ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Coach Chan Gailey prefers the alternative after being reminded how the Buffalo Bills were affectionately referred to as “lovable losers” a year ago.
“Yeah, you’d rather be a lovable winner,” Gailey said Monday.
Surprise, surprise. A year after Buffalo became the NFL’s last team to win a game following an 0-8 start, look who’s left as the AFC’s only remaining unbeaten team three weeks into this season. It’s those never-give-up, offensively prolific, no-name, slow-starting, fast-finishing, good-news-story Bills.
“It feels good,” center Eric Wood said. “But we also know what it feels like to lose, and we don’t want to go back there. We’re going to keep that chip on our shoulder. … We know we have to go out and earn respect each and every week.”
At 3-0, the Bills have attracted most everyone’s attention as they prepare to play at Cincinnati (1-2) on Sunday.
They’re leading the NFL with 113 points, which also happens to be a franchise record over a three-game stretch. And they’re showing they can win in dramatic fashion.
Buffalo is coming off a stunning, 34-31 win over AFC East rival New England, rallying from a 21-0 second-quarter deficit to snap a 15-game losing streak against the Patriots. That followed a stirring 38-35 win over Oakland in which Buffalo was down by 18 at the half.
Dating to 1950, the Bills became the NFL’s first team to win consecutive games by overcoming 18-point deficits.
“The objective is to win the game,” Gailey said, before adding he’d prefer a faster start. “We’d like to not have to set records for coming back.”
Buffalo has opened 3-0 for only the ninth time in franchise history and the first since going 4-0 in 2008. The Bills eventually got to 5-1 before unraveling en route to a 7-9 finish.
There’s at least one difference to this season’s start, given that the Bills already have a win over an AFC East rival. They went 0-6 against the division in 2008.
And there’s a newfound confidence that’s grown with each win.
“When you go out there and make wins how we did, it just boosts our confidence even more,” receiver Stevie Johnson said. “Worst to first. You’ve seen that plenty of times with teams. Why not the Buffalo Bills?”
The Bills, who have missed the playoffs the past 11 seasons, are riding the offense, scoring 30 points or more in all three games, including 41 in the opener. This after scoring 20 or more just four times last year.