Week 3: Statistics Do Lie In This Case
Bills put up great numbers but three turnovers cost Buffalo a win.
by Steve Saslow
All you need to know about the 28-20 loss against the Jets was this one tidbit. The Bills became the first home team ever to lose an NFL game when they had a 300 yard passer and a 150 yard rusher. J.P. Losman and Willis McGahee both had career high games statistically but in this case the numbers did lie, and the Bills lost.
Losman threw for 328 yards while McGahee rumbled for 150 but one stat that didn't lie and cost the Bills the ballgame was the turnover ratio. Losman threw a touchdown pass two plays into the game when he stood in there against a blitz and found Roscoe Parrish as the hot read, he made one guy miss and went 51 yards for a touchdown. In the final two minutes of the game Losman ran 12 yards for a score. In between he fumbled the ball away twice and threw an interception, one of the fumbles went for a touchdown and the turnovers are what kept the Bills from scoring enough points to match their statistics.
The Bills had the quick 7-0 lead and the momentum along with a frenzied opening day crowd. It looked like it may be easy as the team had three solid drives in a row after the score. The problem is they came away with zero points in those three possessions. The first drive ended with a botched fake field goal attempt on 4th and 3 at the Jets 35. Instead of trying the long field goal with the wind at their back, Brian Moorman did a quick shovel pass to Jason Peters. He fell down and the ball fell incomplete. With Rian Lindell's leg, they could have used the three points there instead of a gadget play. The next possession ended on Losman's first fumble inside the red zone but the defense stiffened and forced a punt. The final possession of the first quarter ended early in the second quarter when instead of trying a 45 yard field goal into the wind, they went for it on 4th and 3. The pass to Josh Reed left them a yard short.
The Bills could have been up at least 16-0 but led by a mere touchdown. With the wind at their back the Jets started moving the ball and tied the game midway through the 2nd quarter after a long pass play of their own. The Jets were moving the ball because of the quick three stop drops by Chad Pennington didn't allow the Bills defensive line to get any pressure on him.
The Bills responded with another long drive this one gave them points as Lindell hit a 36 yard quail that just died in mid air and barely made it over the crossbar. The Jets would steal the momentum for the rest of the game with a beautiful 65 yard touchdown drive just before halftime to take the lead for good 14-10.
The Bills started moving the ball into the wind in the third quarter but the play of the game happened when McGahee missed picking up the blitz, Losman was leveled and lost the football, Hobson picked it up and rumbled for the touchdown. Replays showed he was out of bounds at the 3 but the call stood as the Bills did not challenge it. The Jets led 21-10.
That was the way this game was going, the Bills would move the football but shoot themselves in the foot at the wrong times. Late in the third quarter Losman threw an interception as the Bills went almost exclusively to the air game at that point. The Bills did move the ball well in the fourth quarter but a third and goal bootleg was sniffed out and Losman was caught in the backfield for a loss of nine yards leaving points out there for the taking once again.
The Bills made it interesting after Losman's rushing touchdown by recovering an onside kick. The drive stalled and the Jets escaped from Buffalo with a win. It's funny what a difference a week makes. Last week the fans were wondering how they won with Losman throwing for just 83 yards. Now they would take that in a heartbeat. One week fans were flying high, now they crashed to the ground. That is the way it will be for this team, they have a lot of talent but it is young talent and there will be plenty of inconsistency. Look for more losses in games they should win and maybe some wins in games they should lose. It will be fun to watch, even if they tear your heart out sometimes like they did this past Sunday.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Jets: