ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) _ Drew Bledsoe still has his coach's confidence. Now the Buffalo Bills quarterback has to rebuild his own.
Coming off the worst performance of his career, Bledsoe is facing new questions about his ability to lead the Bills offense and whether it's time rookie first-round pick J.P. Losman took over as starter.
The biggest challenge playing the position of quarterback is being hardheaded enough to move on,'' Bledsoe said Wednesday.I've had a couple of long nights tossing and turning. And I'm moving on, moving forward.''
Bledsoe's nightmares are the result of his last outing, going 8-of-19 for 76 yards and three interceptions to combine for a career-low 14.3 quarterback rating in Buffalo's 29-6 loss at New England last Sunday.
The offense generated just 125 yards and failed to score a touchdown for the second time in four games, and for the eighth time in its last 23.
So much for the apparent turnaround the Bills enjoyed after winning three of four before playing New England.
And Bledsoe, a 12-year NFL veteran, is taking the brunt of the blame for Buffalo falling out of the AFC playoff picture.
That's not what was expected from a team that believed it was better than last year's 6-10 finish, and had brought in a new Mike Mularkey-led coaching staff to specifically address what had been a sputtering offense.
I'm extremely frustrated with what's transpired with this team,'' Bledsoe said.The expectation level we have as a team and the production that we've put on the field, there's a pretty big disparity there.''
Bledsoe will keep the starter's job for now, but for how much longer is the question.
In part because of Bledsoe's poor performance, Losman made his NFL debut in a mop-up role Sunday. Losman struggled he fumbled once and threw an interception in five plays from scrimmage but his appearance raised speculation that his first pro start might come sooner rather than later.
Mularkey insists he's sticking with Bledsoe because he still provides the Bills the best chance to win. And Mularkey avoided being pinned down as to if or when he'll give Losman another opportunity, saying it will be a decision based on the right situation.
The most Mularkey has said of Losman is that he's considering promoting him to backup as early as this weekend.
As for Bledsoe, the coach said his quarterback is holding up well under the circumstances.
I don't know how much he pays attention to it or tries to find out what's said or written,'' Mularkey said.But I haven't seen it. If anything, he's here earlier than he typically is. ... If anything, he's trying harder every week.''
Bledsoe's numbers have declined since last season, when he finished with a career-low 2,860 yards passing with 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Through nine games this season, Bledsoe's 70.3 quarterback rating ranks 13th in the AFC and 26th in the NFL. He's thrown nine touchdowns against 10 interceptions and has yet to have more than 250 yards passing in any game.
Bledsoe's been at his most efficient this season when the Bills have had an effective running attack. All three victories have come when Willis McGahee had 100 yards rushing.
The Patriots contained McGahee to 37 yards rushing, and Bledsoe proved incapable of picking up the slack.
That's expected to change this weekend, when the Bills face a St. Louis Rams defense that ranks 29th against the run.
It's been my experience that when you come off a game that was extremely disappointing, it just feels good to start focusing on the next team,'' Bledsoe said.We're working on doing everything we can to beat the Rams.''