AFC East: Bills Struggles Continue

Shortly after reaching the top of the AFC East, the Biffalo Bills found themselves sliding down the mountain, unable to slow their freefall. Little problems are compounding into big ones.

Struggling Bills see problems all over field

   This was not the way the Bills were hoping to open their three-game road trip. They took their 5-3 record down to Dallas and got blown out of Cowboys Stadium, 44-7, their worst loss since a 56-10 drubbing at the hands of the Patriots in 2007.

   Coach Chan Gailey was clearly disturbed by his team's performance, especially because it came on the heels of a lousy effort in a 27-9 loss a week earlier at home to the New York Jets.

   "Right now, we are more of a pretender than a contender," Gailey said. "Nobody played well, no phase played well, and that's stating the obvious. We didn't start good, you turn it over, you don't stop them, and you are going to get beat bad."

   So now the Bills must head to Miami to take on their officially awoken AFC East rivals, who have won two straight. After that, it's back to New York for a rematch with the Jets. If the Bills play the way they have the last two weeks in either of those games, they're going to be staring at a 5-6 record entering December, and their playoff hopes will be just about shattered for the 12th consecutive year.

   The Bills have been failing on all fronts in losing four of their last six after a 3-0 start, but the biggest change has come on offense. They have struggled on defense all year, but now the offense is in the tank.

   In the first three games, victories over Kansas City, Oakland and New England, the Bills averaged 37 points, 431 yards and 27 first downs, and they committed only four turnovers. In the six games since -- wins over Philadelphia and Washington and losses to Cincinnati, the Giants, the Jets, and Dallas, the Bills averaged 19 points, 321 yards and 17 first downs, and they have given the ball away 13 times.

   "That was tough," said quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw for just 146 yards and had a passer rating of 46.6 against Dallas. "We wanted to rebound from last week when we didn't think we performed. We put in some good practice time and really thought we'd come down here and play well, but we fell behind, didn't make enough plays, and it got ugly there at the end. The last two weeks, it hasn't been there.

   "We had a lot of mistakes today. I'm the quarterback, and you usually see my mistakes the most, and I had a lot of them today."

   LINEUP WATCH: The Bills may have a serious problem at center, as third-year pro Eric Wood, who moved to that position this season and was playing at a Pro Bowl level, suffered a knee injury against Dallas. Coach Chan Gailey expects him to be out at least this week in Miami, and maybe beyond that. The Bills finished the game with right guard Kraig Urbik at center and Colin Brown at right guard.

   BY THE NUMBERS: 88.6 percent -- That was Tony Romo's completion percentage in Dallas' 44-7 blowout over Buffalo, which set a record for a Bills opponent. The old mark was 84.5 percent, achieved by Drew Brees in 2005 when he was with San Diego.

   --RB Fred Jackson carried 13 times for 114 very quiet yards, and his four pass receptions totaled just 1 net yard.
   --WR Stevie Johnson was battling illness, and he looked it, as he caught just two passes for 8 yards, then left the game late with a sore shoulder.
   --QB Ryan Fitzpatrick had a tough day, as he threw for a season-low 146 yards and threw a season-high three interceptions for a passer rating of 46.6.
   --SS Jairus Byrd led the defense with eight tackles and a forced fumble.
   --TE Scott Chandler caught three passes for 34 yards against the team that cut him twice.
   --WR Donald Jones led the Bills with six catches for 51 yards.

More Bills news at: Buffalo Football Report

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