Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, as they say, which is precisely why the Buffalo Bills' latest close loss is nothing more than another meaningless moral victory amidst an 0-8 start.
Trailing by three points with less than a minute to go, a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass was tipped and intercepted by safety Chris Harris to put the final nail in the coffin. Fitzpatrick threw two second-half interceptions in defeat, the first coming with the Bills leading the Chicago Bears 19-14 in the fourth quarter. Buffalo turned the ball over three times in this game, which stands as the biggest factor in their eighth consecutive loss.
Chan Gailey also made two critical, controversial sideline calls that may have hurt his team in this one. The first didn't ultimately hurt the team in the long run, but his decision to go for two with a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter was controversial even before Fred Jackson's run failed. Gailey then challenged an obvious incompletion to Roscoe Parrish, wasting a timeout that would have come in handy in the Bills' last-gasp attempt to win a game.
Fitzpatrick completed 31 of 51 passes for 299 yards in defeat, throwing a touchdown pass to Roscoe Parrish along with his two interceptions. Stevie Johnson hauled in 11 passes for 145 yards, continuing his break-out campaign. The Bills were able to contain Chicago's rushing attack well enough to try to sneak out a win, with the Bears rushing for just 105 yards on the day.
In the end, Jay Cutler was able to make plays with his legs (39 rushing yards, including several key third-down conversions) and his arm (two touchdowns, including the game-winning scoring strike to receiver Earl Bennett). Buffalo simply made too many mistakes and couldn't muster the big plays to overcome those shortcomings. That's the same old tired anthem for the NFL's worst team.