The highly anticipated return of running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson Sunday was overshadowed, literally, by Bills tight end Scott Chandler. The 6-foot seven, 260-pounder hauled in two touchdowns for the Bills in their 52-28 loss to the New England Patriots.
Even in the midst of defeat, Chandler said there are some things the offense can take away from this game that they accomplished.
"Yeah, I mean as a team I think we can look at what we did in the first half. There's still more potential there. I think we had three turnovers in the first half. There's potential to be a lot better. We can't do anything about this game other than learn from it. So we need to get back into the film room and learn from this game and move on, and get ready for San Francisco."
After safety, Jairus Byrd, forced and recovered a fumble by Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski, Ryan Fitzpatrick pump faked and found Chandler on a deep pass to the right side of the end zone. Chandler made a phenomenal leaping catch over the outstretched arms of Patriots' safety Patrick Chung for a 24-yard score.
"We've been able to run a lot of the screens out there to the receivers and we were just able to bluff one and Fitz threw a great ball," said Chandler.
After Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 42-yard field that would've put New England ahead, Buffalo drove five plays, covering 68 yards that ended in a Chandler touchdown.
On a 2nd-and-three from New England' s 20, Fitzpatrick hit Chandler high over the middle to give Buffalo its first lead of the game.
"It was two safeties deep. I had the linebacker man-to-man, and I was able to beat him off the line," Chandler said. "Fitz put it up high and I was able to bring it down."
Chandler, now the team leader in touchdown catches with four, said the loss hurts, but there are plenty of games left to bounce back.
"We're just frustrated, you know, but it's a long season," Chandler said. "We're four games into the season and I think everybody feels like we're 0-4 after this game, but we're 2-2. We've got 12 games left and we've got one game next week against the 49ers. We need to learn what we can from this and move on and get ready for the 49ers."
Buffalo turned the ball over six times on the day, four coming from the arm of Fitzpatrick. The former Iowa Hawkeye said turnovers have hurt this team's chances of winning.
"I mean you don't turn the ball over," Chandler said. "That's the biggest thing. When we've taken care of the ball twice this year, we've won two games. When we haven't taken care of the ball we've lost two games. So I think that's pretty evident and that's where we are and we need to get better."
With just over 11 minutes left in the third quarter, Buffalo held a 21-7 advantage after a Donald Jones touchdown. After that the Patriots scored 35 unanswered points to put this game away and send Bills fans home early.
Chandler said the Bills defense really needed some time to catch their breath, but the offense didn't deliver for them.
"In the third quarter and beginning of the fourth quarter we really needed to get something going to get our defense off the field and sustain a drive. We weren't able to do that. That was the story of the game."