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
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
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."
-- 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
AFC East Update: Bills Handling Success Well
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