COME ON, Tyrod Taylor

Schopp & Bulldog | Weekdays 3p-7p
September 13, 2016 - 5:24 am

Photo: Mitch Stringer - USA TODAY Sports


You saw the game, and now you've seen the play.

The Bills' first offensive play of the 2016 season has a chance to define it. Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods lined up the left. No safety to that side of the field. Watkins runs a few yards and stops, Woods sprints deep. Watkins' defender backs off, leaving Watkins alone; Woods' defender ignores Woods and focuses on Taylor and LeSean McCoy.

Smart move because Taylor, who looks to his right at the snap, checks down to McCoy and never sees the wide-open Watkins or, worse, the wide-open-for-a-probable-touchdown Woods. The protection was good enough.

McCoy catches the ball and is surrounded, then crunched to the ground for a measly 2-yard gain.

That's how it starts. Months of anticipation and hype come to life in the form of a 2-yard pass and Robert Woods running futilely alone upfield. Not the first time, probably won't be the last.

It's now before Taylor and the Bills' offense to make this damning, unfortunate play -- and the game overall -- an anomaly, so far from the performance to come this season that we'll always wonder what Taylor ate that morning in Baltimore, or have it represent yet another failed campaign.

It'll be one of the two.

Plays like this are a not-so-gentle reminder of the Bills' biggest problem these 16 (!) consecutive playoff-less seasons: passing prowess. Sure, they led the league in rushing last year. So what? Two years before that their defense was outstanding. Again, so what?

Throw the ball for real purpose and meaning in this decade or you're likely getting January off.

Sure, some teams buck the trend. Seattle's defense has been at or near the very top for several years. Denver didn't get good play from Peyton Manning, but the guy had a little experience figuring out ways to win games. Carolina's quarterback can take a busted pass play and run over people. Also, these teams don't have perennially 12-4 New England in their division or on their schedule twice a year.

If you can't consistently throw for first downs then good luck to you. Sunday the Bills threw for five first downs. Detroit threw for 20. Detroit!

Starting in 2003, here's where the Bills ranked each season in passing yards: 28th, 27th, 29th, 28th, 30th, 22nd, 30th, 24th, 15th, 25th, 28th, 18th, 28th.

After one week in 2016, they're last.

This dinky McCoy pass on the first play of the season is maddening on many levels, including that IT'S THE FIRST PLAY OF THE SEASON. Watkins should of course be the focus of the offense, and the season begins as last year's did, with him being ignored. And of course Woods is a free touchdown. For all time coaches waste on the false importance of "momentum" and "sending messages", how does a 68-yard TD on the first play sound?

It's mostly Taylor's fault, but it makes you wonder what's been drilled into him. Play it safe? Check down? Avoid mistakes?

That's no way to win, especially when you're on a losing streak that feels like it started a lifetime ago, and for some of you actually did.

The season isn't over, far from it. So, come on, Tyrod. This is your chance. If it means shunning antiquated conservative advice from the sideline, then so be it. Ask Trent Edwards how playing it safe worked out for him. He played his way out of the league. Go make a name for yourself. We know from last year you can throw the long ball, so why on earth would opportunities to do that be skipped?

It's your career. You can be a star here, even a savior. But you won't be either if you're quitting plays early throwing 2 yards to covered running backs.

I want to see authority from Taylor. As the Baltimore game got later it became even more stark that the Bills didn't try to score a quick touchdown on a long pass the way the Ravens did. Rex Ryan, as many coaches do, talked about the importance of rhythm in an offense. Well what kind of rhythm did the Ravens have on their winning score?

I don't care about rhythm if it comes at the expense of points.

COME ON, Tyrod Taylor. It's up to you.
Comments ()