Once again, Bills’ Losman sinks offense

By Connor Byrne  |   Monday, September 17, 2007  |  Comments( 56 )

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In the Buffalo Bills' 15-14 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 1, it seemed as if quarterback J.P. Losman couldn't have fared worse. The fourth-year passer completed 67 percent of his attempts, but he totaled just 97 yards, telegraphed throws to his intended targets and demonstrated almost no poise or awareness.

Unfortunately for the 26-year-old, things only regressed for him during Buffalo's 26-3 road embarrassment to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. Losman, looking even more awful than he did against the Broncos' Champ Bailey-led secondary, didn't turn the ball over, but he was once again frazzled in the pocket and accumulated a meager 154 passing yards (most of which came after the game was long decided in the Steelers' favor). After the first half, the Bills were down 12-0 and Losman led the team's offense to -- count 'em -- one first down.

What's more, Losman's poor showing helped keep the offense away from the field and Buffalo's undermanned defense on it all afternoon. The latter unit was on the field for 33 of 60 minutes against the Broncos, and its valiant players gasped for breath Sunday for 35 minutes in Pittsburgh.

The difference between Losman, a 2004 first-round pick from Tulane, and opposing QB Ben Roethlisberger -- a fellow '04 first-rounder -- was night and day. Although the latter (21 of 34 for 242 yards) certainly had a better team to work with and was facing the Bills' aforesaid injury-depleted 'D' yesterday, the amount of calm he showed under fire was quite impressive. Unlike Losman, Roethlisberger regularly shook off sacks, coolly scrambled around the pocket and found open wideouts when defenders were closing in on him.

On the other hand, Losman took four sacks; however, not all of them were the fault of the offensive line. In fact, the blocking from Buffalo's starters along the line was at least adequate throughout the contest. Losman held onto the ball too long on several occasions, including multiple sacks in which he had around four seconds to either escape pressure, throw the ball away or hit a target.

The sad thing is that Losman, who is currently playing just as poorly as he did in 2005 -- his first year starting -- was hesitant after the game to take responsibility for his subpar performance. Not showing the demeanor of someone who wears a captain's 'C' on his jersey, Losman pointed the finger at offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild, whose play-calling through two weeks hasn't exactly been great.

"Every quarterback is gonna wanna open it up, and when you don't and you're not winning games, 'hey, let's give it a shot and let's do this.' We have to execute it, too; we can't just call it," said Losman.

Fairchild opened up the playbook late last season, and it worked for Losman, who ended 2006 with 19 touchdowns and was the NFL's 11th-rated passer. Still, though, it's hard for a coordinator to have confidence in his signalcaller when he can't even find nearby open receivers. Losman regularly missed close targets high and nearly got multiple wideouts injured as a result.

Buffalo's top WR, Lee Evans, finished last year with 82 catches and over 1,200 yards. This season, thanks largely to Losman's ineptitude, hasn't gone well so far for Evans, 26, who has only four catches and 22 yards (two grabs, 17 yards Sunday).

"If your quarterback is off like that, it's a reflection of your whole offense," said Evans.

If Losman wants to keep his job for much longer, he'd better stop being "off" during Buffalo's Week 3 contest, an incredibly daunting road matchup against the 2-0 New England Patriots. In the event that Losman continues looking like the second coming of Joey Harrington, his coaches will have no choice but to call for rookie third-round pick Trent Edwards soon.

Seven three-and-outs in 17 possessions and one offensive touchdown in two games simply won't get the job done. As Evans said, Losman's inability to find a groove is a reflection of the offense, one which has resembled the NFL's version of Notre Dame's anemic attack one level below the pros.

►E-mail: cbyrne@realfootball365.com.

RealFootball365.com: Your best Internet source for Bills coverage.
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CommentsComments: 56  |  Sign Up  View all comments
06:51 AM
I am so tired of these guys. It doesn't matter if it's Greg Williams, Mike Mularkey, or Dick Jauron, the Bills break records for...
07:09 AM
By demonstrating for the second week in a row that he has zero composure in the pocket he is starting to throw away potentil...
07:32 AM
That sums it up. The defense played well considering what they were up against, but again, the offense tanked and provided no...
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