ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Lee Evans didn’t have to look at the scoreboard Sunday to figure out his team was well on its way to another discouraging and frustrating loss.
“We didn’t play to the point to where we were trying to win the football game,” Evans said about the Bills’ lopsided 38-14 loss to the New York Jets. “It’s embarrassing to go out and play like that and to get beat like that.”
The loss leaves the Bills (0-4) as one of four remaining winless teams in the NFL, along with Detroit, Carolina and San Francisco. The lackluster start is stirring up memories of Buffalo’s ugly two-year run starting in 1984 – the first of consecutive 2-14 seasons.
“We have the right guys in the locker room to play better,” said quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was 12 of 27 for 128 yards passing against the high-pressure Jets defense. “We just have to get on the same page.”
That may be easier said than done. Both the Bills’ offense and defense are taking up residence in the bottom echelon of the NFL rankings. Buffalo’s offense is dead last in average yards per game (237) while the defense is ranked 28th in yards allowed (383).
The Bills have also given up a league-worst 125 points – more than any other team has scored – and the 110 points surrendered in the last three games is the team’s fourth-worst total in such a stretch, and worst since allowing 130 in Weeks 12-14 in 1976.
Those numbers certainly paint an ugly, but accurate picture.
“We’ve got to keep positive,” center Geoff Hangartner said. “We can’t go around and say, `Oh woe is us, we’re 0-4.’”
The Bills may get a lift on offense this week with tight end Shawn Nelson eligible to play after serving his four-game NFL suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. But the second-year pro’s status is still up in the air after he underwent surgery four weeks ago to help repair a groin tear.
After making some strides last week against New England, the Bills took a few steps back against the Jets, accumulating just 223 yards on offense and not converting a third down in 10 tries.
“I did not like our performance in any way, shape or form,” head coach Chan Gailey said. “I was surprised. I thought we would take a step forward and we didn’t.”
Evans’ meaningless 6-yard reception with less than 30 seconds left helped him avoid a second game without a catch this season. Buffalo’s No. 1 receiver is tied for third on the team with just 10 receptions, and his 9.4 yards per catch is well below his career mark of 15.8.
Fred Jackson, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season, has been limited to 87 yards on 20 carries, while Fitzpatrick has the second-most rushing yards with 92.
Still, 24 hours after the humiliating loss, Fitzpatrick is confident his team will play better this Sunday against Jacksonville (2-2).
“I certainly hope we don’t have many games like we just did,” he said. “That’s not who we are. We’re going to put a better product on the field. I know we will.”
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