Corey Graham's takeaway day shrouded in loss


Understandably, the theme of many post-game interviews following a loss could be frustration. Buffalo's 24-17 loss to Denver Sunday ran along those same lines, and no one sounded more exasperated than veteran CB Corey Graham.

Graham had two of Buffalo's three takeaways in the game, but the Bills were unable to score off of any of those turnovers.

"Yeah it's frustrating," CB Corey Graham said. "You obviously want to get points whenever you can. I was trying my best to get there. It's unfortunate that we weren't able to score points but you just have to keep playing."

Graham, who made a leaping interception on a deep post pass by Peyton Manning that was intended for Emmanuel Sanders at the Bills 20-yard line, returned it 60 yards. He had the Bills, down just 7-3 at the time, in great field position at the end of his return.

Buffalo's offense was set to begin their drive at the Denver 20-yard line, but a holding penalty on the return wiped out all but 20 yards of Graham's return on the play giving the Bills the ball at their own 40 instead. They went three-and-out and punted.

"Frustrating whenever you lose, no matter how it happens," QB Kyle Orton, who had a pair of costly interceptions in the third quarter when the game was still within reach including one on the extra possession gained on the Stephon Gilmore interception.

"Yeah, it was definitely frustrating. Penalties and turnovers, things like that are definitely going to hurt you playing against a good team," said RB Fred Jackson.

As consistent as Denver has been since Peyton Manning came to town in 2012, which included a 20-2 record at home over that span heading into Sunday's game, Buffalo's defense held the Broncos passing game in check.

Manning had just 14 completions for 173 passing yards, no touchdowns (ending a streak of 51 consecutive games with a TD pass) and was picked off twice.

Graham also scooped up the first red zone giveaway by the Broncos all season after safety Duke Williams forced a fumble on Denver TE Jacob Tamme at the Bills 10-yard line. Buffalo's offense had only 32 seconds left in the half and couldn't manufacture points off the takeaway.

It was another stout effort by Buffalo's defense. They didn't just neutralize Manning, but the offense as a whole. The Broncos managed only 15 first downs, were 4-10 on third down conversions, and ran just 49 plays to Buffalo's 75. That's why a glassy-eyed Graham felt the Bills deserved a better outcome.

"We had an opportunity to make some plays but when it all came down to it, we didn't make enough," said Graham, who had an interception and fumble recovery in the game. "We have to find ways to put points on the board. Those guys ran the ball all over us. Things just didn't go our way."

Field position was crucial to the outcome. Denver had an average drive start of their own 42-yard line while Buffalo averaged their own 19.

WR Sammy Watkins feels the offense has to get going earlier, so they're not playing catch up.

"[Getting points in the first half] is something we harp on every week, and that is something we got to get better at in the red zone and putting points on the board," he said. "I think we got aggressive in the second half and we start moving the ball, being aggressive. We just need to change our whole approach in the first half, first quarter, and how we approach the game. I think once we get that killer-instinct mindset to go down field no matter what, no matter who we're playing, we'll be a great offense."

Now at 7-6 the Bills are in danger of falling out of the AFC playoff race. With three games remaining in the regular season there is no longer any margin for error.

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