"This will be a big game for us in terms of where we are mentally," said Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
This could be the SAT of mental tests. This Bills are on the road, where they've won only two of their last ten games. They're taking on the 49ers, who are just nine months removed from a trip to the NFC title game, and one week removed from a blowout win over the Jets. Meanwhile the Bills, as we're well aware, are in need of a bounce back after Sunday's collapse against the Patriots.
"That game happened, you cannot just erase it from your memory," Fitzpatrick said in his Wednesday press conference. "But we are professionals and we are going to move on. We have to because we have another great opponent coming up this week."
"I think that when you come off of a loss, you have to travel all the way across the country and you have to go against a good football team you are going to be challenged mentally," added head coach Chan Gailey. "Your toughness mentally and physically is going to be challenged."
The physical challenge comes on both sides of the ball. The 49ers have a defensive front seven, considered among the league's toughest run stoppers. Additionally, they have an offensive running game to match, ranked third in the league. The 49ers racked up 245 rushing yards against the Jets last week and got touchdowns from three different ball carriers. It's a matchup that will test both the Bills run game and run defense.
"It's something that's going to control the game," said Fred Jackson. "If we can go out there and get a good ground game established, it's going to take pressure off a lot of people."
"We have to do a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage, not giving up the run plays like we gave up last week, and forcing them to win the game on Alex (Smith's) arm," added safety George Wilson.
When we look at the stat sheet, we see Mario Williams is ninth on the Bills with eleven total tackles, including one and a half sacks. Those numbers are largely disappointing for a player who signed a 100 million dollar contract in the offseason. Perhaps some of that lack of production can be injury related. Williams announced to the media Wednesday that he suffered a wrist injury in the fourth preseason game and has been largely unable to use his hand in pass rush situations. Still, he hasn't appeared on the injury report and has taken every rep in practice, but apparently not at 100 percent.
"I am a hands-on player," said Williams. "It is all about power with my game. It has just been a little odd having a little nick or not being able to use it to the full extent.
"You have to play. When you are out there on Sunday you have to play regardless of what is going on the field. You have to make it happen."
"He has been getting some treatment, but it has not been a thing that has kept him from ever practicing or anything like that," Gailey clarified. "How much it bothers a guy, we have guys with ankles, knees, hips and shoulders. Everything bothers you during a season."