Bills focus forward following 4th-quarter meltdown
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Bills safety Aaron Williams prefers looking ahead to a short week and Buffalo’s game at Miami on Thursday rather than spend time dwelling on the team’s fourth-quarter meltdown on Sunday.
It won’t be easy, Williams said Monday.
”It lingers bad,” he said, referring to how Buffalo squandered a 10-point lead in a 17-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
”That game was ours. And we all knew it. And we gave it away,” Williams said. ”We can’t give away games like that, especially AFC games, especially home games. Good teams find a way to win.”
It’s unclear how good the Bills are after bumbling away an opportunity to insert themselves firmly in the thick of the AFC picture.
Instead, Buffalo has little time to regroup in preparing to play an AFC East rival in a showdown between two 5-4 teams attempting to keep pace with the pack.
The Bills, whose 14-season playoff drought is the NFL’s longest active streak, are already under pressure given tiebreaking scenarios. That’s because their 2-4 conference mark is the worst among the 11 AFC teams that currently have winning records.
”We can’t change anything. It’s time to get ready for Miami,” Williams said. ”If we want to get back to the playoffs, this is a really important game.”
So was the game against the Chiefs, which Buffalo let slip out of its grasp.
Turnovers were an issue.
Running back Bryce Brown lost a fumble within a few steps of the goal line on the first drive of the third quarter. Then Leodis McKelvin fumbled a punt return that led to Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just under 9 minutes left.
Penalties hurt. Ahead 13-10, Quarterback Kyle Orton appeared to get the Chiefs to jump on fourth-and-1 at Buffalo’s 41. Instead, Bills rookie guard Seantrel Henderson flinched and was flagged for a false start.
The offense lacked finish. Buffalo came away with two field goals on four drives inside Kansas City’s 20. That included Orton turning the ball over on downs with 2:27 left after throwing four consecutive incompletions at the Chiefs 15.
And even the defense wasn’t without fault. On fourth-and-1, Buffalo allowed Jamaal Charles’ 39-yard touchdown run to cut the Bills lead to 13-10.
Add it up, and the Bills lost a game in which they had the edge on the Chiefs in yards offense (364-278), first downs (21-16), and sacks (6-1).
”We went into the game and the phases and things that we concentrated on for the most part we won,” coach Doug Marrone said. ”But the two glaring ones obviously are turnovers and red-zone touchdowns. That’s really the elephant in the room.”
These are issues Buffalo has struggled with all season.
The Bills 19 takeaways are tied for second-most in the NFL, but they’ve also turned the ball over 14 times, which is tied for 14th most.
As for red-zone production, Buffalo has scored 14 touchdowns on 34 drives inside an opponent’s 20. That translates into a 41.2 percent success rate, which ranks as the NFL’s worst.
Don’t expect many quick fixes for a team working on a condensed schedule.
Following the Chiefs game, Marrone and his staff worked until 5 a.m. Monday, poring over game film and devising a game plan. Then came a team meeting in the afternoon followed by a walk-through practice.
Marrone said he intended to deliver his players a simple message: Don’t look back.
”It’s easier said than done,” Marrone said. ”But that’s the one point that I’ll make.”
NOTES: Injury report lists WR Sammy Watkins (groin) as full participant in practice, based on a projection because Bills only had a walk-through. Watkins had missed two practices last week after hurting his groin Wednesday. … RB Fred Jackson (groin), WRs Marquise Goodwin (ribs) and Marcus Easley (knee), and cornerback Ron Brooks listed as limited. … DE Jarius Wynn, who hurt his right knee in the fourth quarter Sunday, was listed as did not practice.
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