Jackson, Posluszny lead Bills to first win

Posted Nov. 15, 2010 @ 6:43 p.m.
Posted By Eli Kaberon

A week after he was almost non-existent in the Bills' offense, Fred Jackson carried Buffalo to their first victory of the season, a 14-12 win over the Lions in Week 10. The running back had season highs with 25 carries and 133 yards, establishing the run game in a game the team needed to win to avoid legitimate talk of a winless season.

Jackson also found the endzone twice, once rushing and another receiving. The team needed one of its playmakers to step up after WR Roscoe Parrish was placed on injured reserve earlier in the week, and the veteran running back stepped up big time. With 5.3 yards per rush to go along with his six receptions, Jackson carried the bulk of the load on offense. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the Bills' defense played its best game of the season, too.

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In the three games prior to the victory over the Lions, the Bills had come quite close to earning a win, but always seemed a find a way to fail at the end. Whether it be a fumble or interception or missed field goal or poor tackling, there was always something that halted the team from coming out on top.

That trend almost continued in Week 10, when some defensive breakdowns almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Up by eight with 3:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Bills pinned Detroit back at its own 12 after a Brian Moorman punt. Fourteen plays, 68 yards and 3:26 later, the Lions had the ball on the Buffalo 20 on 4th-and-2, needing a touchdown plus a two-point conversion to tie the game. Everyone at Ralph Wilson Stadium knew where the Lions where going to throw the ball. Everyone, apparently, except for the Bill defenders and coaches.

For some reason only known to defensive coordinator George Edwards, the Bills elected not to bracket Lions WR Calvin Johnson with multiple defenders. Instead, only ILB Paul Posluszny was guarding the stud wideout, and that's only if you count being three steps behind a player "guarding." Johnson caught the pass at the goal line wide open, giving the Lions a chance to tie the game with a two-point conversion.

In past weeks, the Bills would have collapsed, the Lions would have tied the game in regulation and then eventually pulled out a win in OT. But to Edwards' credit he called a perfect play on the conversion attempt, rushing only three defenders while dropping eight in coverage. Posluszny again shadowed Johnson, but this time with the help of a couple of teammates. Detroit QB Shaun Hill found no open players and ended up throwing a pass in the direction of TE Brandon Pettigrew that sailed five yards out of bounds in the back of the endzone.

Posluszny was all over the field the entire game, finishing with 13 tackles while also playing pass coverage on several plays. He almost was victimized on what would have been the most painful of the Bills' nine losses, but instead became the center of a defensive unit that clinched Buffalo's first victory of 2010.