ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey questioned his players' mental toughness on Monday, a day after the team's embarrassing — and near-historic — second-half collapse against the New England Patriots.
Placing the blame on everyone, including himself, Gailey called it his responsibility to address how Buffalo squandered a 14-point lead, by allowing the Patriots to score 45 second-half points in rallying to a 52-28 win.
"You can't be ahead 21-7 in the third quarter. And if we're mentally tough like we need to be, that game doesn't end up the way it ended," he said. "And that's my responsibility, to work on the mental toughness and the mindset of this football team."
Gailey was unhappy with how his high-priced defense missed too many tackles and was pushed around in allowing 580 yards offense — the second-highest total allowed by the team in franchise history.
The Patriots scored touchdowns on six consecutive possessions and became only the NFL's fifth team to score both 45 points in the second half of a game and 31 in a fourth quarter.
Gailey then turned his attention to how sloppy his offense was in committing six turnovers, including running back C.J. Spiller losing a fumble while attempting a goal-line plunge late in the first half.
"After a game like that, you're dissatisfied with a lot of things. Let's not just pick out one thing," Gailey said. "I've got to work on the mindset of this football team and creating a sense of urgency every snap of every game."
Inconsistency and mental toughness are suddenly not the only question facing the Bills (2-2).
Injuries are also becoming a factor for Buffalo in preparing to enter a difficult stretch of its schedule. The Bills play four of their next five on the road, starting with their game at San Francisco (3-1) on Sunday.
And they'll be facing the defensively stout 49ers without two starting offensive linemen after left tackle Cordy Glenn and right guard Kraig Urbik both hurt their right ankles against New England. Gailey expects both to miss this week's game, and isn't sure whether either will be ready to play the following weekend at Arizona.
Urbik wore a protective boot on his right foot on Monday and said he's been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain.
The troubles are piling up for a team that entered the season with high expectations in believing the pieces were in place to contend for a playoff spot and end a 12-season postseason drought.