ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -Jason Peters insists he's playing at the same Pro Bowl level as last year.
The numbers, though, don't entirely jibe. They suggest the Buffalo Bills left tackle has lost a step in his first six games since ending an offseason-long holdout.
After the Bills allowed 26 sacks all last year, the fewest by the team in a 16-game season since 1981, Buffalo has already given up 18 in seven games this year. And Peters hasn't been entirely holding up his end on a line he's supposed to anchor, having been beaten as many as five times so far.
Not that Peters considers that to be a personal setback.
``I've been doing OK,'' Peters said as the Bills (5-2) prepare to host the New York Jets (4-3) this weekend. ``We have a home game Sunday. You watch me and you grade me.''
It will be an important test, considering the Jets have registered 24 sacks, the third-most in the NFL.
sacks - including one that resulted in a game-turning fourth-quarter safety - in a 25-16 loss to Miami last Sunday.
Peters was the player Porter beat in securing the safety, bursting inside after the tackle set up to block for an outside rush. Porter then slipped past guard Derrick Dockery to get to Trent Edwards and force a fumble that was recovered by Buffalo center Duke Preston in the end zone.
``I put the blame on me,'' Peters said, assessing what happened. He then defended himself by saying that was only one play out of 68 in which he failed to protect the quarterback.
``I dominated them for 67. Just one play. He makes a play so he had a good game,'' Peters said. ``The plays that I have given up, it's just hustle plays on their part.''
That assessment is similar to what Peters said after he allowed two sacks, one which resulted in a fumble, in a 24-23 win over Oakland in Week 3.
``I felt like I could take away three, maybe four plays,'' Peters said. ``In another week, I'll be back to 100 percent every play, getting ready to go.''
Peters is being held to an elite standard after earning his first Pro Bowl selection last season. And he drew even more attention to himself this year after Peters missed the entire offseason holding out while demanding a significant pay raise to reflect his new status as the team's top offensive lineman.
levels.
After refusing to report until the Bills restructured the final years on his contract, Peters gave in by joining them a day before their season-opener against Seattle and with only an assurance - not a promise - from the team that a new deal would be discussed.
Now, Peters might be weakening whatever bargaining position he has left because he's spent the first half of this season attempting to catch up on the time missed.
Coach Dick Jauron sidestepped a question of whether Peters was playing at a Pro Bowl level, saying he doesn't watch every tackle in the league.
``I know this, this left tackle's playing very well,'' said Jauron, who also noted he's judging Peters' performance based on someone who took part in only three practices before playing in a regular season game.
In Peters' defense, the Bills line has been beset by injuries. Preston has started the past two games at center in place of Melvin Fowler, while Jason Whittle started at right guard last week in place of starter Brad Butler (left knee).
And yet, the Bills' starting five, including Peters, allowed 15 sacks in the four games they've played together this season.
``We're still a work in progress,'' right tackle Langston Walker said. ``We're working with new guys, and we're still, I think, trying to find our identity a little bit as a team.''

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