The Buffalo Bills felt Terrell Owens was about to hit a wall. He’s more than happy to let them know that’s not the case.
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The Cincinnati Bengals may prefer to have the oft-outspoken wide receiver focus on helping them end another six-game slide.
Owens will face his former team for the first time Sunday when the Bengals attempt to beat the Bills for the first time in almost 22 years.
In his only season with Buffalo in 2009, Owens led the team with 55 catches for 829 yards and was second with five touchdowns. The Bills, however, finished last in the AFC East at 6-10, and incoming coach Chan Gailey felt Owens’ was hitting a wall.
"No, T.O. doesn’t hit any walls," said Owens, who signed a one-year deal with Cincinnati (2-7) in July. "Trust me, if there’s any walls in front or me, I’m going to find a way to go through it, around it, or over it. There’s no just hitting the wall.
"If I’m put in the right situation, I’m able to succeed and do some of the things that people are seeing now that they feel is, I guess, eye-opening for my age."
Owens, who turns 37 on Dec. 7, is proving he can still back up his brash talk.
He ranks third in the NFL with 834 receiving yards, and is tied for fourth with seven touchdowns. The Bengals, however, are last in the AFC North after winning a division crown last season.
Cincinnati’s slide continued with a 23-17 defeat at Indianapolis last week. It’s the 12th time in the past 20 years that the moribund franchise dropped at least six straight.
This current slide is the Bengals’ longest since starting the 2008 season with eight straight defeats. They’ve dropped nine in a row to the Bills since beating them for the AFC championship in 1989.
"I’m just frustrated at where we are right now," said Carson Palmer, who is coming off his second three-interception performance of the season. "It’s been a long time since we’ve won a game. It’s been a long time since we’ve played well for four quarters, played well as a team. That’s what’s frustrating."
Palmer has been picked off 11 times, two shy of his total from last season. Turnovers have plagued Cincinnati, as it ranks second in the AFC with 19 after a season-high five last week.
Buffalo’s defense, however, has forced a league-low eight turnovers with just two interceptions.
After becoming the last team to notch a victory this season, Buffalo (1-8) will try to win consecutive games for the first time since October 2009. The Bills – 0-4 on the road – got by Detroit 14-12 last Sunday, but Gailey is more concerned with getting the next one.
"It’s one win. It’s not like some major milestone, you know," he said. "It was a win. I’m looking for two."
Injuries are mounting for Buffalo as rookie running back C.J. Spiller and defensive end Spencer Johnson are out for this game with hamstring injuries.
Spiller’s absence may mean another big game for Fred Jackson, who scored twice during his best performance of the season last week. Jackson gained 133 yards on 25 carries while adding 37 more on six catches.
He’ll face a Bengals’ defense that has allowed over 100 yards rushing in seven games this season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick may be the key to Buffalo winning again. He completed 12 of 24 passes for 146 yards with a 16-yard scoring toss to Jackson against Detroit.
Fitzpatrick has 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season, and Owens is impressed with his former teammate.
"I liked Fitz’s demeanor. I liked his confidence. He has that type of, you know, swagger about him," Owens said. "I knew the guy could play all along. I’m not surprised by any means. He’s doing a great job."