As George Wilson thought about the team's most recent loss in the visiting locker room late Sunday afternoon in Foxborough, he could only shake his head. In three of their four losses this season he and his teammates have been forced to play from behind late, which puts more pressure on the players and the coordinator calling plays to make something happen.
On occasion they've been able to turn in a potential game-changing play, like the fumble recovery Wilson made in the fourth quarter Sunday. But capitalizing on those plays to turn things around in their favor hasn't come to fruition often enough of late.
In an ideal world the Bills would be ahead on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter and controlling the clock with a run game. But it simply hasn't happened.
"We have to do a better job of putting ourselves in a position to win early and not have to rally the troops and try to make a big play or force a big play late in the game," said Wilson. "We have to find a way to get the job done early so we're not having to scramble and try to force something to happen by being overly aggressive to get another opportunity for our offense."
"We are in a slump," said head coach Dick Jauron of his team. "There's no doubt about that. We've got to get out of it. We've got to shake it and get out of it and just find ways to make things work because they haven't been working."
Buffalo has had big plays the past couple of weeks, they've just a bit too few and far between. Sometimes they've come a bit too late in the game to have the impact the Bills are looking for.
"Playmakers have to make plays and we aren't getting enough of that," said Chris Kelsay. "When we were winning games, like San Diego, what jumps out in my mind is Kawika's (Mitchell) two big plays. We're in this league because we're playmakers. We're just not doing that. We're not getting our plays when we need to get them."
Conversely, Buffalo has also made some unforced errors of their own and at times those mistakes have robbed them of opportunities to make something happen.
"I think there's been a few too many negative plays that haven't allowed us to get going in the right direction and have the right attitude to battle back from those certain plays," said Trent Edwards. "For some reason or another those negative plays continue to happen and we need to fix those as soon as possible so we can get back to where we need to be. And if those plays do happen we need to have a better attitude in terms of responding to those negative plays."
According to the players Jauron's message on Monday was to have a greater belief in themselves and each other that they can and will make something big happen in the game.
"That's something that coach Jauron touched on," said Fred Jackson. "We have to get our swagger back. These past few weeks we haven't had that normal swagger that we usually have and I think we're going to work on that a lot in practice on Wednesday and try to get that back because that's when we were going out and we were having fun and making plays. So I think that's something we want to address amongst each other and get back to how we were playing when we were 4-0."
What's ironic is the players on the whole don't believe they've changed their approach much since that 4-0 start. But they realize they've lost that momentum and big play ability. They'll need some help from the coaching staff to begin to dictate play to their opponents again, but the players are the ones that have to make it a reality.
"We just have to find a way to force things and not sit back and wait and let things come to us," said Wilson. "We've got to be eager and come out of the gate from that opening kickoff to try to impose our will on them. We have to try to win the game early, not always try to pull it out on the last drive, where the defense has to get a three-and-out and the offense has to score a touchdown. We need to do a better job of coming out fast and make some plays and put ourselves in a position where we have the upper hand in the fourth quarter and we're not the ones scratching and clawing trying to get back in the game."