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Bills on the lookout for signs of hope

10/11/2010

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills lost.

And they are lost.

"We're searching greatly," said Bills coach Chan Gailey, "for what the right answer is."

The Bills' season got a little more demoralizing Sunday with a 36-26 loss at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Bills were spotted a 10-0 lead 5:49 into the game. They were plus-3 in the turnover battle. They were slightly better than the Jaguars in penalties and just a tad worse on third-down conversions.

Yet Buffalo still lost. Big.

The game felt like a blowout in the second half, when Gailey said "We got whipped physically on both sides of the line of scrimmage." They diverted from their 3-4 defense to play more four-man fronts in an attempt to get more physical and still played small. The Jaguars rushed for 216 yards.

The Bills head into their bye week 0-5. The last time that happened was 1985. They've allowed at least 30 points in four straight games. The last time that happened was never.

They'll have two weeks to reflect on their situation as possibly the worst team in the NFL.

"You don't like to look at anything for two weeks," Gailey said. "You have to live with this. You have to live with all of it for two weeks. You don't get a chance to do anything about it. That's the way it is."

They're one of three winless teams. The Carolina Panthers also dropped to 0-5 on Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers are 0-4 entering Sunday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I don't think anybody in that locker room expected us to be 0-5," Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "Everybody's got a lot of soul searching to do over the bye week."

Bills running back Fred Jackson said the bye week "gives us a chance to go look at ourselves in the mirror, see what we're doing wrong." That will be a two-way mirror. The front office will be looking, too, with the trade deadline nine days away.

What makes Sunday's loss a little tougher for the Bills is that former quarterback Trent Edwards walked out of Ralph Wilson Stadium a winner. Edwards started the first two games this year, but the Bills cut him two weeks ago. He stood on the sideline as Jacksonville's backup. The fans recognized him.

"They were telling me I sucked, and they were telling me that I was waste," Edwards said. "There were more than one to say that, but I hope that not everyone feels that way.

"Once we started winning, they started to quiet down a little."

For two weeks, the Bills won't have much to say either.

They're ensconced in the discussion over the worst team in the NFL, a legitimate candidate to go 0-16.

They're going to hear all sorts of criticism. They're going to be a national punch line.

"Who cares?" Bills safety George Wilson said. "All that matters are the 61 guys in this locker room, the coaches on this staff, the employees at One Bills Drive and our families. At the end of the day we know who's going to have our back whether we're winning or losing.

"We can't let the friendly fire begin. Guys can't start poking fingers. Losing games and 0-5? There's enough blame to go around on each individual guy, each individual phase. We just have to be positive and continue to work."