Bills take two steps forward, one step back

Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis runs away from Bills linebacker Andra Davis in...

Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis runs away from Bills linebacker Andra Davis in Foxborough, Massachusetts on September 26, 2010. (ADAM HUNGER/Reuters)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:08 AM ET

The Buffalo Bills took major steps forward on offence Sunday, unfortunately for the team, its defence took another step back.

The previously laughably-bad Buffalo offence put up 30 points after managing 17 total through the first two weeks of the season, but the D allowed 38 to New England a week after conceding 34 to Green Bay.

The 0-3 Bills appear to be on the verge of another lost season, but the team at least showed some signs of life under Ryan Fitzpatrick, in for the benched Trent Edwards.

Fitzpatrick, unlike his predecessor, did not look terrified to throw the ball - he threw a pair of passes for touchdowns. His precision early opened up the running game. However, he also threw a pair of picks on throws that sailed high which ended up costly.

Still, Buffalo came in averaging a league-worst 89 passing yards per outing, but Fitzpatrick threw for 247 giving his teammates confidence.

He will have to do it again against stronger defences before anybody can say Buffalo finally has a capable quarterback - New England came into the game 28th in passing defence.

Even so, yes the Bills lost their 14th straight to their divisional rivals, but the team hung around all day and did manage to end an ugly streak of 30 straight failed third and 10-plus yard conversion attempts.

As well, highly touted rookie back C.J. Spiller showed that he has the ability to be a spectacularly effective weapon for the Bills picking up 228 total yards.

Spiller showed his blazing speed and versatility throughout the day, scampered for a touchdown after receiving a pass from Fitzpatrick and later made the Pats look silly on a 95-yard kick return for a score.

It is hard to fault the Bills much for allowing Tom Brady and Randy Moss to light them up -- they've made a habit of that throughout their illustrious careers - but Buffalo's defence must be better.

Wright goes wrong

It was a tough day at the office for Cleveland Browns cornerback Eric Wright.

Though the fourth-year player notched a season-high five tackles and even got a lick in on Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, he was beaten three times for touchdowns by Anquan Boldin.

Flacco hit Boldin with two short TD passes early and then Boldin fooled Wright on a 27 yard catch-and-run in the fourth quarter after Cleveland had rallied to take a 17-14 lead.

Boldin, the former Arizona wideout, had eight receptions for 144 yards.

Cleveland managed to hold star Ravens running back Ray Rice to 80 yards on the ground while getting an unexpected 144 yards rushing out of its own back, Peyton Hillis, but Boldin's domination of Wright proved the difference.

Quick hits

Washington rookie offensive tackle Trent Williams missed Sunday's game against the Rams with a knee injury. Williams was selected No. 4 overall by the Redskins ... Cleveland did just fine without injured running back Jerome Harrison, with the aforementioned Hillis rumbling for 144 yards. Harrison managed 85 rushing yards combined over the first two games of the season ... The St. Louis Rams lost star running back Steven Jackson to an injured groin in the second quarter against Washington. Jackson had earlier scored the Rams' first rushing touchdown since last November ... A pre-game telecast reported Chiefs coach Todd Haley passed around cheese to Kansas City players following a win last weekend that moved the team to 2-0. Haley learned the trick as an assistant to Bill Parcells.

Parcells used to give out cheese and warn players not to get too overconfident and get caught in traps. The Chiefs moved to 3-0 by crushing San Francisco 31-10 ... FOX reported Sunday that the NFL has unveiled plans for a potential lockout to league-office employees for the first time. Beginning in April, commissioner Roger Goodell and other senior staff will take pay cuts. Later, most league staff would take unpaid time off. Then there would be deeper pay cuts and wage freezes. A work stoppage has been expected for some time.

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca


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