Consider both criteria met --- emphatically.
Buffalo (6-5) steamrolled Kansas City (1-10) Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, 54-31, in "embarrassing" fashion as one Chiefs player said. After accumulating eight interceptions in the Bills' last four losses, Edwards was flawless. Buffalo's second-year starter completed 24-of-32 passes for 273 yards with four total touchdowns (two rushing, two passing).
Six days after playing like he had a straight jacket on, Edwards had possibly the best game of his career. Especially under the pressure-full circumstances.
"I always try to be confident," Edwards said. "Even when I'm not, I try to act like I am. That's the position you have to be in."
Buffalo's 54 points were the most ever scored against Kansas City and the second-most in Bills history (in 1966, the Bills scored 58 against Miami).
Aided by five Chiefs turnovers, the Buffalo offense rediscovered its swagger. The unit totaled 27 first downs, 444 total yards and most importantly, Trent Edwards got back on track.
In a win stock-full of highlights, Edwards' first touchdown run was the turning point of the game – and possibly the season.
Out of timeouts with 15 seconds left in the half, Edwards rolled the dice at KC's 15-yard line. Looking to tack on some points to a 23-17 lead, Edwards was flushed left out of the pocket by Tamba Hali. Instead of safely flipping the ball out of bounds, he turned upfield for yardage, knowing a tackle would end the half. He went airborne – head first – at the three-yard line and smashed through three Chiefs players for the touchdown, conjuring memories of John Elway's "Helicopter" run in Super Bowl XXXII.
In the end zone, Edwards was mauled by Duke Preston and a host of teammates. This was the Edwards they wanted to fight for: a quarterback unafraid of failure.
"I think he played well," Lee Evans said. "He made some plays with his feet. He really showed some determination trying to get in the end zone. He played with more confidence and they gave us some looks where we could get the ball down the field a little bit."
Edwards was the antithesis of everything he's been the past four weeks. He didn't play scared, completing four passes beyond 20 yards (including a 51-yard beauty to Evans). He was careful with the football, finishing the game with zero turnovers for only the second time this season. And he finished his performance with a 121.0 quarterback rating – the highest single-game output in his 21-game career.
He had plenty of help too.
--- Lee Evans, one week after being held without a reception for the first time in 67 games, racked up 110 yards on five catches.
--- Josh Reed returned to the lineup after missing three games with an injury. Edwards hooked up with him five times for 50 yards.
--- Leodis McKelvin's freakish speed can apparently apply to defense as well. The rookie return phenom (he leads the NFL in kick return average), stepped in front of Mark Bradley to pick off a Tyler Thigpen pass and took the interception 64 yards to the end zone. McKelvin had another pickoff at the end of the first half to set up Edwards' touchdown run.
But this win was about Edwards. The last four weeks were a true testament that Buffalo will only go as far as its quarterback takes them. His inspired play Sunday – albeit against an inferior opponent – changed the lethargic attitude that had dragged the Bills down the past month.
With fans and media alike calling for his head - much like the days of Collins, Flutie, Johnson, Bledsoe, Holcomb and Losman - Edwards stepped up.
Now he needs to do it again.
Stay tuned to the BFR for game analysis all week…