Bills give game away

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- It had all the makings of the signature game Buffalo Bills' quarterback J.P. Losman is so anxious to deliver.

Start with a career-high 328 passing yards on a wickedly windy afternoon to alert the stats geeks.

Move on to running back Willis McGahee complementing his QB with a personal best 150 rushing yards.

And to get things started, a 51-yard touchdown pass to Roscoe Parish on the third play of the game to garnish the tailgate experience of the 72,067 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

But instead of it being a day to seize control of his team and his town, Losman slipped to the wrong side of the line between gunslinger and goat.

Two fumbles, a botched bootleg on the Jets' goal line and an interception trumped all that good work in a 28-20 loss to the New York Jets (2-1) that wasn't even that close.

It was a tough lesson for a quarterback who is clearly progressing in his second year as Bills starter.

And it was an opportunity squandered for a team that came into it's home opener at 1-1 looking to add to the noise, not see the stadium empty early in the fourth quarter.

Losman knows there will be days like this as he earns his stripes, and so do his fans.

They love him when he makes perfect throws like the 31-yard fourth quarter beauty into the wind to Josh Reed.

They wanted to rip his heart out four plays later when, on third and goal from the Jets one, he was gobbled up on a naked bootleg for a loss of nine yards to slow the comeback attempt.

As feisty off the field as on it, Losman wasn't in any mood for taking stock of the public opinion afterwards.

"We don't believe the hype, we don't care what people are saying, whether it's good or bad," the 25-year-old Californian said when asked about dropping a winnable game against one of the few teams in the AFC with lower expectations than Buffalo.

"It doesn't matter to us. So what, it didn't happen? We still have a chance to win the division."

They won't if they let many more opportunities flutter off in the Western New York wind, however.

Losman wasn't the only high-profile villain on a day when the Jets' biggest edge was avoiding mistakes. Not nearly as flashy as his Buffalo counterpart, Chad Pennington completed 19 of 29 for 183 yards but avoided turning over the ball.

All that running by McGahee was rendered moot when he missed a block on a third-quarter play that led to a Losman sack, fumble and 32-yard return for a touchdown by the Jets' Victor Hobson.

That fumble was the flashpoint, but Losman's other cough-up in the first half might have cost the Bills a field goal.

And his interception to complete the turnover trifecta aborted another drive.

First-year Bills coach Dick Jauron had a difficult time digesting the stats, which were tilted in the Bills' favour much like their status as six-point favourites.

In fact, the numbers looked like a work of fiction. Besides the benchmark production from his quarterback -- the highest total by a Bills quarterback since 2002 -- Buffalo outgained the Jets in total yards (475-256) and in first downs (26-15).

But it was the number that jumped off the page and right onto the scoreboard that sobered the day.

"It was pretty much the story of the game," Jauron said of the three Bills turnovers. "It is the one statistic in this game that holds true."

He may be tired of doing it the hard way, but for Losman, it was yet another lesson learned.

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- The difference: Bills QB J.P. Losman threw for 328 yards but turnovers cost Buffalo a victory.

- Rushing leaders:

NY: Barlow, 31 yds

Buf: McGahee, 150 yds

- Passing leaders:

NY: Pennington, 183 yds

Buf: Losman, 328 yds

- Receiving leaders:

NY: Coles, 78 yds

Buf: Evans, 107 yds


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