The Sports Xchange
NFL Team Report - Buffalo Bills - INSIDE SLANT
"I'm sure they're upset, but so are we," running back Fred Jackson said of the fans after Sunday's 27-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that started the season 0-8 and was playing in front of about 30,000 seats at Raymond James Stadium that were either empty or occupied by vacationing or transplanted Bills fans. "This isn't just about them, this is about us, too. We don't want to be part of this situation, this isn't how we want to be remembered for our 2013 season. I'm sure fans are going to start throwing in the towel and saying, 'We're the same old, same old Bills' and they have every right to do it. That's fine. We're going to keep working."
And there's plenty of work to do, because rather than showing progress, the Bills have regressed as the season has gone on. After starting 3-4, they have now lost five of their last six.
"There's a lot of little things that really need to be fixed on and off the field with this team," said safety Aaron Williams. "We talked about it as a team. As long as we fix the little things, the inconsistency will stop. The captains know what's going on and they voiced it out. The losing is just getting tiring."
Coach Doug Marrone turned the locker room over to the players, and captains Fred Jackson, Eric Wood and Kyle Williams conducted the post-mortem following the game as the media sat outside a good 25 minutes waiting to enter.
"He wanted to see what we had to say," Jackson recounted. "That's the first time since I've been here where the coach gives us the floor, and gives us the opportunity to talk amongst ourselves and see what it is we feel like."
What they felt was embarrassed and miserable. It was an utterly brutal performance that included 214 yards on offense, five turnovers (four interceptions by rookie quarterback EJ Manuel and a muffed punt by Leodis McKelvin), 1-for-11 on third down and 11 penalties for a season-high 114 yards.
"It was one of the worst offensive performances I've been a part of since I've been in Buffalo," said Jackson, a mouthful for him considering he's in his eighth year with the team. "EJ is going to catch the heat, but we didn't do anything to help him. We just didn't get the job done (Sunday). We looked like crap. Bottom line, we did not play well. I can't think of anything we did right. That's something we've got to take ownership for. There's no one finger that needs to be pointed at anybody. As a team, we looked absolutely horrible, and the score showed it."
That was the general consensus all across the locker room. The Bills were inept and found a way to lose to a team quarterbacked by rookie Mike Glennon, who passed for just 90 yards on nine completions.
"I find it very difficult after that game to stand up here and defend a lot of things," Marrone said. "I thought we played poorly. I shouldn't say 'I thought;' I know we played poorly in all three phases. We had penalties, we had turnovers, we had misreads, we had missed tackles. It hit all at once in this game."
The Bills have another trip to Florida where they will play the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, another team that lost its first eight games but has now turned it around and won four of its last five and has the same 4-9 record as Buffalo and Tampa Bay.
NFL Team Report - Buffalo Bills - NOTES, QUOTES
The Bills activated defensive back Jonathan Meeks from injured reserve/designated for return to the 53-man roster and released linebacker Jamaal Westerman on Tuesday.
Meeks was a fifth-round draft selection of Buffalo in the 2013 Draft. He was placed on injured reserve/designated for return on Oct. 14 before returning to practice on Nov. 25.
The Bills also announced that the team has signed wide receiver Brandon Kaufman to the practice squad and released wide receiver Tommy Streeter.
Kaufman joined Buffalo as an undrafted free agent following the 2013 NFL Draft and was released prior to the regular season. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Kaufman is an Eastern Washington product.