More questions than answers

The Bills are leaving many of us puzzled after a 41-9 loss to Chicago

Nate Geary
November 04, 2018 - 5:52 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports


Let’s have a calm, sensible conversation about this Buffalo Bills coaching staff that lays out the progress of this thing we call the “process.”

Sean McDermott is not on the “hot seat.” He’ll end this season the same way he started it – as the head coach of the Bills. Brian Daboll, Bills offensive coordinator – he’ll be the offensive coordinator in 2019 and the same can be said about Leslie Frazier, who’s defense has performed admirably after a tough start to the season.

Let’s include Brandon Beane in this conversation too because there is a 100-percent chance he’s the general manager of the Buffalo Bills in 2019.

I’ll tell you what though; the focus and pressure will be geared up tenfold at the conclusion of the 2018 season; however, their record shakes out.

Listen, Bills fans are patient; 17 straight years without a playoff appearance, two-plus decades of putrid play at the quarterback position, and a revolving door at both head coach and general manager since the turn of the century. With all that dysfunction, Bills fans still packed the stadium and came out each and every week, rain or shine.

What they won’t tolerate and definitely don’t deserve though, is to be a national embarrassment and punchline and what they’ve become just nine games in is precisely that: a punchline and an unfortunate joke.

Beane and McDermott certainly didn’t enter the season looking to put out the worst offensive unit, in terms of efficiency in NFL history. They didn’t go out intending to start then immediately bench Nathan Peterman and throw out their rookie quarterback before he was ready. Then have to sign a street free agent, who would play regular season downs because you simply can’t play a quarterback in Nathan Peterman, whom you drafted and declared your starting quarterback after the preseason.

Since taking over in 2017, McDermott has seen his football teams beaten by 20 or more points eight times in just 26 games. Offensively, they ranked 29th in total yards in 2017 and through nine games this season, they ranked 31st going into Sunday’s 41-9 loss at home to the  Chicago Bears.

In a league scoring and passing at historical rates, the Bills are the 32nd-ranked passing offense and haven’t mustered more than one half of competent play through nine games, and also failed to score a touchdown on 39-straight offensive possessions before Peterman’s one-yard touchdown run against the Bears with the game well in hand.

They’re forced, by their own doing, to trot out the worst quarterback in the league and by the numbers, maybe the worst quarterback of all-time in Peterman due to injuries to both Josh Allen and Derek Anderson – who was trying his best to qualify as an amateur for the 2019 Masters just four weeks prior.

Peterman, after three more interceptions against the Bears, now has 12 interceptions on just 130 career passing attempts. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers sent out a guy named Nick Mullens on Thursday night (off their practice squad who’s never played a down in the NFL) who was able to throw for as many touchdowns (three) in 60-minutes as Allen, Anderson, and Peterman have in nine full games.

It’s frustrating, and yes, the Bills have $90-million in cap space next offseason and a bunch of draft capital, but if Josh Allen is the future of this franchise, Brandon Beane is going to have to make some difficult decisions in order to put the coaching infrastructure and talent around him in place to succeed.

Should McDermott be fired? No, I don’t believe so, but is it time to question whether or not his process or blueprint is the one to propel the Bills out of two decades worth of below average results? I’m really not sure.

Outside of blind confidence, there isn’t much evidence 26-games in that he’s any different than Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey, Chan Gailey, or the handful of two-bit coaches who have preceded him for the last 20 years. There’s hope, but there’s always been hope. There’s structure, but how often does that lead to sustained success?

I don’t have an answer yet, but I’m running out of excuses and fans are running out of patience. I, for one, am looking forward to the return of Josh Allen and let’s hope that it brings some stability to the offense because as it stands, they’re an unmitigated disaster.

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