Although the Buffalo Bills have hit a bit of a rough patch, the last thing they plan to do is panic.
Buffalo has dropped two of its past three games, so it is eager to right the ship on Thursday when it faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Orchard Park, N.Y.
The Bills (4-3) are coming off Sunday’s 29-25 loss to the New England Patriots. They trailed most of the game, took a 25-22 lead in the final two minutes and fell behind again when Mike Gesicki was on the receiving end of a 1-yard touchdown pass with just 12 seconds left.
Despite the demoralizing setback against a division rival that entered Sunday 1-5, Buffalo is confident that better days are ahead.
“Over the course of the season, you’re gonna have ebbs and flows, you may have performance lulls,” Bills assistant head coach Eric Washington said. “We don’t want that. We want to be as consistent as we possibly can be from one week to the next. …
“We also know that the belief that we have in what we’ve established philosophically, the players that are in that locker room and the coaches that are informing the players, we just believe in each other.”
Buffalo has been weighed down by its inability to generate offense in the first half, as the Bills have a total of just 10 points before the break over the past three weeks. Coach Sean McDermott is hoping that trend changes on Thursday.
“We all have to do a better job, myself included,” McDermott said. “It’s putting the players in position (to succeed), then when in position, the players have to make the plays.”
Tampa Bay (3-3) is also scuffling, dropping a 16-13 decision to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday for its third loss in the past four games.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield believes the Buccaneers’ problems are self-inflicted, and it’s up to them to get back on track.
“Looking at the mistakes that we’ve made, it’s things that we can control,” Mayfield said. “For us, it’s control what we can, fix those things and see where this thing can go.”
Mayfield was in the same draft class as Buffalo signal-caller Josh Allen in 2018. Mayfield was taken first overall by the Cleveland Browns before the Bills scooped up Allen with the No. 7 pick.
“Josh is a great guy. Tremendous athlete, great guy. He’s fun to watch,” Mayfield said. “Hopefully not too much fun on Thursday, but yeah, it’s always good to see him.”
Both quarterbacks could be without valuable weapons on Thursday. Tampa Bay receiver Chris Godwin was limited during Tuesday’s practice due to a neck injury, while Buffalo tight end Dawson Knox will undergo wrist surgery and is out indefinitely.
“I wish I could tell you,” McDermott said of when Knox will be good to return. “Too early right now. The decision was just made to go ahead and get (surgery) done.”
Mayfield (knee) was also limited, while defensive tackle Vita Vea (groin), safety Kaevon Merriweather (ankle) and guard Matt Feiler (knee) missed Tuesday’s session.
Another Bills tight end, Quintin Morris, didn’t practice on Tuesday because of an ankle injury. Defensive tackles Ed Oliver (toe) and Jordan Phillips (back) were limited along with linebacker Von Miller (knee).