Bills' Losman Offers Fiery Defense

Buffalo Bills QB J.P. Losman has been rather business-like while winning the starting job, but after a tough loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, Losman, who will face the Vikings this Sunday, fired back. Plus, get notes from Bills camp.

Quarterback J.P. Losman refused to believe he or his teammates took a step backwards with Sunday's 28-20 loss to the New York Jets in the home opener at rainy and windy Ralph Wilson Stadium.

He lashed back when he was asked if he felt the Bills let their rabid fans down after the city was riding high after an encouraging split of road games at New England and Miami to start the season. Buffalo defeated Miami 16-6 a week earlier.

"We don't believe the hype," Losman said. "You guys don't understand. We don't care what you are saying, what people are saying about our team, whether it's good or it's bad. We don't read it. We don't care. It doesn't matter to us. We're going to play hard every week and prepare to win every week no matter what it is. We're going to play hard. I don't care if they talk about us on TV. It doesn't matter. That's not why we're playing this game."

Losman's emotional outburst was the first of 2006. A fiery leader, he had worked to contain that side of his personality throughout the off-season and training camp and was very businesslike in winning the Bills' starting quarterback job in a competition with Kelly Holcomb and Craig Nall.

But it was difficult hiding his frustration after just throwing for 328 yards, his first career 300-yard game, in a losing cause.

Losman's second pass of the game resulted in a 51-yard touchdown pass to Roscoe Parrish. But despite rolling up 475 yards on the day, the Bills offense didn't see the end zone again until just 1:15 was left to play and Losman scored on a 12-yard scramble.

In between, a sea of mistakes and questionable play calls doomed the Bills (1-2), who were playing their third consecutive game against a division rival and who could've tied New England (2-1) for first place in the AFC East. The Jets (2-1) instead tied the Patriots as Miami (1-2) won to tie Buffalo.

Two fumbles by Losman after sacks, one that the Jets' Victor Hobson returned 32 yards for a touchdown, and an interception, proved to be Buffalo's undoing on Sunday. Jets safety Kerry Rhodes had both sacks coming at Losman's blind side. Buffalo made the adjustment after Rhodes' first hit, but on the second, running back Willis McGahee missed the block. That sack resulted in Hobson's back-breaking takeaway that gave the Jets a 21-10 lead in the third quarter.

"That's my error right there. He kept going, J.P. fumbled, and they scored a touchdown off of it," said McGahee, who left the game with a hollow feeling after rushing for a career-best 150 yards. "We come into every game feeling we can do (good things), but like Coach tells us, it's the little things — penalties, the mistakes, the wrong assignments, taking the wrong steps — it's just hurting us."

Coach Dick Jauron said before the year began that he was prepared to be patient with Losman, a third-year pro with just 11 starts, and live with his mistakes. But he was tough on his young signal caller after this loss.

"He played a pretty good football game," Jauron said. "The first fumble was a mistake, the ball should've come out of there fast. He knew what was happening. The throw was ill-advised on the interception, the way the wind was. But he'll learn. And the second fumble, that should've been picked up (by McGahee). He expected the blitz would be picked up, and the guy just beat one of our blockers. That happens, too. It's part of the game. But that could've been a big play for us, instead it ends up being seven points for them."

Losman said the Jets were gambling and if not for the sack, it may have been a touchdown for Buffalo.

"We had cover zero but we had a breakdown there in protection," he said. "We had a guy come who should have been picked up and he came around the backside. We had a big, big play on that. If it wasn't a touchdown it was going to be huge. We had two guys who were going to be wide open."

Losman was able to admit that the Bills did squander a golden opportunity to build some serious momentum heading into Sunday's tougher test against Minnesota (2-1) at home.

Buffalo won back-to-back games only once last season in finishing 5-11.

"Of course you want to get things rolling, but it's a long season," he said. "There's still a chance to win this division and make some noise."

NOTES

  • RB Willis McGahee finished with a career-high 150 yards on 26 carries, the second time in four career games against the Jets he's hit a career high. His previous best was 143 yards on 29 carries in 2005. "It was all the offensive line, they were just moving people off the ball," McGahee said. "They said, ‘Stay behind me,' and I listened to them."

  • WR Roscoe Parrish had a big day catching the ball but fielded only two punts for eight yards in returns. Jets P Ben Graham had a strong day despite the windy conditions, planting four punts inside the Bills' 20. "It was very difficult to field punts today," Parrish said. "You'd think it would land in one spot, and then it would drift over to another. You have to have good judgment back there when the wind is blowing like that."

  • After notching seven sacks against Miami's Daunte Culpepper, Buffalo could manage only one on Chad Pennington, whose three-step drops and quick decisions neutralized the Bills' speed. "He did a great job getting rid of the ball," DT Larry Tripplett said. "He really didn't give us a chance to get a pass rush against him."

  • The Bills were wishing Sunday's game was a Monday night affair, then there would've been the camera angles instantly available to know that Jets' LB Victor Hobson stepped out of bounds on his 32-yard return of a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter. The first and apparently only replay available before the Jets kicked the PAT, rendering a challenge impossible, was from the opposite end zone. On that one, Hobson's feet were blocked from view by Bills' 328-pound offensive tackle Jason Peters who was trying to make the tackle. Coach Dick Jauron said that was the only angle the Bills had in the press box. It wasn't until later that a view from the Bills' end zone clearly showed Hobson stepping out of bounds at the 3-yard line.

  • Sunday was Buffalo's annual Alumni Weekend when former players gather for good times and golf. Money is raised for the Bills Alumni Foundation, which sponsors various charities in Western New York. Honored at halftime were members of Buffalo's 1980-81 teams. The featured player was quarterback Joe Ferguson, who was given a warm, emotional cheer from the crowd of 72,067 fans. Ferguson has battled a rare form of intestinal cancer the past two years and reported he is in complete remission.

  • TE Robert Royal suffered a bruised wrist/hand late in the game when he banged his hand on a teammate's helmet, but other than being sore, he's OK and should be fine for Sunday's game vs. Minnesota.

  • QB J.P. Losman, who threw for a career-best 328 yards in Sunday's loss to the Jets, has led the Bills to a score on seven of his 11 career opening drives. He threw his first interception in 67 passes to open the season.

  • WR Roscoe Parrish is averaging a hefty 18.3 yards on his seven catches, thanks to Sunday's 51-yard pitch-and-run from J.P. Losman. Parrish split the Jets secondary with his speed and he's becoming more and more a weapon from the slot.

  • RB Willis McGahee tied Joe Cribbs and Travis Henry for third most 100-yard games in franchise history with 13 each. Thurman Thomas (46) and O.J. Simpson (41) are 1-2.

  • PK Rian Lindell has connected on all six of his field goals so far. He opened last season with nine a row, third-longest in team history to open a season. Steve Christie (17) holds the record and Scott Norwood (10) is second.


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