ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Running back Fred Jackson couldn’t find much consolation in how the Buffalo Bills nearly won their first game of the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t feel any better when informed his quarterback rating is second in the NFL to Peyton Manning.
And defensive end Marcus Stroud was left to resort to sarcasm when reminded how the Bills have now allowed 34 or more points in five straight games.
“Oh, we just enjoy it,” Stroud said rolling his eyes on Monday, before turning serious. “Come on, man, it’s something we’re not satisfied with. We’re working, we’re trying to get better every week. We gave up points, point blank.”
There was little humor and no satisfaction in the Bills locker room a day after they dropped to 0-6, and were left as the league’s only winless team following a 37-34 overtime loss at Baltimore.
As close as the score was, and as impressive as the Bills were in scrapping against one of the NFL’s top defenses to overcome a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime, all that mattered was the big zero left in their win column.
“You try to look for consolation and stuff,” Jackson said. “But at the end of the day it’s about winning a football game. And we didn’t do that. We’re not going to dwell on the fact that we did lose. But at the same time, it still stings knowing we were able to go out and move the ball like that, and still come up with an L.”
The question for the Bills _ off to their worst start in 25 years _ is whether they can build on this performance next weekend when they travel to play Kansas City (4-2).
“It’s a step. I don’t know how big it is,” coach Chan Gailey said. “If we can build on it, then it was a decent step. If we don’t do anything with it, then it wasn’t much.”
In losing, the Bills squandered a breakthrough performance by a Fitzpatrick-led offense that generated 506 yards _ the eighth most in team history and most since a 42-23 win at Seattle to close the 2000 season. With 374 yards passing, Fitzpatrick also became the first Bills player in 60 games to break the 300-yard mark.
The former backup making his fourth consecutive start became the first in the NFL to throw four touchdown passes in a game this season. And despite two interceptions, Fitzpatrick finished with a 106.2 passer rating to improve his season number to 102, a little over a point behind Manning.
The statistics didn’t brighten his mood.
“As a quarterback, you’re judged by wins and losses,” Fitzpatrick said. “That’s the quarterback’s responsibility, to bring your team to wins no matter what it takes, no matter what the stats are. And I’m looking forward to getting that first win.”
The Bills still have much to improve upon.
Against Baltimore, Buffalo was undone by four turnovers _ including tight end Shawn Nelson being stripped of the ball in overtime that led directly to Billy Cundiff’s decisive 38-yard field goal. The Ravens scored 17 points off turnovers, including a pair of touchdowns scored 39 seconds apart bridging halftime.
That spoiled a stout effort produced by a Bills defense that held Baltimore to converting two of 11 third-down chances and was better in stopping the run. After allowing an average 230 yards rushing in its past three games, Buffalo held the Ravens to 135.
The Bills pass defense remains a problem, allowing three touchdowns receiving for a fourth straight game.
In having given up 183 points in its past five games, Buffalo became the first team to allow 34 points a game over that stretch since the St. Louis Rams did so spanning the 2007 and ‘08 seasons, according to STATS LLC.
Linebacker Reggie Torbor attempted to keep things in perspective by calling the team’s performance against Baltimore a potential tipping point.
“You can be encouraged. But it’s such a fine line between, `Hey, we made a good step,’ and not being complacent with a loss,” Torbor said. “Now we need to put the thing together. That’s why it’s very important to not say, `Hey, we almost got them.’ That’s not where we want to be. I think that’s very dangerous as a football team to fall into that.”
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