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White still beating himself up over getting beat by Green

Tre'Davious White won't let it go.

Maybe the tears have dried. Maybe the moping and staring at the floor have stopped.

But the images from the Buffalo Bills' Oct. 8 loss at Cincinnati are still very fresh in the mind of the rookie cornerback, each stabbing at the heart of his pride. The first is of A.J. Green catching a 77-yard touchdown pass on the opening play of the Bengals' second possession. The second is of Green, again, on the receiving end of a 47-yard play on third down to set up another TD in the fourth quarter.

Both times, White was the victim.

Even after having a bye to put some extra distance between himself and the two most humiliating moments of his young NFL career, he continues to beat himself up.

"It's tough, because one of the main reasons why we're 3-2, man, we lost the game because of the way I played," White said Friday. "Yeah, it's definitely tough, but then it's obviously tougher when you have a bye week and you don't get to play the next week to kind of bounce back. I'm always hard on myself, man, because I want to be the best in the league. I want to be in the Hall of Fame, so I can't have letdowns like that if I want to be one of the best corners in the league. I take it upon my chin and I take it personally, I take it hard."

He's a fierce competitor, something that, along with his considerable talent, helped convince the Bills to make him a first-round draft pick last April. He comes from LSU, from the Southeastern Conference, where cornerbacks are routinely tested by receivers destined for the NFL.

White realizes that bad plays and bad days are a harsh reality of his position, but he also expects them to be as rare as they were through the first four games of the season. Don't bother telling him that Green is among the very best receivers the game has ever seen and has scorched plenty of defensive backs through the years.

"No matter who it is, I feel like I should win," White said. "I put that pressure on myself, so I don't care what receiver it is, how many Pro Bowls they have, I expect to go out there and dominate. I expect to win more matchups than I lose.

"I want to win, so to have a game like that that I had is devastating, just because of how hard we played as a team. And for me to give up those two big plays — one that was a score and the next play was a score after I gave up the big third down — it's definitely a devastating thing."

That was why White bolted from the locker room in Cincinnati just as reporters were allowed inside. He was too crushed to speak. He began crying as he sat on one of the buses that would carry the Bills to the airport for their flight home.

His depression only deepened as text after text appeared on his phone with various forms of the same question: "What happened?" White had no answers. Veteran teammates Kyle Williams, Lorenzo Alexander and Shareece Wright ("I call him my uncle") did their best to try to console him and provide some guidance on how to "get over it."

The best solution, of course, comes courtesy of the NFL schedule.

"I get an opportunity Sunday," White said. "And I'm looking forward to the opportunity to maximize all the things that I've been coached to do this week and all the things that I've seen on film and just try to come out and have a good outing."

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Sunday, the Bills face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Era Field. It won't get any easier for White. He'll spend a good portion of the game covering another top-flight receiver, Mike Evans.

Evans is 6-foot-5, an inch taller than Green. Evans weighs 231 pounds, which makes him 21 pounds heavier than Green.

"Big, physical dude," White said. "He goes up and gets it. It's going to be tough, so we've got to try to stay on top of him and just try to limit the big plays."

Coach Sean McDermott believes the rookie will be up to the challenge. He doesn't view what happened against Green as any cause for concern either with White's skills or his psyche.

McDermott is especially comfortable with the latter.

"He's a confident young man," the coach said. "He's played a lot of big-time football in the SEC and that was part of the evaluation process. The mental toughness part of it is huge and also playing in this league, you've got to have a short memory and learn from things — and I think we've seen that — and then move forward and use it to your advantage."

White understands there is a big difference between self-pity and self-doubt. The pity party is over. Doubt, he insists, never once entered the picture.

"My confidence will never waver," White said. "I know what type of player that I am, I know what type of work that I put in throughout the week and then offseason, going back to everything (from the start). I never get too high or too low, but this was one of the lowest I've been because I cost my team a game, so it's definitely something that I took hard.

"I've always been that way. No matter what, I want to win."

He intends to do exactly that Sunday.

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