Owens' final test

Receiver has four more games to prove he's worth another contract somewhere...

Wide receiver Terrell Owens, who turned 36 this week, has a month left in the NFL season to prove to the Bills -- or other potential suitors -- he's worth signing to another free agent contract in 2010.

Right now, it's a difficult sell.

After a brief resurgence in games against Jacksonville and Miami, when he caught 14 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns (including a team-record 98-yarder against the Jaguars), Owens was humbled by cornerback Darrelle Revis in last Thursday's 19-13 loss to the New York Jets in Toronto.

The Bills play at Kansas City this week.

Against the Jets, Owens caught just three passes for 31 yards after managing just three for 13 in his first matchup against Revis.

Granted, Revis will be the AFC's starting corner in the Pro Bowl but more is expected of Owens, a six-time Pro Bowler with 994 career catches and 14,812 yards. That is, unless Owens is indeed over the hill.

"We just didn't establish drives," Owens muttered after the loss to the Jets in which the Bills converted just 1 of 11 on third down and managed 36 yards from scrimmage in the second half.

"There were some opportunities there and we just didn't convert. They were bringing a lot of pressure and we weren't picking them up for whatever reason. There were a lot of breakdowns up front."

And some dropped passes, a negative on Owens' game for years.

In his defense, Owens has been a victim of Buffalo's major deficiencies and bad luck with its offensive line and upheaval at quarterback. The line has featured half-a-dozen different starting combinations due to injuries and Ryan Fitzpatrick twice has replaced Trent Edwards at quarterback.

Fitzpatrick had little time to breathe against the Jets' elaborate over-load blitzing schemes. When he did, Owens and Lee Evans weren't shaking loose from Revis and Lito Sheppard.

Owens, for example, was the target of nine Fitzpatrick throws. But whether the routes were short or deep, Revis was there to make the play.

"A very physical matchup," Owens said. "Obviously he's a good corner. He's established himself as one of the best in the league at that position."

But is Owens still one of the best at his? With 43 catches for 690 yards and three touchdowns, he'll need to pad those numbers to earn the kind of deal he landed from Buffalo in 2009: one year for $6.5 million. He can't do it alone, and Buffalo is limping to the finishing line.

"We didn't play well, but hats off to the Jets," said Fitzpatrick, who was 9 of 23 for 98 yards. "The defense kept us in the game. It's just disappointing what happened out there."

TRENDING: The Jets' Thomas Jones became the eighth opposing rusher to top 100 yards in both games of a season series against Buffalo, joining Lydell Mitchell (Baltimore, 1975), Sam Cunningham (New England, 1976), Delvin Williams (Miami, 1978), Tony Collins (New England, 1983), Curtis Martin (New England, 1995 and N.Y. Jets, 2001), and Ricky Williams (Miami, 2003).

BY THE NUMBERS: 26 -- The Bills are converting 26 percent of their third downs, the team's worst percentage since 1997 when they converted 25 percent for the season. Buffalo went 1-for-11 in last Thursday's loss to the Jets.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

-- QB Ryan Fitzpatrick's record as an NFL starter fell to 6-13-1 with Thursday's loss to the Jets in Toronto. He has been a more accomplished runner than thrower of late, rushing for 32 yards against the Jets and 50 against Miami a week earlier. It's the fist time a Bills QB has had consecutive rushing games of 30-plus yards since Doug Flutie in 2000.

-- RB Marshawn Lynch's 35-yard run against the Jets was his longest in nearly a year. He finished with a team-high 60 yards on six carries, moving past Kenneth Davis for 10th place on the team's career rushing list with 2,489 yards.

-- DT Kyle Williams recorded his first multi-sack game of his career with two against the Jets last Thursday. He has a career-high three on the season. Williams has been playing strong on an injured knee and his play has been one of the team's few bright spots.

-- CB Terrence McGee, out three games after arthroscopic knee surgery, saw some brief action in the second quarter of the Jets loss. McGee dressed as an emergency substitute and stepped in when Reggie Corner was shaken up. McGee's status for the Chiefs game will be clear after practice Wednesday.

-- OT Kirk Chambers suffered an ankle injury against the Jets but it's not serious. The team is optimistic he'll be fine for the Chiefs game Sunday in Kansas City.

-- LB Chris Draft is nursing a shoulder injury that forced him from the Jets game but he's expected to be OK. The Bills play at Kansas City on Sunday.


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