Bills vs. Patriots: young Bills offense must avoid turnovers

Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE

The Buffalo Bills have averaged four turnovers per game against New England over the past three years, which is a crazy awful statistic that needs to end ASAP.

At the risk of coming across like a crazy person, I'm going to write another article begging the Buffalo Bills to stop turning the football over against the New England Patriots, effectively beating themselves against a team that has won 18 of the past 19 meetings between these two clubs. We had this same discussion twice last season (onetwo), but sometimes circumstances necessitate saying the same thing over and over again, like the worst sports-related Groundhog Day scenario ever conceived.

Going into Week 4 last season, the Bills had only turned the ball over 15 times in their last four meetings against New England. They gave the ball up a depressing six times in an even more depressing 52-28 loss - a game they led 21-7 at one point, believe it or not. Then, in Week 10, they surrendered possession three more times in an otherwise strong performance in a 37-31 road loss.

If you're counting, the Bills have turned the ball over 24 times in their last six games against the Patriots - an average of four turnovers per game. It's a horrendous stretch of ineptitude within a larger-scale universe of ineptitude against New England, and is directly responsible for losses in winnable games in that time frame.

Take a look at the turnover battle in the last six Bills/Patriots contests, and notice the obvious trends: the Bills hurt themselves badly in some winnable games by going gangbusters in the turnover department.

Year Matchup Bills TO Pats TO Final Score
2010 Bills @ Patriots, Week 3 2 1 Patriots 38, Bills 30
2010 Patriots @ Bills, Week 16 7 0 Patriots 34, Bills 3
2011 Patriots @ Bills, Week 3 2 4 Bills 34, Patriots 31
2011 Bills @ Patriots, Week 17 4 1 Patriots 49, Bills 21
2012 Patriots @ Bills, Week 4 6 2 Patriots 52, Bills 28
2012 Bills @ Patriots, Week 10 3 0 Patriots 37, Bills 31

Sure, you're thinking that it's all in the past, and that there are brand new coaches and players taking the place of the men (Chan Gailey and, most especially, Ryan Fitzpatrick) responsible for this particular area of failure. (Of those 24 turnovers, 19 were either interceptions or lost fumbles by Fitzpatrick.) New head coach Doug Marrone has emphasized winning the turnover battle repeatedly this preseason, and it's fair to assume that a rookie quarterback in EJ Manuel will be a bit more judicious with the football than his gunslinging predecessor.

Still... until something changes, it hasn't changed. So this is my twice-annual plea: please stop actively helping New England beat you, Buffalo. Take care of the football. The collective sanity of Bills fans depends on it.

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