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Win was nice, but the Bills are 'toast'

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Posted: Monday, December 3, 2012 9:20 am

ORCHARD PARK — Could we have a little reality check, please?

Yeah, it was nice to see the Bills win a game ... and do it easily.

But Sunday’s 34-18 victory over Jacksonville at rainy Ralph Wilson Stadium did little more than make Buffalo 5-7.

Oh, there are some severely myopic fans who will conjure a scenario by which the Bills can still make the playoffs ... but the reality is they’re toast.

Winning was nice, but Buffalo got no good news from the scoreboard yesterday afternoon.

Both Indianapolis (8-4) and Pittsburgh (7-5) got dramatic come-from-behind wins on the road and Cincinnati (7-5) held off the Raiders in Oakland.

And, oh yeah, besides the Bills, Miami and the Jets are also 5-7 and of those six teams, only over the Dolphins does Buffalo have a tiebreaker advantage in the logjam battle for two wild-card spots.

AND THERE’S something else.

The worst NFL team can beat the best ... the whole “Any given Sunday” thing.

But face it, the Bills didn’t just beat Atlanta or Houston.

With the loss, the Jaguars are 2-10, tied with Kansas City — which got an impressive, emotional win over Carolina yesterday — for the league’s worst record.

That is to say, one of those two teams will likely get the first overall draft pick next April.

The reality is, Jacksonville came in last in the league in sacks, second-to-last in yards surrendered and fourth worst in rushing yards and points given up.

Offensively, the Jags were last in the league in yards gained, second-worst in rushing yards and third-down efficiency, third from last in passing yards and fourth from the bottom in points scored.

In short, coach Mike Mularkey’s team is statistically the worst in the league ... including the Chiefs.

THAT’S NOT to totally dismiss the Bills’ victory ... but clearly some perspective is in order.

Buffalo’s players talk about ending the season on a five-game win streak.

But next up are the Rams (5-6-1) at “The Ralph.” Yeah, the ones who tied the 49ers — who destroyed the Bills 45-3 —  in San Francisco and beat them in overtime yesterday in St. Louis.

A week later, it’s Seattle — which just beat division-leading Chicago in overtime on the road — at Toronto.

Winning out is hardly a lock.

Afterward, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score, maintained,  “We have a lot of belief in our locker room.  We’re not in the most ideal situation, but we lose today’s game we know we’re out.

“(If) we continue to win like we did today and we have some home games coming up ... we’re going to have a chance at it and I think everybody in the locker room knows that.”

And the fact that Buffalo prevailed over a two-win team was insignificant to him.

“They’ve been playing a lot better of late and I’ve been on teams … when I was in Cincinnati we started the season 0-8 and had a 4-3-1 finish,” Fitzpatrick recalled. “There’s a lot of pride for players in the NFL.

“You cannot come in and take anybody lightly. As you saw, they fought all game long and give them credit for that. (But) at the end of the day we felt like this was one we should win and needed to win.”

WHEN ASKED where an effort like Sunday’s was in the first 11 games, wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who left in the second half with a hamstring injury, noted, “Everything in the past has happened already. What we can control is these next games and that’s pretty much what we have on our mind.

“We got this first win, now we have to double it up and continue. We know we need help, obviously, but if we continue to do our job our chances of being in the playoffs are more likely to happen.”

And defensive end Mario Williams, who had a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery all on one play, added,  “You obviously want to (play that way) from the very beginning of the season.

“What happened before is the past ... we just have to keep pushing. We’re still there. Even though nobody else thinks of it that way, we do. We still have games left. Anything can happen.”

Really?

(Chuck Pollock, the Times Herald sports editor, can be reached at cpollock@oleantimesherald.com)

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