When all seemed bleak, Drew Bledsoe turned to the one person he thought might provide him perspective and help answer his critics: Jim Kelly.
It worked. Recalling the advice he received earlier this week from Kelly, the Buffalo Bills' Hall of Fame quarterback, Bledsoe produced a convincing reply to those calling for his benching.
Bledsoe hit tight end Mark Campbell for three touchdowns, picking apart a banged-up Rams' secondary, and got additional support from a strong special teams showing, in helping the Bills to a 37-17 win over St. Louis on Sunday.
``We just talked a little bit of how you handle things and how you deal with things when you're faced with some adversity. It was good conversation,'' Bledsoe said. ``It's nice to know you're not the only one who's been through hard times. ... It's nice to know that you have that support.''
Bledsoe finished 15-of-24 for 185 yards and one interception. The three touchdowns were the most Bledsoe's thrown since he had three in Buffalo's 38-21 win over Miami on Dec. 1, 2002.
Bledsoe was so good his 160 yards passing in the first half were more than he had in 10 of his previous 23 games. And he got his 213th career touchdown pass, moving into 19th place ahead of Terry Bradshaw and Y.A. Tittle.
His performance was part of an overall dominating effort by a Buffalo team (4-6) that has won four straight at home, but was coming off its worst outing of the season, a 29-6 loss at New England.
``This week we took it personal,'' Campbell said. ``What happened last Sunday night was embarrassing. We had a bad taste in our mouth and wanted to do something about it today.''
The game turned at the start of the third quarter when the Bills broke open a 17-17 score by producing 17 points in a span of 5:40, including Nate Clements' 86-yard punt return for a touchdown.
This was not the effort the Rams were expecting after taking the NFC West lead with last weekend's 23-12 win over Seattle. St. Louis (5-5) has lost three of its last four, all three losses against AFC East opponents.
As unhappy as Rams coach Mike Martz was with his team's performance, he was livid about what he called cheap shots by the Bills. The Rams lost three cornerbacks to injuries: starter Travis Fisher and backup DeJuan Groce to knee injuries in the first half, and backup Kevin Garrett to a concussion in the third quarter.
Rams receiver Torry Holt also accused Clements of trying to hurt him by going after his knees during a tackle in the third quarter.
``Absolutely, they were doing it intentionally,'' Martz said. ``They are trying to blow somebody's knee out. There's no question about it. It worked.''
As for the game, Martz blamed his special teams unit which, besides allowing Clements' touchdown, gave up a 53-yard punt return to Jonathan Smith. And then there was defensive end Erik Flowers, who muffed a short kickoff, allowing the Bills to recover at the Rams 31.
Those three miscues led to 17 Bills points.
``We were pitiful,'' Martz said. ``I really don't know what to do at this point. ... It's going to be hard to win another game until we get that cleared up. That's the worst thing I've ever seen.''
After spotting the Rams a 10-0 first-quarter lead on their first two possessions, the Bills held St. Louis to 98 yards and no points in the second half, and intercepted Marc Bulger three times.
Bulger went 27-of-45 for 287 yards, including touchdowns to Holt and Isaac Bruce.
Campbell also caught TD passes of 19 and 10 yards for the first three-TD game of his career, and finished with four catches for 37 yards.
``I give him a lot of credit,'' Campbell said, referring to Bledsoe. ``I can't say enough about Drew. For as much heat as he's been under, he made some great reads out there.''
We are never going to get back to the playoffs being dead even, the Bills caught us off guard and jumped on the oppurtunity. We started off strong but finished weak. We need to keep up the same intensity throughout the game so they dont take advantage of us. Lets hope that something in the turkeys will give out Rams a new beginning. We are 0-0 baby and lets finish off strong!