Bills cautious despite 5-2 start after beating Raiders 34-14
By JOHN WAWROW, AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams isn’t into making predictions.
No matter how good it feels for Buffalo’s 12-year veteran and elder statesman to be part of a team that’s off to a 5-2 start, Williams would rather stay in the moment.
“I don’t know what the next nine more weeks hold, win-loss wise,” Williams said following a 34-14 win over Oakland on Sunday. “There’s a whole lot in front of us, a whole lot of work to be done. And before we start hugging, like, ‘Oh, man, this feels so good,’ we’ve got a quick turnaround right in our face.”
He was referring to Buffalo facing a short week in having to play at the New York Jets on Thursday night.
Williams also can appreciate knowing a 5-2 start is no guarantee for anything for a franchise in the midst of a 17-year playoff drought — the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports.
Williams was a member of the two teams that won five of the first seven during the drought, before finishing 6-10 in 2011 and 7-9 in 2008.
“We’re just going to stick to our process and what we do,” Williams said. “We’re going to compete on Sunday or Thursday in New York or Buffalo or in the parking lot or wherever it may be. And we’re going to enjoy playing together.”
The Bills have shown great resolve so far.
Rookie linebacker Matt Milano capitalized on DeAndre Washington’s fumble by scoring the go-ahead touchdown on a 40-yard return on a rain-slick field. And the Bills injury- and star-depleted defense forced four turnovers while playing without two starters in the backfield and two days after trading their highest-paid player, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, to Jacksonville.
LeSean McCoy had a season-best 151 yards rushing and scored on a 48 yard run in a game the Bills scored 27 consecutive points.
The Raiders (3-5), by comparison, unraveled in losing for the fourth time in five games and failing to carry over any of the momentum they generated following a 31-30 come-from-behind victory over Kansas City on Oct. 19.
Rather than return home, the Raiders traveled directly to Florida, where they’ll spend the week preparing to play at Miami next Sunday before entering their bye week.
“I probably won’t shut up all week about how hard we need to go in practice. We’re at that point,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Each man needs to look at it and keep working, because that’s the only way you get out of this.”
Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack wasn’t very much interested about talking about his ties to Buffalo before the game nor after.
“Buffalo is just a part of who I am, went here for college and all that stuff,” said Mack, who played college at the University at Buffalo before being selected by Oakland with the No. 5 pick in the 2014 draft. “I don’t want to talk about it too much. I wanted to come here and play a football game.”
Aside from scoring on a fumble return, Milano forced a fumble by knocking the ball loose during Jalen Richard’s punt return to open the second half. Safety Micah Hyde had his fifth interception of the season by picking off Carr, who was also intercepted by Trae Elston.
Buffalo has forced three or more turnovers in each of its past four.
NO BEAST MODE
Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch will rejoin the team in Florida after serving a one-game suspension for coming off the bench and shoving an official during the game against Kansas City.
Though Washington scored on a 4-yard catch and fullback Jamize Olawale scored on a 1-yard run, the Raiders were limited to just 54 yards rushing.
The Bills have won their first four games at Orchard Park, New York, for the first time since going 5-0 in 1995. Buffalo won its first “home” games in 2011, but one was at Toronto. The Bills have also scored 20 or more points in 13 consecutive home games, the NFL’s longest active streak.
HONORING THOMAS’ DAUGHTER
The Bills awarded a game ball to tight end Logan Thomas, whose daughter died the day she was born last week. Thomas rejoined the team for practice on Thursday, and had one catch for 7 yards.
“When a player is going through something so serious, we’re going through it also,” McCoy said. “Prayers to him and his family. And he knows that we’re behind him 110 percent.”
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