Bills must keep winning

Bills tight end Scott Chandler celebrates his touchdown against the Raiders at Ralph Wilson Stadium...

Bills tight end Scott Chandler celebrates his touchdown against the Raiders at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sep. 18, 2011. (DOUG BENZ/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:11 AM ET

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - If you think the Buffalo Bills are sitting smug with their 4-2 record — think again.

It has been two weeks since they last suited up and two weeks removed from a disappointing 27-24 loss on the road to the New York Giants.

It’s been two weeks attempting to get that bitter taste out of their mouths and about the only way they know how to rinse that loss away is with a victory at Rogers Centre over the Washington Redskins.

The Bills never have looked kindly at losing one of their home games, of sending it across the border, even when they were dreadful.

Now that they might be on to something and have scored upsets over both New England and Philadelphia — both at home at frenzied Ralph Wilson Stadium by the way — losing that atmosphere for staid, neutral Toronto is about the last thing they had ordered up.

In Sunday’s game, and Buffalo is a six-point pick, the view from the Bills locker room is that the Redskins is a game that they have to win if they want to keep old mo, as in momentum, on their side. A loss would not only be their second in a row for the first time this season, but it would not set up well with tough games at The Ralph Nov. 6 against the Jets and Nov. 13 on the road at Dallas on the immediate horizon.

No way they want this one to be viewed as a turning point into a slide towards mediocrity.

“We’re 4-2 now and then we have the Jets and then three away games (Dallas, Miami and the Jets again) so this game is like a must win to go 5-2,” wide receiver Stevie Johnson said. “For the most part the Jets are a team that has been beating us, so we want momentum going into that game. So this is going to be a big game for us to get that W.”

While the Bills are gaining fans across the U.S. for their spirited play, they have a ways to go before they will be taken seriously as playoff contenders. The season is still too young and the bad smell from past seasons of utter failure cling to the franchise no matter how much of a breath of fresh air they appear to be.

SKEPTICS

“For the most part when people hear of the Bills, there still are going to be doubters. We know we have to work for it, for that respect” Johnson said. “But at this point in time we’re not worried about any of that right now. We’re just going out there and trying to win games.

“We’re not focused on what people outside (their locker room) are saying.”

While there are plenty of fans who are rejoicing in what they have achieved to date, there are just as many skeptics who believe that they are exceeding their dreams, that it is all some beautiful mirage that is about to go poof at any minute.

“We’re not in the clouds right now, we know we still have a lot of work to do,” Johnson said. “We know there is still a lot of work to do because we should be 6-0 (they blew leads against both Cincinnati and the Giants). We know we’re not a Goliath in this game, we still have work to do.

“We still have to finish games because in both our losses we were up in both of them and ended up losing them. So we’ve got to stay on point.”

Last year they were the beautiful losers, a plucky team that showed heart even in the face of an eight-game losing streak to start the season. That’s what makes their 4-2 start that much more enjoyable.

“It’s been great,” Johnson said of the ride. “Getting the wins that we got against the teams that we played. It’s like we were showing that we can do what we thought we could do. They’ve been great games, exciting games and I know the fans have enjoyed it and we’re enjoying it as Bills’ players.”

Given that, do the players in their locker dare to think ahead and harbour thoughts of competing in the playoffs?

Johnson said — why not?

“I think it’s good to be thinking that,” he said. “At this point we feel like playoffs are nothing. We’re putting in too much work and we know we have the talent to make it to the playoffs.

“If you’re not thinking about getting to the playoffs and hoping to get to the Super Bowl, then what are you in the game for?”

What indeed.

’Skins quarterback finally getting his shot

The once overlooked and under-appreciated Ryan Fitzpatrick is enjoying life these days, what with his sparkling play as the Buffalo Bills quarterback. On Friday his patience and perseverance was rewarded to the tune of a six-year, $59-million contract extension.

On Sunday when he looks across the field, Fitzpatrick may be looking at a similar reclamation project in Redskins QB John Beck.

A backup most of his career, Beck last week made his first start since the 2007 season in a 33-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers. In the game, Beck went 22 of 37 for 279 yards and one touchdown pass. He also rushed for a touchdown and threw an interception.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan saw enough from Beck to feel encouraged.

“It’s the first of many games for him. I’m looking forward to seeing him grow as a quarterback and get that game experience,” Shanahan said. “I think he’s a natural leader, and now we’ll get a chance to see him. He’s got a lot of confidence in himself. I’m sure he had some goosebumps, but I thought he did well.”

In facing the Bills, Beck told reporters that it’s imperative that he is able to move the sticks and keep their offence off the field.

“Their offence is explosive, so anytime that you are facing an offense that’s explosive you have to be good at controlling the ball,” he said earlier this week. “We want to be able to run the ball well, we want to be able to control the clock and be very good on third downs, that way we stay on the field.”


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