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Bills acknowledge season on brink after another loss to Patriots

By Tim Graham

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Buffalo Bills know they've backed themselves into a corner and have no margin for error when it comes to making the playoffs.

The Bills had a glorious opportunity to win for the first time in Gillette Stadium and climb back into the playoff hunt this afternoon, but rookie receiver T.J. Graham ran the wrong route, and Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an interception in the end zone with 23 seconds to play.

The New England Patriots won, 37-31. The Bills could've been one game out of first place in the AFC East. Instead the Bills are 3-6, three games behind the Patriots.

"We've got to stay on guys so they understand: Our playoffs are now," Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams said. "They start now. There's no reason that we can't go on a run and get back in this thing, but it's going to take a lot out of everybody."

Said running back C.J. Spiller: "It's pretty much a must win from here on out."

The Bills have lost three in a row and four of their past five games. Since the NFL realigined in 2002, no AFC wild card has had more than seven losses. The Patriots went 11-5 four years ago and didn't get into the postseason.

"We only got seven games now," Bills defensive end Mario Williams said. "In order for us to get to where we want to go, we've got to win out. We can't keep losing like this."

The Patriots have beaten the Bills 12 straight times in Foxborough and 18 of the past 19 meetings regardless of venue.

"It's getting old," Bills safety Jairus Byrd said. "It's getting really old. At some point it has to change."

The Bills will host the Miami Dolphins in Ralph Wilson Stadium on Thursday night.

"There's still a chance," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "We still can get there. The world champions were 7-7 last year.

"It makes our goal harder. It does. You could've won this one, it would've made our goal easier. But I think we'll get there. I know I'm in the minority, but thank goodness I've got a group of guys in that locker room in there that think the same thing."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |