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Bills lose second straight, third of last four

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Lindell's reaction sums up Bills' slide (Associated Press)

Say it with me, kids: "Pretenders."

After a 4-0 start to the season, the Buffalo Bills have now dropped three of four - including two straight division games - to fall to 5-3.  The latest disappointment?  Sunday's 26-17 loss to the New York Jets.

Just two weeks ago, the Bills were 5-1 atop the division and considered the front-runners in a diluted - yet still highly competitive - AFC East.  Now they're 5-3, two games in the hole against their three biggest rivals, and are proving to have far more "pretender" than "contender" in them.  The kicker: they're doing it to themselves.

Sloppy play + no run game = ...
Let's get this out there straight away: the Bills did a lot of good things offensively today.  It didn't matter.  Three more turnovers, five more sacks of Trent Edwards and a turnover on downs deep in Jets territory led to just 10 offensive points despite the fact that the Bills were 8 of 13 on third downs and were able to make some plays through the air.

The biggest problem for Buffalo offensively - get ready for a shocker here - is that they're putting too much onto the shoulders of Edwards.  Second-year quarterbacks shouldn't face the burden that Edwards has during the past handful of games; sans any form of a rushing attack, Edwards has been forced to carry the team - and like any second-year quarterback, he's had his good moments and, unfortunately, more bad moments.  Simply put, if Buffalo can't find a way to run the football effectively, we're going to continue to see this type of offensive attack - effective statistically, but not when it really matters.

Can we dispense with the "Duke Preston should start at center" talk?  The young center was absolutely man-handled by Jets NT Kris Jenkins today to the tune of 5 tackles, 2 sacks and plenty of time spent on his (Preston's) rotund backside.  Jenkins also completely eradicated Buffalo's "running game"; Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson combined for a pitiful 31 yards on 16 carries.

Not even Favre can hand Buffalo a 'W'
Brett Favre did his best in the fourth quarter to keep the Bills alive; that's what he's done best this season, after all.  A Jabari Greer interception (extend him!) on a patented Favre duck was returned 42 yards for a score, cutting the Jets lead to 23-17 with 10 minutes to play.  The Bills defense then responded by allowing the Jets to take nearly 9 of those minutes off of the clock, surrendering the decisive field goal in the process.

Buffalo has got to find a way to get their opponents' offensive attacks out of rhythm, and they need to do it three weeks ago.  For two straight weeks, the Dolphins and Jets have methodically picked apart the Bills, eradicating the Aaron Schobel-less pass rush and sapping the Bills' energy and momentum in the process.  I don't care how it's done.  Something needs to change in that respect, because when the offense is in rhythm, the Bills can't make plays defensively.  It's as simple as that.

What do these two losses mean?  I'm struggling to find the broad perspective tonight, so I'll keep this to a personal level: for 8 weeks, including last week in Miami, I was a believer.  I believed Edwards could lead this team back from these types of deficits.  I believed our coaching staff could get this team to play inspired football.  I believed that this team, though young, was smart enough to learn from its mistakes.  But I'm not seeing Edwards do what we know he can do - and it's because he's not ready to carry the entire team on his shoulders.  I'm not seeing the coaching staff make smart decisions, both situationally as well as with personnel.  I'm seeing the team make the same mistakes week in and week out - turnovers, penalties, poor run blocking, etc.  Am I still a believer?  Not one bit.  There's a chance that this Bills team can still make the playoffs - heck, there's even a chance they could take the division.  I'll believe it when I see it.

Game Balls
Don't make me laugh.

Roll Call
Thanks to the 26 folks who stopped by today's game thread.  Kudos to Kurupt for once again holding down the fort during a home game; he also paced the day with 94 comments.  Joe P and D.O. each surpassed 50 as well.

geno227, Kurupt, silverstreak3k, Scoe221, StuckInNJ, NJBillsfan, BuffCrunch, Cinga, Joe P., D.O., fletcherjd, RabidBuffalo, Hopefulcynic, BearsNecessity, thefourwinds, The Buffalonian, Ron From NM, jdol1568, chaosthepitbull, GhostDogg47, BillsNorth, garycoleman69, killascript, roscoe11, keuka121, LeClaireBill

Here comes Foxboro.  Yeah.  "Crap" is right.