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Buffalo Bills Back up Talk of Turning Losing Culture Around

October 22nd, 2013 at 9:00 AM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101
Coming off a hugely disappointing 2012 season, the Buffalo Bills weren't expected to do much to wow fans in 2013.
 
Their 3-4 record thus far would seem to support that notion. Only the Bills' record isn't telling the entire story.
 
 
'IMG_3252' photo (c) 2012, infemous - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
 
The Bills are uncharacteristically in every game. Each of their games has sen a lead of seven points or fewer in the fourth quarter. Only the Browns game had a spread exceeding that, and that was only because of a Cleveland interception return for a touchdown inside the final two minutes.
 
Coming off a 2012 season that saw the Bills surrender at least 35 points six times, 45-plus four times and lose four times by at least 20 points, that's a welcome sight and sign of real, tangible progress.
"Everyone is just playing as hard as they possibly can," coach Doug Marrone said. "When we have a good opportunity or make the best of our opportunity, we come up on the right end of the score, at least from our standpoint … We have made mistakes. We do need to improve. We have a lot to work on. There’s no doubt about that. As far as our effort and trying to get things right, that’s there. Despite all the injuries and adversity, that we’ve had."
The Bills accomplished a couple feats Sunday, in particular, that haven't been seen out of Buffalo in recent years. They came back to win their first divisional road game since 2010, and their first road win of any sort since last October. Combined with the home win over Baltimore earlier this year, Buffalo's two come-from-behind wins are already more than have been seen in any single season in years.
"I’m extremely proud, and that’s a credit to the players and the coaches, to get the guys ready to play and go. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s not adding years to my life or any of our fans as they watch it, but at the same point we’re a team that’s fighting and trying to get over this," Marrone said.
Two of those efforts – Sunday's win and last week's overtime to Cincinnati (which featured a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback of its own) – were engineered by the team's de facto fourth-string quarterback. Thad Lewis has surpassed 200 yards in both of his starts in relief of EJ Manuel this year. He was seen on the field Sunday trying to pump his team up and bring an energy that had been absent from the Bills for much of this century.
 
He, of course, is making a case as an individual that he belongs in the NFL. But beyond that, he credits his teammates with bringing that energy when needed.
"It’s about the relentless individuals that know that we have what it takes to win, and we’re going to go out and do everything we can week in and week out. As long as we believe we can win, which we do every week, we’ll be fine," said Lewis, who won his first NFL start Sunday.
Stevie Johnson has been part of many of those lopsided losses in his Bills tenure. But the Bills wide receiver said this year's team has done a good job of not letting bad plays and series snowball into bad losses:
"Yeah, I pretty much credit the defense on that part. It’s primarily been on the offense to play as good as the defense is. When we get off the field and the defense comes up with a big play, just like (Sunday) they came up with a big play and they gave us hope, gave us a chance. This time we clicked."
To a person, the Bills aren't happy with still sitting below .500. But they agree this team has what it takes – seriously – to succeed. And they're intent on proving it.
"We haven’t been in the playoffs in 12 years. We know it’s out there. It’s not the elephant in the room," Marrone said. "We’re fighting, fighting, fighting and that’s what we’re going to keep on doing. At some point, it’s going to start to break. It’s going to break to go over the top."
 

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Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Bills, Football, NFL

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