Bills offense produces a stinker

Sad part is: we shouldn’t be surprised

Howard Simon
September 17, 2017 - 8:23 pm
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There have been numerous (actually way too many) miserable offensive performances by the Bills over the 17-year playoff drought. I’m not sure if this game against Carolina deserves to be at the top of the list (I’ve tried to wipe the games out of my memory) but its pretty darn close.

The Bills had just 39 total yards of offense in the first half. They were still under 100 yards (94) going into the fourth quarter. Nine drives (not counting the one play possession at the end of the second quarter) produced six punts, two turnovers on downs and one field goal. The Bills managed more than one first down on just three of those nine possessions. The longest “drive” by the Bills lasted just 4:18. The best weapon on offense, LeSean McCoy, was bottled up to the tune of 43 yards on 18 touches. Buffalo never managed to make it into the red zone. Their deepest penetration was the Carolina 27-yard line. Tyrod Taylor completed 17 passes for a grand total of 125 yards. WOOF!!!!

I could have used a case of 550 Game Time beer (shameless plug) to help me get through this one. I’m not a huge beer guy, but this game screamed alcohol based relief.

Do you remember when the Bills traded Sammy Watkins? Remember how we talked about the team dealing away its most explosive, dynamic player in the passing game and how much that would hurt Tyrod Taylor? Then, Anquan Boldin retired and we wondered who, among the wide receiver group, could actually make plays? On Sunday in Charlotte, the Bills passing game was as bad as you might have dreaded.

This just in: Taylor has limitations as an NFL quarterback. He isn’t good enough to make an ordinary group of receivers better. He isn’t anywhere near the level of quarterback who can carry the team on his back or in this case, his passing arm. If the Bills scouts haven’t been watching college quarterbacks this season, they better start. In fact, I’d be happy to pass along the notes I have on Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph if they need them. Memo to my wife: you know how you don’t see me on Sundays during football season? You can now add Saturdays because I’ll be glued to the TV watching quarterbacks for the remainder of the college season.

On top of Tyrod’s shortcomings and a receiving group devoid of a big time play maker, when McCoy is shut down like he was by the Panthers, the Bills offense might as well just take their play book and go home. If it wasn’t for a phenomenal performance by the Bills defense, this game would have been over long before Zay Jones couldn’t hang on to a Taylor throw that almost put the Bills in position to steal the victory.

It was a lackluster day for the offense and the same can be said for rookie head coach Sean McDermott. He didn’t have any tough decisions and there wasn’t really anything worth second guessing in the week one win over the Jets. But game two provided fodder for Monday morning quarterbacks.

There are at least three moments to bring up. The first came late in the second quarter with Carolina facing a 2nd and 10 from their own 48 and 1:10 left. The Bills sacked Cam Newton which created a 3rd and 15 but McDermott, who had all three time outs left, did not stop the clock. The next play was run at the :31 mark so the Bills lost about a half a minute there.

Test number two came in the fourth quarter when the Bills had a 4th and 3 at the Carolina 27 with 11:58 left and trailing 6-0. McDermott took a page from just about every NFL head coach’s playbook when he opted to kick the field goal. He wasn’t asked about that decision during his post-game interview, but I’m going to guess he figured the defense was playing great and they’d get the ball back to his offense which would only need another field goal to tie the game. Unfortunately the Panthers went on a 15 play, 8:34 minute field goal drive leaving the Bills moribund offense in need of a touchdown.

The next questionable decision came on that Carolina field goal drive. On a 2nd and goal run from the Bills' three-yard line, Jonathan Stewart was stopped after a one-yard gain. McDermott, again with all three time outs left, decided not to use one. Instead, he let Carolina run some clock and then called time after they set up for the third down play. My guess is he wanted to see their formation, but valuable time ticked off the clock. Carolina ran on 1st and goal and 2nd and goal and they used up 1:23 by the time McDermott called his first time out.

It's too bad because McDermott’s defense did about all they could other than score a touchdown. They needed one of those Kansas City Chiefs games where their offense does nothing but they win because the defense scores. The Bills' defense held Carolina to three field goals, 255 total yards and a measly 2.8 yards per-carry. For those of you who were freaking out about the pass rush after the Jets game, I told you not to worry. They sacked Newton six times.

And the beat goes on….

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