TORONTO — London Fletcher has been around the NFL long enough to know that games like Sunday's are going to happen.
That's why he took a calm, measured approach to his postgame session with the media following the Washington Redskins' 23-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Rogers Centre.
"I think everybody's frustrated we've lost three consecutive games," the 14th year linebacker said. "We haven't played well enough to win any of the games."
Fletcher might be the only one who can't say that about himself after Sunday's effort. Facing his former team, he turned in one of the most inspired performances on either side of the ball, racking up 20 tackles (12 solo), a half sack, two quarterback hits, an interception and a pass defensed. He now has 43 tackles in the Redskins' seven games.
For a player who was questionable to play because of a hamstring injury, it was just the bounce-back performance he needed following a miserable showing in a Week 7 loss to Carolina.
"He played phenomenal," fellow linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "Fletch is a leader of this team. He played a great game against his former team."
Fletcher spent five seasons with the Bills from 2002 to 2006. Despite starting all 80 games during that stretch, Buffalo let him go after the '06 season, believing his best football was behind him.
He has shown during his first four seasons in Washington (at least 87 tackles in each) that's not the case. That he played Sunday after dealing with an injury all week should come as no surprise - he appeared in his 215th straight game and made his 170th straight start.
The filled stat sheets mean little after a loss, however.
"Defensively, we don't want to give up touchdowns," he said. "I think we had good practices, good preparation, but it takes more than just that. That's the good foundation you need in order to give yourself a chance to be successful on Sundays. Hopefully it just carries over on game day. It didn't happen for us [Sunday.]"
Fletcher had his rough moments, too. He was in coverage on both of the touchdown passes caught by Bills tight end Scott Chandler. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick floated the ball over Fletcher's head in the first quarter for a 20-yard touchdown. On the Bills' first drive of the second half, Chandler beat Fletcher on a post route for another touchdown, this one gave the Bills a commanding 20-0 lead.
After that third-quarter play, the Fox television cameras caught Fletcher having an animated discussion with cornerback DeAngelo Hall on the sideline.
Fletcher, though, refused to point any fingers after the game.
"I wouldn't agree that my teammates didn't play with passion. The score can be taken or misconstrued by guys' effort. I don't think anybody's out there not giving effort," he said. "That's not the case. They made more plays than us, and that's pretty much the bottom line."
"I don't know what was going on, but it's just frustration. I think guys care. Guys want to win and want to do well so when things aren't going right tempers can flare. Especially in a game like this, competition and emotions run high. That just comes with it," defensive lineman Barry Cofield said.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan agreed, saying, "Every once in a while, it happens in the emotions of a football game. Sometimes, when there's a missed assignment, some guys get very emotional during the game."
Fletcher stopped short of calling the loss rock bottom for the reeling Redskins.
"I think we can bounce back from it," he said. "It's going to take effort from everybody. Everybody has to play better."