Bills face Jets looking to rebound from frustrating loss
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — According to the Buffalo Bills, defensive tackle Star Lotulelei has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The defensive tackle will miss Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.
Lotulelei has started the seven games for the Bills. He has 14 tackles and 2.0 sacks in 2021.
Defensive tackle Brandin Bryant has been elevated from the practice squad for the Jets game.
Stefon Diggs and the Buffalo Bills didn’t take last week’s loss lightly.
Falling 9-6 to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars was stunning and, really, embarrassing. The Bills were not dwelling on it this week, but that performance served as a wakeup call that they need to do a lot of things a lot better if they plan to get themselves right again.
“Of course we’re all extremely frustrated just because losing, nobody wants to lose,” Diggs said. “Especially not me. Anybody who takes a loss easy, I’ll show you a loser. I digested it, looked at the game, watched the tape, and figured out things I could do better. Just try to move forward.”
The Bills (5-3) get that chance Sunday against the AFC East rival New York Jets (2-6) at MetLife Stadium.
“We can’t just focus on one game, one loss,” quarterback Josh Allen said. “We talked on Monday and we communicate what went wrong, what right, what we need to fix.”
Allen threw two interceptions and lost a fumble during Buffalo’s first four series in the second half at Jacksonville. The Bills failed to score a touchdown, the first time that’s happened since their 18-10 win over the Jets last October. And the offense generated just 17 first downs, ending a 23-game run of 20 or more.
“Yeah, I’d imagine Buffalo’s going to be really upset after going back and watching that tape,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “That’s an explosive offense, it can go off at any time. They’ve got talented players everywhere.”
The Jets know better than to consider Allen anything other than a dangerous opponent who can lead his offense into the end zone at any moment.
“He’s a great quarterback,” Jets defensive end John Franklin-Myers said. “As we know, he does a lot on his feet, he moves around, makes plays down the field. He can kind of do everything. He has a great arm and a great mentality as a quarterback, so it’s a good challenge for us. We’re ready for it.”
New York’s defense better be. The Jets have allowed an average of 463 total yards over their past four games, and that includes giving up just 318 in their win over Cincinnati two weeks ago.
“It’s not good enough,” defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said. “From a coaching perspective, it’s not good enough and from a playing perspective, it’s not good enough.”
Mike White will make his third straight start for the Jets in place of injured rookie Zach Wilson, whose sprained right knee still isn’t fully healed.
The backup quarterback was the talk of the NFL two weeks ago after his threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns in his first NFL start, a 34-31 win over Cincinnati. White was off to another good start last week, throwing a TD pass early at Indianapolis before a bruised nerve in his right hand caused his fingers to go numb.
White’s feeling fine again and the Jets won’t rush Wilson back, especially if New York’s offense continues to thrive without him.
“What you see in practice and OTAs and training camp, and what we’ve seen is just this calm, cool, loose personality,” Saleh said of White. “It’s not too big for him.”
Bills coach Sean McDermott is seeing red over all the yellow flags his team’s suddenly attracting.
The Bills had 12 penalties accepted against them for 118 yards, with six leading to Jaguars first downs last weekend.
“The ones that are pre-snap, the ones that are post-whistle, which we had a few of those last week, too many — those are non-negotiables,” he said, referring specifically to a taunting and two unnecessary roughness penalties. “I think there’s great clarity on what I expect in that area and to me, that’s a reflection on me, and I shared that with the team.”
The Bills are tied for seventh in having 61 penalties called against them, and rank fifth at 555 yards.
MOORE TO SEE
Jets rookie wide receiver Elijah Moore has begun to break out after a quiet start, helping New York score 64 points and roll up 997 yards in its past two games.
The second-round pick out of Ole Miss has 13 catches for 151 yards in that span, including the first two TD receptions of his career last week at Indianapolis. Moore also had a touchdown run against New England three weeks ago, showing an ability to be a factor on offense in various ways.
“He’s getting the production with (the offense), but you could tell he’s really just getting comfortable,” offensive coordinator Mike LaFLeur said. “I think that’s just been shown throughout our entire offense, particularly in the pass game.”
Bills tight end Dawson Knox resumed practicing and has an opportunity to return after missing two games with a broken right hand. He was a full participant at practice Thursday and Friday.
The third-year player was enjoying a breakout season before getting hurt in a 34-31 loss at Tennessee on Oct. 18. With 21 catches for 286 yards, he still leads the team with five touchdown catches while establishing himself as an integral threat in the red zone.
“I feel like Dawson Knox is an intricate part in our offense and the things we do,” Diggs said. “He was playing at such a high level before he got hurt. I look forward to him picking up where he went out.”
AP Sports Writer John Wawrow contributed.
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