Quarterback Trent Edwards has gotten a lot of credit for the Buffalo Bills' five wins this season.
On Sunday, he accepted some of the blame for the Bills' 25-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
"What is frustrating is that we didn't play our best game," Edwards said. "I'd rather walk off that field today with us playing the best game we can and still losing that game. I'd feel a lot better right now."
Edwards completed 21 of 35 passes for 227 yards. Decent numbers, to be sure, but his day was clouded by an interception and two fumbles, one resulting in a safety. There were also some uncharacteristic errant throws.
Every quarterback has days like this. Edwards hasn't had many rough outings in his first two years, but Sunday was one of them.
"Yeah, I think it is partially that and partially you have to give a lot of credit to the Miami Dolphins," Edwards said. "I thought they came out with a great game plan and executed it from the first snap until the last snap. They were just ready to play, and I don't know if we were ready to play the entire game. We had spurts where we were clicking and then there were times where we were making mistakes."
Many of the mistakes were authored by Edwards.
His interception wasn't necessarily his fault because he had defensive lineman Randy Starks in his face and Starks also tipped the ball. But other miscues -- losing the ball on a quarterback sneak and a fumble in the end zone, the result of a sack -- were on Edwards.
"I can't reach the ball like that," Edwards said of the botched sneak. "I don't have a ton of experience with QB sneaking like that. It didn't really feel like we had gotten the first down and I was trying to get a little more of a push and felt I could reach it out a little bit. When I reached it out, they took it out of my hands. It's a learning experience that won't happen again."
On the sack that caused the fumble and safety, Edwards couldn't say that he held the ball too long but then admitted that he should have gotten rid of it sooner.
"I probably didn't do a good job of just feeling [the pass rush] and stepping up in the pocket," he said. "That's something I'll learn from, especially in that situation. Fourth quarter, in our own end zone, you can't make that mistake. That unfortunately was made and it probably cost us the game."
As Edwards pointed out, the Dolphins' defense made his job tougher. The Dolphins rushed two or three men and dropped everyone else into coverage.
That left Edwards with few open targets to throw to.
"When there's three or four guys on a route, you can do the math where it's two guys covering one of our receivers," he said. "It's harder to find guys down the field when you're only rushing three guys. You've got to go through your reads and get the ball to the open guy. And when they brought pressure, they really did a good job of covering up our receivers, our tight ends, our backs."
When the Dolphins brought pressure it was effective, too. Of course, the Bills gave Miami's pass rush plenty of opportunities. Buffalo was in a lot of passing situations, facing long yardage because of its inability to get much on first and second down.
The Bills converted only 4 of 14 third downs. Eight times they faced third-and-5 or longer. Eight times they had to give up possession. Both of the Dolphins' sacks came on third-and-long.
"It's tough," said Bills right tackle Langston Walker. "Trent's not Superman, even though he acts like it, sometimes, and plays like it. It's hard to get 10 or 11 yards with nine guys in the passing lanes."
In no way does this loss fall solely on Edwards' shoulders. The defense couldn't stop Miami's passing game and the Bills' offensive line had its struggles, too.
"I thought Trent did a good job under the circumstances," Walker said. "It's a team game. We all win and lose as a team. Trent will bounce back. He always does."