The Buffalo Bills have not been very good at Ralph Wilson Stadium this season, and with a must-win game at home this week against the Browns, the Bills will need to change that misfortune in a hurry.
Buffalo has lost big games at home to the San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. They gave the game to Kansas City, while looking under-prepared for the Chargers and Patriots. For some reason, the Bills don't seem to play well with the home crowd behind them.
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"I just talked to them about it," head coach Doug Marrone said. "We have not done a very good job here. It's been a long time since we've won a game at our stadium, so I talked to our players about that right after I brought them up after practice."
The home crowd has done its job in every game at Ralph Wilson Stadium this season. There is plenty of energy to feed off of and fans do their best to try to will the team to a victory. Still, Buffalo seems to have a hard time being effective on their home field. It could be a matter of too much hype or energy. Marrone says the team is simply not executing at home.
"We just haven't played well. Execution. [Last week] we played well in all three phases, which we haven't done before. That's always a challenge," Marrone said. "You set this level. You're able to go out there, you're able to play well in all three phases and now you've got to be consistent at it. It starts with me making sure and it goes down through the coaches to the players themselves. Once you've shown what you can do and have the capability of, you've got to continue that the rest of the year. When you start going up and down, that's when you're not a good football team. We have a chance to be a good football team and be consistent, but we have to go out there and do it on Sundays."
Consistency is a big part of Buffalo's issues this season. After the first two games, the Bills looked like a playoff team. They went on to lose the next two, against teams they should have beaten. They dropped two games in a row, putting a serious damper on their playoff hopes before manhandling the New York Jets. The Bills have an issue being consistent, which translates to mediocrity. Bills quarterback Kyle Orton understands that the Bills need to be consistent in order to be considered a good football team.
"It doesn't really matter where we play," Orton said. "We've got to do our jobs and when we do that in spurts we've shown that we can be good and if we do that for a whole game pretty much like we did last week, we showed we can be really good. It's just the challenge for us is consistency and making a habit."
The Bills will need to duplicate last week's performance if they hope to have any chance of making the playoffs. The Browns are a tough AFC opponent that is also fighting for a wild card position, if not a division title. The Bills will need to figure out a way to be consistent, and that has proven to be easier said than done for this team this season.