Quarterback J.P. Losman gets another chance to face the New England Patriots on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and this time it's personal.
The Patriots -- meaning defensive tackle Vince Wilfork -- knocked him out of this season's first meeting with an illegal hit at the knees on the game's first play from scrimmage. Losman suffered a sprained ligament, missed two games and eventually lost his starting job to rookie Trent Edwards.
As fate would have it, Edwards sprained his right throwing wrist three weeks ago, re-opening the door for Losman to reclaim the reigns. Losman will start his third consecutive game on Sunday after leading a comeback against the Jets in the fourth quarter after Edwards went down, followed by wins over Cincinnati and Miami.
Losman's play hasn't been dazzling, but it has been acceptable and Buffalo's coaching staff wasn't about to upset the momentum that has been built. The Bills are riding a four-game hot streak and need a lot of intangibles on their side to have any chance of upsetting the steamrolling Patriots (9-0), who are winning their games by an average score of 39.4 to 16.3.
"It hasn't entered my mind," said Losman, when asked about facing the team that has caused him so much grief. "It's a new week and I'm just trying to prepare myself for this game. I'm feeling ready and feeling comfortable. I was comfortable going into that game. I was confident going into that game and right now I feel the same way. I think our whole offense feels the same way as well."
With star rookie running back Marshawn Lynch hobbled by a severely sprained ankle and not appearing capable of playing, the Bills will have to rely on a rotation of rookie Dwayne Wright, Anthony Thomas and Freddy Jackson.
If Buffalo is made one-dimensional, it will be a very long night for Losman against New England's pass rush that has accounted for 25 sacks. Outside linebacker Mike Vrabel (8.5) presents a particularly difficult puzzle to solve.
Buffalo's offensive line will have to be especially sharp handling blitz packages, along with manning up physically with Patriots linemen Ty Warren, Wilfork, Richard Seymour and Jarvis Green. Wilfork was fined for his late hit on Losman when he lunged at his planted left knee.
"Their whole team defense as a whole just plays extremely hard and fast," Losman said. "They try to hurt you, try to bruise you, try to reroute you. They're a very physical defense. So sometimes you want to use that to your advantage and sometimes you don't. You try to pick and choose when the right time to see what they do best and try to counter against it. See if we can call those at the right time this week."
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