FOXBORO — Bills coach Chan Gailey says he and the rest of his team can’t worry about history as they head into this Sunday’s game against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium .
Despite the fact that Buffalo’s last win in New England came on Nov. 5, 2000 (with Doug Flutie leading the Bills to an overtime win at old Foxboro Stadium), Gailey said his players can’t worry about Buffalo’s historic struggles in New England.
‘I don’t think that is something that is thought about by the players and the coaches as much as it is by the outside people — that is what you all do is gather statistics and put them out there,’ he said of the Bills, who have lost 11 straight in Foxboro. ‘The majority of this team has been here for less than three years, so they don’t know. They just know that they have a big job in front of them as far as going in there and winning a tough game on the road.
‘We have been able to win on the road a couple of times this year, so that is not something that is new to us — being able to go and try to win on the road. We played pretty good for the first quarter last year, so if you can turn that into three quarters, you give yourself a chance.’
One thing that continues to weigh on the minds of the Bills is the way that the Patriots were able to close them out the last time they met. Back on Sept. 30 in Buffalo, the Bills had New England on the ropes ‘ they were holding a 21-7 lead in the second half. That was before the Patriots responded with 45 second-half points on the way to a 52-28 blowout.
‘We let them run the football entirely too successfully in the second half of that ball game,’ Gailey said of the Patriots, who had 247 rushing yards as a team on the afternoon. ‘That is something we know we have to handle going into this next game. If we do not handle that, then all of the rest of it is a moot point. We have to be able to keep them out of the end zone.
‘It looks like their offense has hit their rhythm and they are all in sync now. It looks like they are running the ball better. It probably started with our game. They’re probably running the ball better now than they did coming into our ball game. I think they are just as good defensively and I think their offense has kind of hit a stride and that has allowed the whole team to play better.’
Here are a few other highlights from the media’s Q&A with Gailey:
How difficult of a challenge does it make it to stop the run when they can spread it out or go big and run it? Does that make it a difficult challenge for a defense?
‘Sure it does. Anytime you can take the same personnel, go empty and be successful, then you tighten it down and run it and then spread it out and run it. They do it a lot of different ways. What makes them such a good offense is they have so many ways to attack you with similar personnel groupings.’
Other than the obvious physical characteristics, what makes RB C.J. Spiller such a threat out of the backfield?
‘He has learned to have patience. I do not know what you can say other than physical attributes because he has learned how to run the football and he is a powerful guy for his size. He is not the biggest guy, but he runs through more tackles than you probably think he should. He is just explosive with that speed. He has learned how to run the football, he knows how to be a good pass receiver if he needs to be and he has gotten a lot better at playing the game. There are a lot of guys with talent out there, but he has worked at it. Give him credit for that.’
From watching the film, what has allowed the Patriots to be so successful when it comes to defending the run?
‘They are very physical up front. They play hard and they are very, very physical up front. They are hard to run (against) in between the tackles the way those inside guys play and the way those linebackers play. It makes it hard. You get those defensive ends coming off the edge with good pass rush and playing the run as well as they have. They make it hard overall to run the football.’