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Dreary game clouds QB picture

J.P. Losman never had a chance in this one.

Looking to cement the starting quarterback job as his, Losman couldn't do much against a New England Patriots defense that harassed him and locked down his receivers.

Losman was unable to compete with Tom Brady and the high-powered Pats in a 56-10 loss Sunday night.

Losman completed 15 of 26 passes for 173 yards and a long touchdown to receiver Roscoe Parrish, but his statistics were pumped up in garbage time.

Losman also set the tone for a dreary night for the Bills by throwing an interception on the fourth play from scrimmage. That was one of several bad throws on the night.

Even if Losman had played better it may not have made much of a difference the way Brady was performing surgery on the Bills' defense. When Buffalo did have the ball, it had trouble staying on the field.

Losman was coming off a mediocre game last week, but the Bills still managed to beat a winless Miami team. He couldn't afford to play poorly Sunday night, not with the Patriots scoring every time they touched the ball.

"It's hard to play in any type of sport you're playing when they jump to an early lead like that, a big lead," he said. "You're looking for anything, looking for some momentum and trying to build something, some enthusiasm. Especially as a quarterback, as a leader, trying to get that enthusiasm.

"We felt fine. We still felt like we were seeing what they were doing, but you can't make mistakes against these guys. An offsides penalty called like twice hurt us, put us back to third-and-long. They're extremely good at third-and-long, they don't give it up. That's why they're undefeated and who they are."

So the stage is set for yet another decision by Bills coach Dick Jauron. Will he stick with Losman or turn back to rookie Trent Edwards? Stay tuned for the answer.


>No hard feelings

Some of the Bills players had no problem with the Patriots going for it twice on fourth downs in the third quarter. New England converted one fourth-and-1 situation into a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ben Watson. A 3-yard pass to Randy Moss on another fourth-and-1 led to a 1-yard touchdown run by third-string running back Kyle Eckel.

"It didn't bother me," safety Donte Whitner said. "It's our job to stop them. They can do whatever they want on that side of the ball. Nobody said they have to kick a field goal or punt the football. If they want to go for it, they go. If we stop them on fourth down we get the football back."


>NHL visitors

Officials from the National Hockey League were at Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday night to observe stadium operations in preparation for the Ice Bowl game between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins on New Year's Day.

The Ice Bowl is billed as one of the biggest events the NHL has ever put on. From what they have seen, league officials believe The Ralph is well equipped to handle it.

"We think it's going to be a wonderful event," Adam Acone, a member of the four-person contingent. "It sold out within minutes. The market place has been incredibly receptive to it. It's going to be unique. New Year's Day, national television in the U.S. and Canada. We're excited about it. I think the stadium is going to be very good."

Acone hopes Buffalo's unpredictable weather cooperates.

"We want cold," he said. "A little snow a couple of days before would be fine to make some pretty pictures, but no snow on game day. And some overcast skies would be good."


>Message from Everett

The players got a boost, at least temporarily, from tight end Kevin Everett delivering a pregame message to the team and the fans on the Jumbotron.

"It was great," Whitner said. "It was the first time I've seen him since the injury. He looked good, he spoke good. From what I hear and see he's really putting his life back together. That's a great thing."


>Lynch inactive

As expected, rookie running back Marshawn Lynch was among the Bills' inactives. Lynch sprained his left ankle last week in Miami and was unable to practice all week. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Anthony Thomas, who ran for 31 yards on 11 carries.

Also inactive were tight end Tim Massaquoi, linebacker Leon Joe, offensive lineman Christian Gaddis, tight end Ryan Neufeld, defensive end Copeland Bryan and defensive tackle Jason Jefferson.


>Road to success

You can just call Patriots quarterback Tom Brady the road warrior. He has a 17-5 road record against AFC East opponents. In those games he had completed better than 66 percent of his passes for 5,095 yards with 44 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. . . . This was the 96th game between the Bills and Patriots, a rivalry that began in 1960 when both were in the old AFL. The Patriots have won 14 of the last 15 meetings, including nine straight, to expand their series record to 55-40.


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