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Sunday, September 22, 2013
Bills look for positives in quirky loss

By Mike Rodak

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There's two ways to look at this one.

You can say that the Buffalo Bills had no business keeping Sunday's game close. The New York Jets sacked EJ Manuel eight times. The Jets were converting third downs with ease in the first half. The Bills were 0-for-3 in the red zone.

You can also say that the Bills should have won this game. After all, the Jets had 20 penalties, the most for a winning team since the 1951 Cleveland Browns (remember them?). Geno Smith threw two interceptions, and Manuel threw none.

So how are the Bills viewing their 27-20 loss to the Jets?

Finding the positives, of course.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone seemed remarkably even-keeled about the loss in his post-game news conference, even cracking a joke about his waistline when a reporter asked about the "thin" Bills secondary.

"I thought that we came back, defense started to play well, we were able to get the game to 20-20," he said. "At the end of the day, we weren't able to make that play to get us over the hump and they did."

It never seemed quite right, that 20-20 tie. The Bills never played well enough in this game to be in position to win it. Yet, they were, and players after the game held tight to that fact.

"That was a huge momentum swing, but they made more plays in the end," wide receiver Stevie Johnson said. "We competed. We fought all four quarters, but they ended up making more plays in the end."

"It was a game that, based on the turnover battle, should have gone the other way," linebacker Manny Lawson said. "But there is more to football than that. We have to continue to get turnovers and eliminate the big plays."

That 20-20 tie never seemed quite right, and it was the big play -- actually the biggest of the game, a 69-yard touchdown catch by Santonio Holmes -- that gave the Jets a lead they did not surrender.

But ask the 1-2 Bills, and they'll tell you that they're a few plays away from being 3-0. And heck, they're right.

"We played three games. We did some good things. We've done some bad things," Marrone said. "But in all three games, we've given ourselves the ability to be in a position to tie or win the game. We just have to keep working to get over that hump despite what maybe anybody else may say or think."