Williams blames Bills losing record on 'stupidity'
Kyle Williams doesn't mince words when assessing the Buffalo Bills' near seasonlong run of fourth-quarter collapses. To put it bluntly, the defensive tackle said Monday, if not for "our own stupidity," Buffalo (4-8) might still have more to play for entering the final month of the season. Instead, the Bills are all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention in a year in which the AFC East race is suddenly up for grabs with New England (7-5) struggling to hold onto first place. "It's a bad time to have lost a lot of games in the fourth quarter because the division's right there," Williams said. "I think above all else, that's what really kind of sticks in your craw. To know that everything was so close, and the way things are shaking out in the division that, other than our own stupidity, we could've been there." Williams' frustrations boiled over as the team returned to practice following a three-day break after a 19-13 loss to the Jets at home last Thursday night. Buffalo prepares for a game between two AFC also-rans at Kansas City (3-9) this weekend. The loss to the Jets followed an all-too-familiar story line in which the Bills failed to overcome a 6-point deficit to start the fourth quarter. The Bills defense gave up an eight-play, 34-yard drive that allowed New York to go up 19-10 on Jay Feely's 37-yard field goal early into the final period. And their offense managed 35 yards and four first-downs in the entire second half. Of Buffalo's eight losses, seven have come in which the team either led, was tied or within one score of the lead entering the final quarter. That includes blowing an 11-point lead in the final 2:06 of a season-opening 25-24 loss at New England, and allowing Tennessee to score 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter of a 41-17 loss on Nov. 15. Add it up, and the Bills have been outscored 112-67 in the final 15 minutes this season, a key reason why the team is in the midst of its fourth coaching search this decade - Perry Fewell is 1-2 as interim coach since Dick Jauron was fired last month. And Buffalo is likely to miss the playoffs for a 10th straight year, matching Detroit for the NFL's longest active drought. Safety Donte Whitner didn't need any reminding of what's gone wrong. "That's been our theme all year," Whitner said. "Everybody's frustrated. The fans are frustrated. It all falls on our shoulders. We have to go out there and put a good product on the football field and bring wins home. And we're not doing that." The defense continues to be porous against the run. After allowing 249 yards rushing against the Jets, Buffalo's giving up an NFL-worst 172 yards per game on the ground. The offense continues to sputter, particularly on third down. Buffalo converted 1 of 11 third-down chances against the Jets, the seventh time the team has converted three or fewer third-down opportunities. And the Bills lost the time-of-possession battle by more than 10 minutes, the fifth time that's happened this year. "It's frustrating for the most part to be that close, to have it within grasp, and it seems like almost every time it slips away," said Williams, who made sure to note the problems have been on both offense and defense. "That's a product of looking in the mirror and saying, 'I didn't do enough."'