The Buffalo Bills entered Thursday with momentum and a chance to keep pace in the AFC East.
Instead, the team fell flat against the New York Jets, at one point facing a 27-point deficit in the fourth quarter before scratching together a couple of late touchdowns in a 34-21 loss.
Searching for answers, many of the Bills acknowledged that – simply – they weren’t good.
One player, however, suggested timing might have had a factor, too.
“Yeah, you know, it’s tough,” Bills offensive guard Richie Incognito said. “These Thursday night games – they suck. They throw a wrench in our schedule. It’s absolutely ridiculous that we have to do this. As physical as this game is, as much work and preparation that goes into this, to force us to play games in four-day weeks is completely unfair. And it’s (expletive).
“But, you know, whatever. The league makes money off of it. That’s all they care about, anyway. So we just keep trucking. We’ve got a tough group of guys in this locker room, so it’s back to the drawing board, back to Buffalo, and we’ve got the Saints.”
Incognito, who made it clear he was not making excuses and added that he thought the Jets “outplayed” Buffalo, is far from the first player in the NFL to complain about the short week. But it’s something almost every team has to face at some point this season (neither the Cleveland Browns nor the Jacksonville Jaguars play on a Thursday in 2017).
“No, that’s an excuse,” linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. “Both teams had to play on a short week. As professionals, we have to be up for it. We just didn’t come out and start fast. And once stuff went bad, we had to come out of that funk. Nobody ever really stepped up from the leadership to change the momentum and shift it and we all kind of dwelled in the mediocrity all night.”
The Bills (5-3) now have 10 days until their next game, a home contest against the New Orleans Saints (5-2).