Linebacker Nick Barnett refuses to go as far back as last season
when adding up the Buffalo Bills’ string of road woes.
To him, the count stands at 0-1 – and not 0-8 for a team that’s
not won away from home since its 2011 season-opening 41-7 victory
at Kansas City.
”I don’t know what eight games you’re talking about,” Barnett
said, as the Bills (1-1) prepare to play at Cleveland (0-2) on
Sunday. ”It’s a new year. Things that happened in the past,
happened in the past. For us, we did lose this first road game, and
not in a good fashion.”
Barnett’s at least right about that in referring to how the
Bills bumbled through a 48-28 season-opening loss at the New York
Jets on Sept. 9. And if Barnett and his teammates intend to play up
to their high expectations in becoming contenders this season, then
there’s no question they must be much better than they’ve been on
the road this year – or for much of the last one.
”Whatever it is that we need to turn around, this is the week
to do it,” he said. ”We’ve got to be focused.”
That would be a start, because the Bills have been dreadful away
It’s a losing streak in which they’ve allowed 35 or more points
five times and have been outscored by an average margin of 36-18.
The streak is tied with Cleveland and Tampa Bay for the NFL’s
second-longest active drought behind only Indianapolis, according
to STATS LLC. The Colts have lost nine straight road games.
For the Bills, it’s tied for their fourth-longest road losing
streak, and their worst since losing a franchise-record 22 straight
The Bills look ahead to traveling to Cleveland as a chance to
build on the momentum coming off a 35-17 win over Kansas City.
”We lost the first one, but we bounced back and we got the
second one,” receiver Stevie Johnson said, referring to the team’s
1-1 start. ”Hopefully we can keep it going.”
As for what’s gone wrong on the road, Johnson has difficulty
coming up with an explanation.
”I can’t really put my finger on it,” he said. ”I think our
away games, we come out more flat than how we do at home. Maybe
Coach Chan Gailey wasn’t sure if Johnson’s assessment was
”If I think we’re flat, then I’ve got to do something about
it,” he said. ”I’ve never felt that way.”
Gailey, however, had difficulty pinpointing what’s gone
”If I knew the reason, I’d solve the problem. I don’t,” he
said. ”We haven’t played well on the road, and I don’t have an
answer to that one.”
They can start by looking at turnovers.
Since last season, 20 of the Bills’ 34 giveaways have occurred
on the road. As for takeaways, Buffalo’s defense has forced just 10
of its past 35 away from home.
”That’s not a good stat. I think it’s obviously been too
long,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. ”That’s something which
hopefully we break in a hurry, because if you don’t win games on
the road, then you’re not going to be very successful.”
Barnett said he usually enjoys playing on the road because of
the challenge it presents.
”We’ve got to have that mentality of going to someone’s home
and going in the refrigerator and drinking all the milk,” Barnett
”It could be soda or whatever,” Barnett added, with a laugh.
”But milk, when you don’t have any milk and you want milk, that’s
a problem. You can get water out of the faucet, but when the milk
is gone, there’s no more getting it back.”
NOTES: LB Barnett missed practice due to a sore knee, but Gailey
said he’s expected to play Sunday. … S Jairus Byrd (right ankle)
returned and practiced on a limited basis and is now expected to
play. Without saying how or where the injury occurred, Byrd said it
happened before the game against Kansas City, in which he did not
miss a snap. … WR Ruvell Martin (ankle) was ruled out from
playing. … DT Marcell Dareus returned to practice after being
excused Wednesday to be with his family in Alabama after his
younger brother was shot and killed during a burglary on Sept.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and
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