AFC East Update: Bills Handling Success Well

The Buffalo Bills are in unfamiliar territory, yes. But they're not afraid of their success. The team expects positive results. What do they need to worry about now?

The Bills haven't had a whole lot of practice in the art of dealing with prosperity, and their coach, Chan Gailey, is curious to see how they react now that they are 3-0 and have slain the New England Patriots.

   "That's the next step for us, to see how we handle prosperity," Gailey said after the Bills' dramatic 34-31 victory over the Patriots.

   All indications are that the Bills seem to have their minds in the right place, and they understand that all one win gets them is one win.

   "It doesn't mean anything," said safety George Wilson, who made a key interception of Tom Brady, one of four for the Bills on the day, that helped turned the game in Buffalo's favor. "I mean, we've shown we can beat the Patriots now. It's the third game of the year. You don't win a championship by being 3-0. You don't earn the respect around the league by winning three games. We're just working to be 4-0. This doesn't mean we're in the playoffs right now. We haven't even gotten through the first quarter of the season. We've got more games to go."

   Very few players on the Bills' roster have appeared in playoff games, and none of them have ever done it for the Bills, who have missed the postseason 11 years in a row. But this team does have one notable experience with a fast start, and that didn't end well. Back in 2008, the Bills started 4-0 and 5-1, yet somehow found a way to miss the playoffs by losing eight of their last 10 games.

   "Right now, it's 3-0," said running back Fred Jackson, who was on that team. "I think that's what a lot of the guys are focusing on. It's just one game, and we still have teams in this division we've got to beat. We're happy we're 3-0, we just beat a very good team and that's something to build off of, but we know we've got a lot of work to do."

   And it starts Sunday in Cincinnati against a Bengals team that has lost two in a row, and is starting a rookie quarterback. All of a sudden, the Bills will be going on the road and will be the favored team, a foreign concept for this franchise. But veteran linebacker Nick Barnett, who played the previous eight years for the Packers and proudly wears his 2010 Super Bowl ring around the Buffalo locker room, sounded the warning siren already.

   "It's too early to be talking about going to the Super Bowl," he said.

   Especially not with a defense that has allowed 66 points and 710 passing yards the past two weeks.

   "We keep it in perspective," said safety Bryan Scott. "It was a great win because of the history of the series, but it's Week 3, it's one game. We still have things we have to accomplish and achieve."

NOTES:

Gailey's faith in WR Jones paying dividends

   One of the biggest question marks on the offense is the lack of a true deep threat, and through the first two games it certainly didn't look like Donald Jones was capable of filling the void left by the departure of Lee Evans. But against the Patriots, Jones beat man coverage twice for gains of 48 and 29 yards, and he finished with 101 yards, his first 100-yard game.

   "Definitely very satisfying to make plays down the field in a big game like this, just to come up big for the team," Jones said. "Nobody outside the locker room thought anybody could get deep, but Coach (Chan) Gailey knows his personnel."

   Gailey said he had faith in Jones in training camp, and thought he'd be able to get the job done.
   "He is a great deep threat for us," Gailey said. "He's got great body control, strong hands. He can go downfield and get the ball and compete for the ball when it's in the air."

Nerve-Wracking
  -- Oddly, one of the most overlooked plays of the game was the one that actually won the game as time expired. Rian Lindell kicked a 28-yard field goal that provided the final points in the 34-31 victory, but it got lost in all the excitement over the four picks of Tom Brady, Ryan Fitzpatrick's 369 passing yards, Fred Jackson's great performance and the end of the 15-game losing streak to New England.

   Yes, it was a chip shot for Lindell, but he still had to make it. And he admitted that waiting for that chance to kick can be nerve-wracking.

   "It's kind of like a horror movie when you don't see the bad guy and finally when he comes out you relax because you can start fighting him," he said. "Maybe I shouldn't equate it to a horror film, but it's kind of how it is, that anticipation of driving. But once they get into field-goal range, I kind of get into my routine."

In The Record Books
  -- It was another week of fascinating numbers and accomplishments for the Bills. They became the first team since records were kept starting in 1950 that has won back-to-back games they were trailing by at least 18 points. Only six teams have done that in one season, the last being New England in 1996. ... The 21-point rally tied for the second-best in team history, surpassed only by a 26-point rally against Indy in 1997. ... The Bills set a new team mark for most points (113) in the first three games of a season, and it's only the fourth time the Bills have started a year with three straight games of 30-plus points. ... The 943 combined yards by the teams was the sixth-most in a Bills game.

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