Many are wondering when quarterback J.P. Losman will win a significant game on the road. He will get the ultimate test Sunday at AFC East rival New England, which is riding a seven-game win streak against the Bills.
Losman and his offensive teammates have been unable thus far to carry a defense ravaged by injuries. After forcing four field goals against Ben Roethlisberger before tiring in a 26-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, the Bills defense will face Tom Brady and the Patriots still missing five key players.
Losman was 15 of 25 passing against Pittsburgh but for just 154 yards with no touchdowns. He was sacked four times as the Bills turned the ball over on downs on three occasions deep in Steelers territory. Buffalo was a combined 3 of 16 on third- and fourth-down tries, indicative of a team that is struggling to hit the big play in crucial situations. For the year, the Bills are averaging just 203.5 yards offense per game.
It is beginning to frustrate Losman, who feels he should be allowed to throw the ball downfield more. But he has struggled with his accuracy and is averaging just 5.5 yards per pass attempt this season.
"Every quarterback is going to want to open it up. And when you don't and you're not winning games, let's give it a shot, let's do this," said Losman, who in the first half against Pittsburgh had just five attempts, partly because the Steelers controlled the clock for a whopping 21:35.
"I feel I'm experienced enough and I have the tools to get it done. We just got to get it called from that standpoint and then we have to execute it, too. We had some penalties that held us back. That's not winning football. All the players, we all need to realize that."
The Bills aren't averse to letting Losman air it out; he and wide receiver Lee Evans have developed a great chemistry since coming into the league together in 2004. However, through two games facing tough Denver and Pittsburgh defenses, Evans has just four catches for 22 yards.
"It's tough. We know what we can do," said Evans, who dropped a would-be touchdown when he hit the ground hard in the end zone against Pittsburgh during the third quarter. "For us to be playing the way we are, it's frustrating and it's tough. But all we can do is go back to the drawing board and start fresh. You've got to believe at some point, hopefully sooner than later, it turns around."
The Bills still want to establish a run game and control the clock more with their defense so beat up. Rookie running back Marshawn Lynch gained 64 yards on 18 carries against Pittsburgh and is averaging 4.2 yards per carry through two games.
"All in all, it was a very disappointing day for us," coach Dick Jauron said. "To suffer our second loss and not perform at a very high level on the offensive side ... well, we have a lot of work to do and we'll do it."
Said Losman: There's no magic answer here. I think the answer, like any football team I've been on since Pee Wee, is stick together and fight and keep going. We have to prepare ourselves for the next game. We'll watch tape, prepare and keep going."
--QB J.P. Losman has yet to throw a touchdown pass through two games. He had WR Lee Evans open in the end zone against Pittsburgh but Evans hit the ground hard and the ball dislodged. Losman, sacked four times, has thrown for just 251 yards through two games and is growing frustrated by what he calls conservative play calls.
--RB Marshawn Lynch finished with 64 yards rushing on 18 carries in Sunday's loss to Pittsburgh. On the season, he's averaging an encouraging 4.2 yards per carry.
--WR Josh Reed missed the Steelers game with a thigh contusion.
--LB Paul Posluszny, a native of nearby Aliquippa, Pa., registered a team-high 12 tackles in his rookie debut against the Steelers in Sunday's loss.
--LB John DiGiorgio earned the start at weak-side linebacker in place of an injured Coy Wire and recorded five tackles.
--KR Terrence McGee is off to a red-hot start. Against the Steelers, the team's all-time kickoff return leader had returns of 44 and 63 yards and was close to breaking both for touchdowns. He's averaging 28.2 yards per return so far. He injured his ribs late in the fourth quarter but said he was fine and would play next week at New England.