Posted: Sunday November 13, 2005 6:41PM; Updated: Sunday November 13, 2005 7:00PM
J.P. Losman completed 9 of 16 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
CHARLOTTE -- This time will be different, goes the thinking, slash, hope, in Buffalo.
This time, after spending four weeks of reflection on the bench, J.P. Losman will be up to the task if the Bills give him back his starting job.
It's very early to know if he'll have a second act, but some observers in Buffalo believe if the Bills go that direction, they'll get a calmer, less scattered version of the quarterback who went 1-3 and looked lost as a starter earlier this season.
Losman, who replaced the injured Kelly Holcomb late in the second quarter against Kansas City, gave Buffalo a spark with two quick touchdown passes to receiver Lee Evans (33 and 29 yards) in the Bills' 14-3 defeat of the Chiefs. Losman finished an efficient 9-of-16 for 137 yards, two TDs and no interceptions.
"He'll let the game come to him more this time,'' said a Bills team source. "He's a kid who tries so hard to make something happen that it works against him. But he'll do better with this chance. He'll be more effective. He's ready for this.''
Then again, he can't do a lot worse, can he? Holcomb completed just 47.9 percent of his passes in the season's first four weeks, with a 55.9 quarterback rating, one touchdown, two interceptions and just two completions of 20 yards or more. In his last three starts, Losman threw for 113, 75 and 75 yards, and his number of completions decreased in each of his four starts.
Go for it, Mike Mularkey. Your Bills are 4-5, a game behind first-place New England (5-4) in the AFC, and Holcomb can take you only so far to begin with. It's time to find out what you have in the confident kid you drafted out of Tulane in the first round in 2004. Give Losman the ball back and don't look back.
Let me be among those saying helmets off to Bears Pro Bowl middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, for being out front and leading the blocking on that epic Nathan Vasher 108-yard touchdown return of a missed Joe Nedney field goal in Chicago. By my count, No. 54 either blocked or screened out three 49ers tacklers on Vasher's record-breaking, all-or-nothing run at the halftime gun.
Nice job, B.U. I'll bet even Paris Hilton noticed.