Bills quarterback J.P. Losman hasn't had much success against the New England Patriots during his short NFL career. In the wake of "Spygate," he's beginning to wonder how come.
The Patriots (2-0), who host the Bills (0-2) on Sunday at Gillette Stadium, have won 13 of the past 14 meetings against their AFC East rivals under coach Bill Belichick, who was fined $500,000 for illegally ordering the videotaping of sideline signals in the season opener against the New York Jets two weeks ago.
The Patriots were also fined $250,000 and docked a first-round draft choice.
Losman, 0-3 against New England with one touchdown, five interceptions and a paltry 54.1 rating, was asked on Wednesday whether he ever felt the Patriots knew what the Bills were doing before it happened.
"Yeah," Losman said. "They've been pretty good the last few years for a reason. I'm not saying that's the reason but it wouldn't surprise me."
Defense and quarterback Tom Brady's passing have led New England to three Super Bowl championships since 2000 under Belichick, whose team has played in the AFC championship game four times in the last six seasons.
The Patriots set an NFL record for consecutive wins (21 from 2003-04) and their overall record of 84-28 is the best since 2001. In a 2006 ESPN.com poll, Belichick was named among the top five greatest coaches in NFL history. But critics say his record is tainted now. He still faces more sanctions as the league's investigation continues.
Bills wide receiver Lee Evans said the Patriots defense always seems to have its personnel in the right place at the right time.
"They've definitely been in position to be successful, whether you try and blame it on cheating or not, but it's been consistent," he said. "I can't say it's one thing or another, but they've done a good job of game planning and putting guys in position to be successful."
Belichick changed the subject about the videotaping scandal three or four times in a conference call with Buffalo beat reporters.
His team is more than a 15-point favorite against the Bills, who are struggling on defense due to injuries and on offense due to many reasons ranging from execution to play-calling to questionable talent.
The talent gap between these two AFC East rivals has never seemed bigger and it's reflected in a huge statistical disparity through two games.
The Bills rank 31st in both offense and defense. The Patriots are No. 2 and No. 1. The Bills have 407 total yards; New England has 838. Buffalo has allowed 890 yards; the Patriots 428.
While Evans, Buffalo's best weapon, has just four catches for 22 yards and no touchdowns, Randy Moss, the controversial star New England acquired in a trade, has made a seamless transition playing with Brady and has a league-leading 17 catches for 288 yards and three scores.
"We don't care anything about those stats, they don't mean anything," Belichick grumbled. "That was last week's game or the week-before game. Just go to the Cleveland-Cincinnati game, what the stats said, what the experts said and how the game turned out. Maybe that should be fresh in everybody's mind."
Maybe. But the Bills seem terrifically overmatched more than in any game in recent memory.
"We need to go out with an attitude of expecting to win, not sitting back and letting teams do their thing and hoping they don't have a good game," said Losman, who has been circling the wagons at One Bills Drive this week, making the media the enemy. "We need to attack on both sides of the ball, fly around, and expect to win. We know nobody's giving us a shot, except for us."
The Bills have lost seven games in a row to New England but tight end Robert Royal said it would be a mistake to blame those losses on New England breaking the rules. New England still executed better and did what it took to win on the field, such as last season's 19-17 win in Foxborough, which the Bills led 17-7 at halftime.
"We can't make excuses," Royal said. "The team that wins that Sunday is the better team. We need to get a victory here and be the better team. The best knowledge we can have is fix our own mistakes and show the world we can be a good, competitive team."
SERIES HISTORY: 95th meeting, Patriots lead 53-40-1. New England's 53 wins are the most against any opponent. The Patriots have owned the series since 2000, winning 12 of the last 13 meetings, including seven games in a row. From 1999 to 2001, the clubs went to overtime four times in six meetings, each team winning a pair.
--The Bills, who rank 27th in passing yards allowed at 267.5 yards per game, somehow have to find a way to contain New England's new trio of productive receivers. Newcomers Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth have combined for 34 catches for 478 yards and four TDs through two games playing with QB Tom Brady, the NFL's top-rated passer. Brady is 11-1 all-time against the Bills with 21 TD passes and 10 interceptions. "It doesn't surprise me," said Bills CB Terrence McGee, who will be in the spotlight a lot on Sunday. "That's been all the talk ever since free agency, how explosive that offense would be, and they've showed it the first two weeks. It's a great receiving corps and you've got Tom Brady throwing the ball. You've got to come with your 'A' game. You can't have any mistakes. If there's a game to shine, this is it. Hopefully we get some turnovers and make some pays."
--Brady, speaking with Bills beat reporters, wasn't interested in elaborating anymore on "Spygate." He was asked if he or his teammates are upset over some opinions in the media that the Patriots' three Super Bowl rings are tainted. "We dealt with that a lot last week," he said. "If I believed and responded to everything I read about this team or myself that wasn't true, I'd spend so much energy that I'd have no time to focus on the things I need to focus on. I think we try and play rather than talk and present ourselves that way. We'd rather just play. I was proud of how we performed against a very good Chargers team (38-14 victory) in the face of so many distractions."
--TE Kevin Everett, who has made a startling recovery after injuring his spinal cord against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 9, could be moved soon to a rehab center in Houston, where he makes his offseason home. Doctors feared Everett, 25, would not walk again but he can now move all of his extremities in various degrees and is breathing and eating on his own. Everett is never far from his teammates' thoughts. They are wearing No. 85 "Everett" T-shirts that are being sold on the Bills' website to raise money for spinal cord research. Meanwhile, the team has made it a point not to clear out Everett's locker stall. His nameplate and jersey are still in place. "Kevin knows that he's part of the team and everybody else on the team knows it too," coach Dick Jauron said. "It's the way it is and the way it will be but it definitely serves a purpose to keep him right in front of us in the locker room and we'll keep him that way."
--Garrard "Buster" Ramsey, the Bills' colorful first head coach in 1960, died last Sunday in Signal Mountain, Tenn., of pneumonia. He was 87. Ramsey was a defensive assistant with the Detroit Lions when owner Ralph Wilson hired him to lead his entry into the old AFL. He was 11-16-1 in two seasons before being replaced by Lou Saban.
--The Bills announced that the Nov. 4 home game against Cincinnati has sold out, giving them six sellouts on the year. Last year, they had four.
--DE Chris Kelsay said he plans to appeal a fine for a hit he laid on Denver QB Jay Cutler on Sept. 9. The league claimed it was dangerous but no flag was thrown.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING:
"I know you guys (media) are going to make stories up to divide this team. The key to this team is to not let anybody divide us. The old saying, 'Divide and conquer.' We can't let anybody divide us and nobody on this team is pointing fingers at anybody except themselves and that includes me, too. Does my play need to come up? Of course it does." -- QB J.P. Losman, on fending off his critics just two games into the year.
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