Losman fumbles away W in Meadowlands (Associated Press)
In the NFL, moral victories are meaningless. So when the Buffalo Bills didn't pull a opossum and play dead in their 31-27 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday... well, let's just say that if there was going to be a moral victory - or, heck, just a victory - the way the Bills bumbled it away erased any good that came from what was a strong performance.
Nursing a 27-24 lead with 2:06 remaining in the game, The J.P. Losman Comedy of Errors took center of stage; Buffalo's reserve quarterback was sacked and fumbled on an inexplicable passing play late in the game, and Jets DE Shaun Ellis returned the ball for the game-winning touchdown.
Just shake your head and add the manner of this loss to the pile of crap we've had to endure over the past decade. The terrible play-call and subsequent fumble was a microcosm of Buffalo's season, and erased some outstanding play from Buffalo's running backs and special teams unit.
Errors waste strong offensive effort
After scoring 6 points over their past two games, the fact that the Bills scored three offensive touchdowns was a welcome change of pace. Losman scored the first on an 8-yard scramble; Steve Johnson notched his first career TD reception on a 2-yard slant in the second quarter, and Fred Jackson scored the second of his career on an 11-yard effort to temporarily give the Bills the lead deep in the fourth quarter. Add in the fact that Marshawn Lynch gashed the Jets for 127 yards on 21 carries, and the Bills were getting stuff done offensively.
Four turnovers - three Losman interceptions and that lovely fumble we'll be talking about for an off-season - erased all of that positive, and it only took about eight seconds. Another week of highly questionable play-calling from offensive coordinator Turk Schonert didn't help the cause.
D, Special Teams efforts wasted, too
It's becoming a trend with Buffalo's defense to describe their effort as "good enough to win". Sure, they gave up a 47-yard touchdown romp to Leon Washington and several other big plays - not to mention 24 points - but they did intercept two Brett Favre passes (Paul Posluszny, Terrence McGee) and forced a three-and-out to hypothetically win the game in the fourth quarter. They certainly don't deserve much blame in this loss.
The only negative play Buffalo's special teams made was a kickoff return TD from Leodis McKelvin that was negated by a Jon Corto holding penalty. Keith Ellison converted on a fake punt on Buffalo's first drive, Rian Lindell mastered the hook to make two field goals, and Brian Moorman returned to his Pro Bowl form, pinning the Jets at their two-yard line twice. They even did a respectable job on elite kick returner Washington. Clearly, this unit isn't to blame, either - Buffalo's special teams were the best single unit on the field today.
Lynch, Jackson and Moorman were all set to get them, but the loss negates the need to give out awards. Instead, we'll let the fictitious Kevin Malone of The Office describe Schonert's infamous play-call for you:
Thanks to the folks in the red block down there for hanging out in the game thread; norcaliangelsfan paced us all with 248 comments, more than three times more than anybody else on the day. He's a nerd, to be sure, but we love him for it.
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Time to sulk. I asked it last week, and I'll ask it again now: is it April yet?