Winless Bills accentuate the positive

LYLE FITZSIMMONS, Sports Network

, Last Updated: 5:22 PM ET

Coaches and players have been trained for decades to bristle at moral victories. But in the absence of any real ones thus far, the Buffalo Bills may be changing philosophy.

Though they fell to 0-6 with a dramatic 37-34 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the Bills nonetheless emerged with a cheery outlook after a watershed offensive performance.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and company gained 506 yards in the road loss -- the most ever racked up by a Buffalo team in defeat. The Harvard product, who officially took the reins when Trent Edwards was released earlier this season, also snapped a 59-game stretch in which the Bills had not had a 300-yard passer.

The Bills' yardage total was the most since Doug Flutie engineered a 579-yard output in Seattle in 2000.

"We have a talented offense and we've gotten into a rhythm the last few games," Fitzpatrick said. "We just have had bad plays that we need to stop making, that we need to quit shooting ourselves in the foot."

Fitzpatrick's 374 yards were a career best and the first time a Buffalo quarterback surpassed 300 since J.P. Losman in 2006. The output was also the most for a Buffalo passer since 2002.

The total yardage number was the eighth-highest in team history and was the most real estate gained against the Ravens since 2000.

Turnovers were decisive, however, as the Bills coughed the ball up four times, including an overtime fumble by tight end Shawn Nelson that led to Billy Cundiff�s game-winning field goal.

Officials ruled Nelson was making forward progress after the catch, prolonging the play and leading to the change in possession.

"He was stood up and then he fell out forward," said Buffalo coach Chan Gailey, whose team visits AFC West-leading Kansas City this weekend. "They're going to call that, because if he fell out forward and has got the ball, they're gonna give you the forward progress.

"If you get pushed back and you fumble, they'll probably give you the forward progress and don't call it. And that was the explanation that the referee gave me on our sideline."

Earlier in the game, rookie C.J. Spiller fumbled a second-quarter kickoff return that resulted in a Joe Flacco-to-Todd Heap touchdown pass four plays later. And on the initial play of the third quarter, Fitzpatrick was intercepted to kick-start a Ravens' drive that ended in a touchdown and a 27-24 Baltimore lead.

"It's just a frustrating game," center Geoff Hangartner said. "I feel like we played well enough to win it all game and just didn't."

JETS: They're already in first place after six games and coming off a bye week, but the New York Jets still emerged from an inactive Sunday with some good news.

Cornerback Darrelle Revis, after a summer-long contract dispute and a generally pedestrian early season, is back to top form.

At least in his own mind.

"I'm ready to go," Revis said, after Monday's practice at the team's facility in Florham Park, N.J. "We did everything we could (in the last game). Now I can settle in and just play football. I'm 100 percent."

After missing nearly all of training camp, Revis returned to the team in time for its season-opening 10-9 loss to Baltimore, in which backfield mate Antonio Cromartie drew the task of covering No. 1 receiver Anquan Boldin.

Revis injured his left hamstring on a Randy Moss touchdown reception in the Jets' 28-14 defeat of the New England Patriots in Week 2 and missed two games before returning against Minnesota and Denver, both of whom scored on pass plays directed to his coverage assignment.

And though the Jets are fourth in the league in points allowed (16.8 per game), they're just 22nd against the pass (229 yards per game).

Overall, the team is 12th in total defense, surrendering an average of 319 yards per game.

"I think we're going to see Darrelle at 100 percent," head coach Rex Ryan said. "So that's exciting to me."

New York hosts Green Bay this Sunday at New Meadowlands Stadium. The Packers got 295 yards passing and two touchdowns from Aaron Rodgers in a Week 7 win over Minnesota.

"With [Revis] out there, it's going to give us an opportunity to get our pass rush there a little bit more because guys aren't going to be open," Jets linebacker Bart Scott said. "First read may not be there. Second read may not be there. That gives us that split second to be able to get to the quarterback. If they do choose to attack like Denver did, I think some of those balls will be picked off with a healthy Revis."

Elsewhere, Ryan and his coaching staff spent the down time with self- assessment.

Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was tasked with finding holes in the Jets' defense, while Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine searched for ways to shut down the offense.

"Sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees," Ryan said. "This just shows you how an opponent would look at you. Opponents break down film differently, but you still get the meat and potatoes of what every opponent sees."

PATRIOTS: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and his defensive minions may be about to face an NFL challenge no staff has concerned itself with since 1992. A Brett Favre team -- with no Brett Favre.

A Sunday night MRI revealed a stress fracture in the veteran Minnesota quarterback's left ankle, putting his league-record streak of 291 consecutive starts in serious jeopardy when the Vikings visit the Patriots this weekend.

Favre, who was fitted for a walking boot, expressed at least some doubt as to whether he'd play. Vikings coach Brad Childress said a decision would come later in the week.

If Favre doesn't go, it opens the door for fifth-year man Tarvaris Jackson, who's started 19 games since 2006.

"If I can play but not be effective, then it's not worth playing," Favre said. "I hope I use good judgment, so we'll see. I'm no spring chicken anymore. I don't heal as quickly. I know the heart's in the right place, though."

As for the definites in Sunday's Halloween matchup between the Vikings and Patriots, the game will mark the return of Randy Moss to Foxborough after his trade from New England to Minnesota on Oct. 6.

Moss, who joined New England before its record-setting 16-0 regular season in 2007, caught 259 passes for 3,904 yards and 50 touchdowns in 52 games with the Patriots.

"I don't know how they're going to use him," Belichick said of Moss "But we know Randy, and certainly when you've had a player or you've coached him and had him on your team, you have better knowledge of him than you do if that wasn't the case."

The 33-year-old Moss has been intermittently effective with his new team, catching 12 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns in three games against the New York Jets, Dallas and Green Bay.

"They have all kinds of weapons," Belichick said of the Vikings. "Pretty much anyone they put out there is dangerous and very good in their particular role. They have a lot of weapons and they're very dangerous no matter who has the ball, so they'll definitely be a challenge to prepare for defensively.

"They're different from San Diego (last week's opponent), but similar in that they have a lot of weapons and are very explosive on offense."

New England got to 5-1 with a 23-20 win at San Diego on Sunday, escaping when a 20-3 lead after three quarters was cut to three points and preserved when a would-be-tying field goal by Kris Brown hit the right goal post.

"We had a tough game, just like it always is against this Chargers team," Belichick said. "You got them down but you can't relax. They have too many talented players."

DOLPHINS: A Monday explanation made a Sunday debacle only slightly less distasteful for the Miami Dolphins.

According to the Miami Herald, the NFL claimed a lack of irrefutable evidence of a Dolphins' recovery in the end zone prompted the officiating crew to award the ball to the Pittsburgh Steelers on the one-yard line after a Ben Roethlisberger fumble with less than 3 minutes remaining of last week's game between the teams.

The Steelers subsequently got an 18-yard Jeff Reed field goal and won, 23-22.

Roethlisberger was lunging for the goal line when he was hit and lost the ball into the end zone, where it appeared Miami linebacker Ikaika Alama-Francis had made the recovery.

"I was like, 'You didn't see (Alama-Francis) on the ball?'" Miami's Channing Crowder said in reference to the post-fumble confusion with the officials. "They were like, 'Yeah, but it's not our decision. The refs upstairs have to have conclusive evidence who landed on the ball.' I don't know how conclusive it needs to be. I don't know if you have to jump up and do a backflip with the ball or not."

According to the league's instant replay manual, "If there is a pile-up and you can't see who recovered the ball or a long delay with players stopping before the ball is recovered, the offense retains possession but the ball will be placed at the one-yard line."

In spite of frustration with the ruling, Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano also expressed concern with his offense's equally-decisive inability to convert drives into touchdowns. Miami reached the end zone just once Sunday, while settling for five Dan Carpenter field goals from distances of 39, 23, 22, 27 and 40 yards.

The drives leading to those kicks covered a combined 182 yards on 35 plays in 15 minutes, 43 seconds.

"The things that were in our control were what we did in the red zone, what we did in third down on defense -- giving up some big-chunk yardage. These things were in our control," Sparano said. "We can't make excuses for those things. I won't settle for that."

The Dolphins stay in the AFC North this weekend, when they'll visit Cincinnati Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

The loss to the Steelers dropped Miami to 0-3 at home. Oddly, the team is 3-0 on the road.

"The make-up of your team has to be a little different to win on the road and to win at the places that we have won," Sparano said. "The distractions can be huge when you are on the road and this team just doesn't seem to let those distractions bother them.

"You have these guys constantly talking football. When they are on the road they are all together in that environment, it is all we are doing. Those things make for a good road team."


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