Buffalo had intentions of rebounding from a humbling division loss at on Sunday, but what they encountered in San Francisco was their worst nightmare. A defeat of epic proportions was what befell the Bills as their defense surrendered a team record 621 yards of offense, eclipsing the 580 they gave up last week in a devastating 45-3 loss at San Francisco.
"After last week I would've bet whatever that this team would've come out and played a lot better than we did," said Nick Barnett. "Now going on two weeks and giving up that many run yards and giving up the plays that we gave up is just disappointing and deflating."
In giving up over 600 yards of offense the Bills became the first team since the 1950 Yankees to give up more than 550 yards of offense in back-to-back games. Naturally it was the first time that also happened in team history.
Buffalo also became the first NFL club in league history to give up 300 yards passing and 300 yards rushing in the same game as 49ers quarterback Alex Smith had 303 on just 18 completions including three touchdowns. San Francisco also rushed for 311 yards averaging over six yards a carry.
"There's obviously something I'm not doing correctly with this football team in the second half," said head coach Chan Gailey. "We've been in two games in a row at halftime and played extremely poor in the second half and that's as nice as you can put it for two weeks in a row. We're not playing physical like we should and we're not doing the things we need to do."
The Bills were in the midst of a tight game midway through the first half as the score was tied at three after each team put together field goal drives, but suddenly San Francisco began stringing together big plays and Buffalo couldn't respond or recover.
After Buffalo's field goal that tied the game at three, Alex Smith made quick work of the Bills pass defense. On a 1st-and-15 he hit Michael Crabtree over the middle with a 10-yard pass, but a missed tackle allowed Crabtree to gain another 26 yards on the play to move into Buffalo territory. One play later Smith hit Kyle Williams with a back shoulder throw, and Williams then eluded Aaron Williams to gain the last 15 yards to the end zone (10-3) with 10 minutes left in the half.
Following a Bills punt, San Francisco mounted a lengthy scoring drive that began at their own three-yard line, but George Wilson made a big play when he forced a fumble on a Colin Kaepernick end around that was recovered by Marcell Dareus at the Bills 17 with under a minute to play in the half.
Buffalo's offense tried to move the ball quickly down the field to move into field goal range with all three of their timeouts at their dispos
al. On a 3rd-and-6 at their own 21 Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Scott Chandler for a first down over the middle, but tackler Patrick Willis forced a fumble that was recovered by the 49ers at the Bills 28.
One play later Crabtree was wide open on a blown coverage in the back left corner of the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown reception (17-3).
"Obviously the turnover right before half really hurt," said Gailey.
In the second half Buffalo's problems went from bad to worse. After a sack of Fitzpatrick set up long down and distance the Bills couldn't convert and had to punt.
The 49ers again got yardage in big chunks with Vernon Davis pulling in a 24-yard reception, followed by a Crabtree catch for 10 more. Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick then ripped off runs of 31 and 15 yards to set up 1st-and-goal from the Bills nine-yard line. Gore would go in from a yard out two plays later for a 24-3 advantage.
"They beat us in the second half. They beat us bad," said Stephon Gilmore. "They did their job and we gave up too many plays. We didn't tackle. We gave up too many big plays and it hurt us."
Ryan Fitzpatrick and the offense looked to be putting together a good drive. T.J. Graham went 19 yards to convert a 3rd-and-4 and Brad Smith followed with a Wildcat run for 35 yards off the left end to the Niners' 20-yard line. Fitzpatrick however, threw an ill advised pass off his back foot to the right corner of the end zone. It was underthrown and intercepted by Chris Culliver at the San Francisco six-yard line. The Bills quarterback wish he had it to do over again.
"I'd probably just not throw it and try to scramble and get back to the line of scrimmage or throw it out of bounds, but it wasn't a wise decision," said Fitzpatrick. "Obviously that's not the way we want to come out and play. Offensively, we just never got anything going. I feel like that's not who we are as an offense, but unfortunately that's what we put out there."
Buffalo's offense managed just 204 yards of offense, about one-third of San Francisco's output and converted just 2-of-10 third downs.
The 49ers shut the door from there marching 94 yards on 13 plays with Mario Manningham faking out Aaron Williams for a wide open 10-yard touchdown reception (31-3) less than a minute into the fourth quarter.
San Francisco would pile it on from there with a seven-play 67-yard drive with Colin Kaepernick taking it in on a 16-yard run for a 38-3 score. Anthony Dixon capped the Niners offensive day with a three-yard touchdown run with just over a minute remaining for the game's final points (45-3).
"Guys have got to step up and make more plays," said Barnett. "Not a sense of urgency to get to the ball and blow people up. It's not the way I imagined the defense would be this year. It's not the way I imagined us playing all the way around, all three phases of the ball. This one hurts as well as last week hurts."
The Bills will search for answers as they try to rebound from two of the worst back-to-back defeats in team history as Buffalo's point differential in their last two losses is 97-31. For the second time in as many weeks Gailey referenced his team's mental toughness.
"I think they hurt and I think they get rattled and that's my responsibility to not let them get rattled," he said. "When things start going bad you've got to be strong mentally. I've got to find a way to get our team to that point.
"I have no answer and I have no excuse, but I've got to find the answers. That's my job. I've got to find the answers."
Buffalo (2-3) will remain on the west coast spending the week in Phoenix in anticipation of their Week 6 game at Arizona (3-1) with a 4:25 pm kickoff.