Marshawn Lynch took it upon himself to step forward Wednesday and publicly accept blame for the failures in the run game this season.
"I'm going to put it on me," said Lynch. "I'm the feature back here and I don't feel as the feature back I've played like it. I don't want to take anything away from my offensive line because as hard as we come in and we work and the extra meetings that we go through, the extra time we've been putting in to get it going, so I'm going to put that on me. There have been some key things that I've seen on film where I feel I could have made a better play or I could have had a little more patience and it would have been a better run."
While the decision to take the heat may not have been accurate, it was already having a positive impact in Buffalo's locker room not more than 10 minutes after Lynch had said his piece.
"I think that just shows what type of guy he is," said Duke Preston. "He knows and we know it's a group effort. For him to put it all on his shoulders shows the type of character he is and the type of guy we have in him. That makes me especially amped up to get him going."
"If he has to run harder then I have to block harder," said Langston Walker. "There's no other way to put it. He inspires me because a lot of times I think the play is over and he's carrying about five or six guys on his back and that's hard to do play in and play out. He gives his all. I've seen him throw up on the sidelines just from running so hard. In order to get things right this is what we have to do. We have to do a better job."
Buffalo's offensive linemen had been faced with answering a lot of questions about the problems the run game experienced through the middle of the season particularly against the 3-4 fronts of the Jets and Patriots.
The Bills will be facing that Jets front with anticipated Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kris Jenkins. But Lynch is not concerned with who they're facing as much as he is with improving on his performance.
"They're going to line up and they're going to come with it just like everybody else in the league," said Lynch of the Jets run front. "It doesn't stop. My game plan has never changed for the team that we play against. It's about what I've got to do and what we've got to do as a team."
Though most of Lynch's teammates understand why he pointed at himself they dismiss his opinion that he is the reason the run game has been inconsistent this season.
"We know that's not the case," said fellow back Fred Jackson. "I applaud him for saying that, but it's a team sport and we've got to help him. It's not his fault by any means."
"It's certainly not his fault," said Lee Evans. "Everybody is invested in it somehow. When the running game is struggling that's on everybody. It's not just one person causing things to be the way they have been offensively. That's just the reality of it. One person can't come in and miraculously tap the magic wand and change it. It's collectively as an offense."
But the approach that Lynch has taken is the right one. In a locker room where the only assignment of blame has been to oneself Buffalo's featured back has followed suit.
"This is the point in time where people, we're trying to figure out how to right our ship," said Walker. "And nobody here is going to point the finger at anybody else. Unfortunately he's the guy that has the ball in his hands. At the same time we've got to block better for him. The hole has to be there because he can't do it by himself. It's unfortunate, but it's true it's a team game and there are 11 guys on the field for a reason. We all have to be accountable for what's going on."
"You hold yourself to a high standard and any time that you're losing you look at yourself and say, 'What is it that I can do better?' You take a lot of that fault when things aren't going well," said Evans. "That's just part of the competitive nature of this business."
And that competitive nature is what will be fueling Lynch on Sunday to make good on a season he feels has gone terribly wrong.