Bills battered, bruised after rout by Miami
After a humiliating loss on the road, the Buffalo Bills' downward spiral has no end in sight.
The Bills sustained yet another crushing defeat Sunday when they were blown out by AFC East rival Miami, absorbing a 35-8 loss that had Ryan Fitzpatrick scratching his head a day after the embarrassing defeat.
''It's so much about us and figuring out what we're doing,'' he said. ''It's such a focus right now just putting the brakes on this skid, trying to get back on the right track and regain some of that confidence that we had at the beginning of the season. We're looking for a win.''
Wins, though, have been hard to come by lately. After a glowing 4-1 start sparked by a Fitzpatrick-led offense that averaged nearly 33 points-per-game, the Bills were a hot topic around the league. But after boosting their record to 5-2 by blanking the Washington Redskins in Week 8, Buffalo has regressed in each of the past three weeks.
The Bills first were throttled in a 27-11 home loss to the New York Jets, then dismantled in consecutive games on the road by the Dallas Cowboys and Dolphins, losing by a combined 79-15. That point total is the most allowed in a two-week span by Buffalo since it gave up 92 in games to New England (56-10) and Jacksonville (36-14) in 2007.
''If you're not upset at what's happened to us, going from 5-2 to 5-5, you better get out of the business, and I told the players that,'' coach Chan Gailey said. ''Just pack it up, take your money and go home, because if you're satisfied with being a loser, you ought not to play the game.''
As the losses mount, so do the injuries. Buffalo's already thin depth chart took another hit against the Dolphins. Starting cornerback Terrence McGee underwent surgery on his left knee Monday and is done for the season, and No. 2 receiver Donald Jones also could be lost for the rest of the year after aggravating an already injured ankle.
Running back Fred Jackson and top receiver Stevie Johnson are also banged up. Jackson, who entered this past weekend as the league's leading rusher, hurt his right calf and will likely miss some practice time this week leading up to Sunday's rematch with the Jets.
Johnson is dealing with a nagging shoulder injury, and was limited to just two catches for the second straight week, tying a season low set against the Cowboys.
Then there's Fitzpatrick, who has thrown seven interceptions and just two touchdowns in the last three games. His erratic play was epitomized against Miami when he overshot Johnson on a seemingly simple slant route on a third down from the Dolphins 12 on Buffalo's first drive.
Buffalo settled for a field goal to cap the efficient 70-yard drive that wound up being its best of the game.
''I don't see him pressing,'' Gailey said of his quarterback. ''I see him wanting to make plays, and he's doing the (same) things (as) early in the year when he was making those plays.''
Fitzpatrick admitted Monday the losing streak has sapped some of the confidence his team built over the first few weeks of the season. He's not going to allow his teammates to start playing the blame game.
''The guys that come from those big time colleges that win and win and win, and all they did in high school was win, it's hard when you have a losing streak going,'' he said. ''That's when the finger-pointing starts. We're not going to let it happen in this locker room.''
Despite the staggering negatives surrounding the Bills, they still feel they can make a run at a postseason berth.
''There's not a great feeling in the locker room right now just in terms of the way things have gone lately for us. But it is a nice reminder to know that if we win this next game then all of a sudden spirits pick up and all of sudden we're back in this thing,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''That's something we have to keep in mind.''