and gave Denver momentum for what should have been a season in which they won the AFC West. But a win for the Chargers would be sweet revenge and with the way things have gone this year in the NFL, would anyone be surprised if San Diego beat Denver and went to the playoffs with an 8-8 record? It would be pathetic but so what? Maybe if Hochuli gets the call right in the first meeting between these two teams, the Chargers wouldn’t have collapsed.

The Chargers have all the momentum now, will be playing at home and have a bad taste in their mouths from their loss to Denver in Week 2. Personally, I think San Diego is a lock to win next week.

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