The Buffalo Bills started well against the New England Patriots and held a 21-7 lead five minutes into the third quarter. We all know what happened after that, as the Patriots rolled 45 points the rest of the way to cruise to an easy victory. After the game, coaches and players were none too pleased with the outcome of the game.
"To be honest with you, they whipped us," said head coach Chan Gailey about the run defense. "Bottom line, they whipped us. They blocked us, we did not get off blocks and get to the ball. They blocked us and they were making our corners make a bunch of tackles. We missed entirely too many tackles."
The run defense allowed 247 ground yards and four touchdowns to the Patriots. Undrafted rooke Brandon Bolden and Stevan Ridley each topped 100 yards. It's the first time the Bills have allowed two 100-yard rushers since an October game so many years ago (or two, I guess) against the New York Jets.
Bryan Scott, who recorded eight tackles and a fumble recovery while playing a large majority of the snaps in the team's nickel package, was also disgusted after the game, saying, "One of our goals was to stop the run. Obviously it was an epic failure when it came to that."
On offense, the Bills had some success in the first half, but turnovers and missed opportunities haunted them. C.J. Spiller fumbled away a golden opportunity inside the two-yard-line in the waning moments of the first half, and noted it was a big problem.
"That was crucial," said Spiller. "That was the turning point of the game. That was totally on me. I’ve just got to do a better job of securing the ball especially down there. It was a big momentum swing with our defense getting a turnover. For us to walk away with nothing - I think we could’ve went up 21-7 - to do that, you can’t do that and win games."
Ryan Fitzpatrick was also upset after throwing four interceptions. The first was a deflection, but his second was an ugly underthrow. The third and fourth came when he was pressing with the team behind. He mentioned the tenor in the locker room was of a team searching for answers after another butt-kicking at the hands of a familiar foe, but noted that the team has bounced back before
"Yeah, that was really embarrassing," said Fitzpatrick right after the game. "We have got a lot of pride in this locker room and right now we have our tails between our legs in terms of we got our butts kicked. Unfortunately, we have been in this situation before. Fortunately, we have responded to this situation."
The Patriots have the Bills' number, and Fitzpatrick admitted that once New England started rolling, Buffalo ran out of answers in a hurry.
"For some reason these games, especially versus these guys when they start rolling, unfortunately we have not had an answer," said the quarterback. "We have to figure out why. We have to try to put a stop to that, but we did not have an answer today."
To that point, Gailey didn't think the team started to panic when the Patriots strung consecutive scoring drives together to even the score in the third quarter.
"No, I did not feel that," said Gailey. "I thought there was a sense of ‘Hey, we need to go make something happen offensively.’ ... I did not feel that at all."
Reporters asked players and coaches left and right if they were "embarassed" after the game. Many of them said they were, and after the second half, it's not surprising that they would answer in the affirmitive. The Bills allowed the Patriots to outscore them 45-7 over the last 25 minutes of the game.
"Yeah, I do [feel embarassed]. I am. I do not like to play like that," said Gailey. "I do not think that is who we are, but that is who we were today. You cannot sugar coat it any way."
At the same time, Gailey noted that the team was 2-2, which also happens to be the same record as the Patriots and New York Jets. He also spoke on how people were feeling immediately after the debacle against the aforementioned Jets in Week 1 when Buffalo allowed 48 points.
"We are 2-2. You kicked dirt on us almost after the first game," said Gailey, "[and] everybody was getting high after two and everybody will kick dirt on us after this week. That is just the way it is. I understand that. We have a tough road ahead of us. We understand that. Nobody understands that more than me."
Fred Jackson, who returned to the lineup for the first time following an injured knee in that Week 1 loss, was disappointed with the outcome, but knows his team is going to bounce back. They'll have a tough task doing so over the next two weeks visiting the 49ers and the Cardinals while spending the intervening week in Arizona.
"We’re all disappointed in this. This was an opportunity for us and we didn’t take advantage of it," said Jackson. "You’ve got to give (New England) credit, they had their back against the wall, came in and made plays when they had to."
"We’ve got a long season ahead of us. We’re not going to go in the tank, so to speak. We know there’s a long season and all we can do is come out and keep playing next week," Jackson concluded.
They'll get that chance against a stiff San Fransisco defense that shut out the Jets this past Sunday. Did we mention the Bills allowed that same offense to score 34 points on opening day?