McDermott, Bills hope to grow from setback against Jets
By MARK LUDWICZAK
Nov. 03, 2017
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott got a head start on film review during the team's plane ride home on Thursday night.
His team could use the extra work.
The Bills suffered their first big setback of a promising season in a 34-21 loss to the New York Jets on Thursday. With a chance to impress on a national stage and get off to their best start in 24 years, the Bills instead showed that they're not ready for prime time just yet.
"This is a building process and sometimes there's pain, and we experienced a lot of that last night and that's not fun," McDermott said. "Sometimes you have to go through adversity to grow, and so that's the most important thing that we can focus on and control right now."
It wasn't necessarily shocking that the Bills lost to the Jets, who have performed better than expected this year. But it was surprising how the Bills lost — with problems in just about every area.
Four days after LeSean McCoy ran for 151 yards in a win over the Oakland Raiders, the running game was nowhere to be found. McCoy had 25 yards on 12 attempts for an average of 2.1 yards per carry.
The offensive line also struggled in the passing game. Tyrod Taylor was under constant pressure and was sacked seven times. He was sacked deep in his own end on Buffalo's first offensive play, setting the tone from the start.
Buffalo's usually stout defense had no answers for New York's rushing attack. The Jets ran for 194 yards, gashing the Bills in a variety of different ways. Matt Forte had two touchdowns while averaging 5.5 yards per carry, and Bilal Powell burst for a 51-yard gain in the second half that featured three missed tackles in the open field.
The most surprising development was Buffalo's struggles with turnovers. The Bills had four takeaways in the win over the Raiders and entered the game with the league's best turnover ratio at plus-14. Against the Jets, Buffalo surrendered the ball three times.
"This was somewhat uncharacteristic I would say overall of our football team to this point in time," McDermott said. "That said, we have to make the proper adjustments from this game."
The Bills could be getting some reinforcements back before their Week 10 game against the New Orleans Saints. Tight end Charles Clay (knee) and cornerback E.J. Gaines (hamstring) are close to returning, McDermott said.
"They made a tremendous amount of progress," McDermott said. "They've done some good things. I know Charles for a fact worked out last night and so they're both heading in the right direction."
Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin could also make his Bills debut against New Orleans. The Bills acquired Benjamin from Carolina before the trade deadline in exchange for third- and seventh-round picks. He has the ability to be an immediate upgrade at a position of need for Buffalo.
"He's going to stick around this weekend here and he's already been in the playbook," McDermott said. "He's working hard and he wants to be around through the weekend and get up to speed as quickly as possible. That's what we anticipate, yes, if everything goes as planned."
The Bills still find themselves in a good position at 5-3 halfway through the season.
"I would say that we've certainly done some good things," McDermott said. "We are still building. We're not where we need to be. We've won five games, which I'm proud of the fact that we've done that. We have to continue to build, continue to do things the right way."