After last week's blowout loss to the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills players and coaches stepped up to the microphones and talked about how the loss was embarrassing and the problems would be fixed. After another dreadful week, this time at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, they were at it again.
"Obviously, there’s something I’m not doing correctly with this football team in the second half," said head coach Chan Gailey to open his press conference. "Two games in a row after halftime, we’ve played extremely poor and that’s as nice as you can put it. We’re not playing as physical as we should and we’re not doing the things we need to do."
The Bills allowed a record-setting number of yards and became the first team in NFL history to allow more than 550 yards in consecutive weeks. Yesterday, that total was 621. Mario Williams said the Bills didn't finish the game, but stopped short of using the word "quit".
"Not with that score," said the off-season's big ticket acquisition. "At the end of the day you can go out there and keep chopping wood, but for them to go out there and to score and finish the way we did, we can’t look at anybody and say that we did."
Gailey also refused to say his team quit in the second half while continuing to heap blame upon himself as the head coach.
"No, I don’t think our team gives up. They hurt and they get rattled," said Gailey. "Part of my responsibility is to not let them get rattled. When things start going bad, you have to be strong mentally. I’ve got to find a way to keep our team up."
"It’s not entirely my fault, but it starts with me," Gailey continued when questioned further. "That’s my responsibility. I understand that. When you take this job, you understand that it’s your responsibility."
Williams, though, dismissed the coach's comments, saying the players are responsible for what happens on the field.
"You don’t get beat like that from your head coach. I don’t care what you say," Williams said. "He is not out there going to get sacks, he is not out there covering receivers, he is not out there getting turnovers. This is like I said from the No. 1 to No. 11 guy on defense. This is all on us. We have to get turnovers. I think we lost the turnover battle again this week and that hasn’t been good for us since day one. It is all on us. We have to focus on football."
Joining in the chorus of players who wouldn't say the team quit, Fred Jackson said the Bills' miscues shouldn't be confused with lack of effort.
"I wouldn’t say we quit," said Jackson. "We made some mistakes. That is just about what it is, fixing mistakes. We had turnovers that led to points. We have three and outs, that puts our defense back out there, as an offensive unit we can’t do that."
Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus said after the debacle that is was "just a game," prompting reporters to continue pressing him on his thoughts. As Lori Chase said on Twitter, the guy did just bury his brother a few weeks ago, so his perspective is a little different than most fans'.
"Of course they think that it is just a game, but it is just tough right now," said Dareus of the fans' perspective. "It is tough on the team, tough on the fans, that is a tough question that some people don’t want to answer, but that is life right now. We are going to get better at it, work it out, it is just tough for everybody right now."
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick sounded demoralized after the game. Saying the team was embarrassed - there's that word again - he said the Bills had to bounce back from a tough loss for the second consecutive week.
"It’s tough on team morale. It’s tough on all of that stuff now being 2-3, but you can’t let these losses linger," said Fitzpatrick. "I didn’t feel like we came into this game with some wounds from New England. I felt like we came into this game with a fresh mindset and we just got beat bad by a better team today, but you can’t let these things linger."
At the end of the day, Gailey doesn't seem to have the answers for how to move forward.
"I don’t know [if there will be drastic changes]," said the coach after the game. "That’s what I have to see. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve never been here before, so I’m in new territory."