Inside Bills Report: Game 6

It now looks as if everyone -fans, local media and national media- were far too quick to anoint the Bills as one of the AFC's premier teams. The 2-0 start, during which Buffalo routed New England and Jacksonville to the tune of 69-17, is a distant memory as the Bills have lost three of their last four... On a positive note, the Bills top draft pick Willis McGahee has been cleared to practice by team doctors and will be doing so tomorrow. They now have 21 days to decide whether to activate him

INSIDE SLANT:

"I didn't expect to be 3-3 right now," said QB Drew Bledsoe, who was sacked seven times in the 30-3 loss to the Jets. "I felt like, and I still feel like, we're a better team than what we've done the last four games. We have to get it turned around, everybody on our team has to address what they're doing and we have to play better."

The question that is now arising is, were the Bills over-rated to begin with? It appears that could be the case. With all the new additions on defense, maybe it wasn't reasonable to assume they would jell quickly and become a dominant unit. There have been far too many breakdowns in the last four weeks and newcomers Takeo Spikes, Sam Adams and Lawyer Milloy have tailed off precipitously since opening day when all three played major roles in the 31-0 shellacking of New England.

Offensively, Travis Henry's 1,438-yard rushing season in 2002 has him on the radar screen of every opposing defense, and he hasn't been able to adjust to the increased attention. Part of the problem is that the offensive line has underachieved, Henry has been banged up and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride won't commit to the running game. Still, Henry has to pick it up or Willis McGahee - who will begin practicing this week - may soon take his job.

The loss to the Jets was the low point of the season. The offense, minus WR Eric Moulds, was unable to sustain a drive and gained just 233 yards, the defense could not overcome New York's excellent field position all day and allowed 30 points, and the special teams broke down as Santana Moss averaged 34 yards on three punt returns which set up 10 New York points.

"Defensively, offensively, special teams, we didn't play well in any facet," said LB London Fletcher. "We are frustrated. When you only win one of your last four games, and we needed overtime to win that game, there's a lot of things to fix."

McGahee to Practice

Team doctors have cleared Buffalo's top draft pick RB Willis McGahee to practice and he will start doing so on Wednesday. The Bills now have 21 days, or until week 10 against the Cowboys, to decide whether to activate him for the season or place him on the season-ending injured reserve list. With the running game struggling don't be surprised to see McGahee in a Bills uniform this season.

NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES

  • DT Pat Williams missed Sam Adams lining up next to him. Williams has done his best work in his career when he has been paired with over-sized Ted Washington for a few years and now Adams. Williams is a solid player, but he may not be capable of being a difference maker on his own.
  • RG Mike Pucillo had another glaring one-on-one defeat when New York's Jason Ferguson bowled him over on his way to sacking Drew Bledsoe. Pucillo is the weak link on the line, but the alternative is Marques Sullivan, who played much worse than Pucillo in the preseason and training camp. Sullivan hasn't even dressed for a game this season.
  • P Brian Moorman did not do a good job of directional punting. He allowed dangerous Santana Moss to field three punts between the numbers and that gave Moss room to make something happen, and he took advantage by averaging 34 yards on his three returns.
  • LB Takeo Spikes seems to have cooled off after an eye-opening start for his new team. Spikes has been in on tackles, but he hasn't been involved in creating a turnover since the Week 3 loss in Miami.
  • FB Sam Gash won't get involved in questioning the play-calling, but it's obvious he's playing less of a role than he thought he would. Gash signed with the Bills as a free agent assuming he'd be on the field half the game blocking for Travis Henry, but Gash has spent much too much time on the sideline watching as the Bills have eschewed the running game.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We never really established anything, we were on our heels the whole game and never really gave much of a fight. Not to discredit them, they're doing everything they can to win, but we didn't bring any fight." Guard Ruben Brown on the Bills' poor performance against the Jets.

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