HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -Jonathan Vilma and a number of his teammates stood near the door to the players' parking lot as reporters filed into the New York Jets' locker room Monday.
After completing their meetings and film work, the Jets were eager to get home and put their disappointing 17-14 loss at Buffalo behind them.
``A loss always lingers until you get going for the next week,'' Vilma said. ``One-and-three is not down and out. Is it tough? Yes, it's very tough, especially in our division and conference. It's an uphill battle that we'll have to face, but we're definitely not down and out or out of it. We have to keep grinding.''
That was the common thought among a surprisingly upbeat group of players a day after the Jets dropped what many believed would be a sure victory. After falling to 1-3, New York isn't about to panic.
``It's a long season,'' running back Thomas Jones said. ``The playoffs don't start tomorrow. We have a lot of things that we can correct. The good thing is, a lot of the situations that we've been in, we've done a lot of things to hurt ourselves with penalties and not taking advantage of big opportunities. Those are things we can correct.''
The Jets were done in by sloppy plays (nine penalties for 65 yards), missed opportunities (Mike Nugent's missed 37-yard field goal attempt before halftime) and mistakes (Chad Pennington's two costly interceptions in the fourth quarter) against the Bills.
``What I showed this morning was a handful of plays that really if we had played them a little bit better and executed a little bit better, the outcome could have been different,'' coach Eric Mangini said. ``It wasn't a function of assigning blame to the players that were involved in those plays or saying that these were the only plays that were important. It was just a function of showing how at any point, slight execution can dramatically affect the outcome of the game.''
``We were behind the gun a lot of times,'' wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. ``A lot of times, we had third-and-11 and third-and-12. Running the ball is pretty much not an option unless you're going to do something to just get a punt out.''
Pennington was 32-of-39 for 290 yards and completed a career-high 15 consecutive passes during one stretch. Despite the gaudy numbers, many of the throws were short dumpoffs and the offense produced only two touchdowns against the worst-ranked defense in the NFL. Even worse, two of Pennington's seven incompletions were picked off in key spots.
Jabari Greer's interception set up Michael Gaines' 1-yard touchdown catch that put Buffalo ahead 17-7 midway through the fourth quarter. Then, with the Jets driving for a potential tying field goal, Pennington forced a throw for Justin McCareins that was caught by Terrence McGee at the Bills 31 with 6 seconds left.
``It was frustrating from the point that we were inconsistent on offense,'' Cotchery said. ``You want to come out and get things going early. We moved the ball for a little bit and then the drive stalls. You really just want to be able to get into a groove offensively and we weren't able to do that.''
Even the normally reliable Nugent wasn't without fault. Nugent had a shot at a 37-yard field goal with 1 second left before the half, but hit the right upright as the game remained scoreless.
``It was tough,'' said Nugent, who was hoping for a chance to redeem himself at the end of the game. ``Before I pick my head up, I can tell you 98 percent of the time whether it's good or not. But there's that 2 percent when I hit it and it feels great and I'll look up and go, `Wow. I can't believe that didn't go in.' That was that 2 percent.''
The Jets are ready to look ahead to their next opponent, the NFC-rival Giants, who improved to 2-2 with an impressive 12-sack performance against Philadelphia.
``The coaches understand that they have guys that are willing to come in and work every day,'' Cotchery said. ``They didn't come in today, beat everything into our heads and say, `We have to do this,' and make everyone go into the dumps. They know the caliber of guys that they have in this locker room, so it's more of an encouraging thing to get this thing turned around. I think we'll be able to do so.''

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