Twice on Sunday, four-time Pro Bowler Charles Woodson looked confused. Bewildered. Sick to his stomach.

The first happened to be during the most decisive play of Buffalo’s ridiculous 24-10 win over Green Bay, one in which the Bills finished with just nine first downs.

Woodson, who was shifted from corner to safety when starter Marquand Manuel was forced to the sidelines, was responsible for anything deep in the Packers’ Cover-2 defense.

Lee Evans ran out, then up, and Al Harris pinched in, expecting deep help from Woodson.

If you haven’t seen it yet, picture Terrence McGee with a “G” on his helmet, jumping the route and praying for a safety that never comes.

“There definitely was a breakdown,” Woodson said. “We got caught out there basically with our pants down. We were in a certain defense and at the last minute we were trying to get into another defense. It was just all kind of out of whack. It probably would have been smart to just get a timeout in that situation.”

While Woodson was the first to admit his gaffe, he also knows that NFL games are expected to have a few big plays. For the rest of Sunday’s clash of the lightweights, the Green Bay defense was stellar, the degree of which can be quantified — the league’s worst pass defense held the Bills to 64 net passing yards.

Woodson’s second puzzled look came as he stood in front of his locker, a throng of Wisconsin media looking for answers.

How his team — which gained 427 yards on the road and held their opponent to just 184 — slipped out of serious playoff contention seemed unfathomable.

“We killed ourselves today,” Woodson said.

“For me, it was a pretty embarrassing loss. They shouldn’t have beat us and that’s the bottom line.”

Woodson’s right. Sunday’s win makes the home fans feel good, at least in the interim, but it’s got the same effect as last year’s surprising result over Cincinnati — it only hurts the Bills’ status on the draft board. Buffalo’s offense is atrocious. And this despite an underrated offensive line and a receiver who’d be among the league’s top 10 if he played anywhere else.

A 3-4 football team on the road in the NFL was “embarassed” to lose to Buffalo. His word, not mine, but it puts things in an alarming persepective.

Even the way the Bills scored was ugly. Losman’s throw to Evans was a poor one and if a defender would have been within 10 yards, might have been picked. And most other NFL quarterbacks would have hit Evans for a touchdown earlier in the game, when a bad throw was the only thing that helped Harris close and swat a sure TD away.

Losman said after the game that the boos don’t bother him; that he’s still “confident and comfortable” with the way things are going.

That’s great for him, but the feelings aren’t communal. The Bills won Sunday, but it certainly wasn’t pretty and it didn’t look like a monumental step forward.

Sunday’s win lets you sleep easier, Bills fans, but it shouldn’t. Despite Losman’s comments, confidence and comfort are waning at One Bills Drive, and a lucky win over a mediocre team shouldn’t change that.

Woodson might have been the one most visibly puzzled Sunday, but there were plenty of others who feel the same.

Instead of wondering what happened Sunday, however, they’re wondering where this team is headed.

Contact group sports editor Tim Schmitt at 282-2311, Ext. 2266.

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