Losing under Losman

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:07 AM ET

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- When it comes to airing an opinion on Buffalo Bills quarterback J.P. Losman, at least sports fans of Western New York have a rallying cry.

It sounds like this: "Go Sabres."

The struggling quarterback was by no means the only culprit in yesterday's 28-6 dismantling at the hands of the New England Patriots.

But now at 2-5 and fading fast, the Bills will have to decide how much longer they can suffer through Losman's losing, learning curve.

It had to be especially disheartening for Bills general manager Marv Levy and coach Dick Jauron, who didn't have to look far for a comparison of the good and the god-awful.

Same for the 72,180 at Ralph Wilson Stadium, who saw once again Patriot quarterback Tom Brady's mastery of football's most pivotal position.

New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who usually saves his best hits for the field, had a not-so-subtle post-game shot at Losman that is difficult to dispute.

"We did what we wanted to, we put the game in his hands," Bruschi said of building a 21-3 lead and making the Bills play catchup. "We want to have him sit back there in the pocket and see if he can beat our coverage."

The answer, resoundingly, is no. Not against New England's particularly tough defence. Not against Detroit a week ago. Not even against the New York Jets earlier this season.

When Losman faces pressure, he makes mistakes. When Brady faces pressure, he makes you pay.

With a bye week before facing the Green Bay Packers, Losman and his employers have plenty to ponder.

"I'm sure he can't feel real confident," Jauron said of Losman's two-fumble, one interception afternoon. "There were some things he needs to do better."

With a straight face, Brady said he has to get better too, but how more efficient can he become?

Patriots coach Bill Belichick had a pretty good idea what he has when he felt the team's leading receiver, Deion Branch, was dispensable and traded him to the Seattle Seahawks.

So how does Brady adapt? He creates his own weapons. How about touchdown throws to Chad Jackson and Doug Gabriel (who?) yesterday.

"We have turnover here every year and there's some growing pains adjusting to the new system," linebacker Mike Vrabel said.

"But that's the evolution of a 16-game season. You fill guys in and you get better as you go."

If a team that has won three Super Bowls in the past five seasons can slip under the radar, the Patriots are doing just that.

Quietly -- and for the most part, efficiently -- they are 5-1 and seemingly in control of the AFC East.

When the Pats built up a 14-3 first quarter lead yesterday, there wasn't much hope for the hosts. Of course, it didn't help that the two drives in which they efficiently moved the ball in the second quarter ended with Losman turnovers.

Afterward, Brady griped about the Buffalo weather and the banging he took from the Bills defence, which sacked him three times yesterday.

But Brady can't dislike playing the Bills too much -- he now has 13 wins over the Bills, more than any other NFL team. The Patriots have now won seven in a row and 12 of the past 13 against their AFC East pseudo rivals.

"We let (Brady) get banged around a little and we took that personally," offensive tackle Matt Light said. "That's the kind of leader he is. He's not going to pass the buck and try to blame anyone.

"We know that he demands a lot out of everybody but he's probably going to be the first guy to go jump in the pond. It's just our job to meet his expectations."

As they are learning in these parts, some expectations are more realistic than others.


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