Buffalo Bills

Are the Bills fading into pretender status?

Nov 12, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott during the first half against the New Orleans Saints at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills this season were looking like a legitimate threat to challenge for the AFC East throne and potentially make their first playoff appearance in 18 years. Even after losing so much talent in the offseason on offense and defense, this Bills team looked primed for something special after knocking off the Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons.

However, that special something just ended up being more of the same for a Bills organization that has a longer playoff drought than the Cleveland Browns. Save yourselves the heartache, Bills fans. Although the Bills are technically still in the playoff hunt, they aren’t legitimate playoff contenders. They are merely pretenders feigning as contenders.

Good teams start to hit their stride at the halfway point of the season. So far that hasn’t been the Bills, who have lost their last two games by a combined 50 points—a Thursday night loss to the New York Jets and an embarrassing 47-10 rout on Sunday on their home field by the New Orleans Saints.

Tristan Lambright, the streaker that ran onto the field and delayed the game in the fourth quarter, had more rushing yards than the Bills offense.

LeSean McCoy talked about being the best running back in the NFL earlier in the season. An argument could be made that he isn’t even a top-5 back at this point. Part of the reasoning could be equated to personal struggles, while the other part can be attributed to the offensive line. Against the Saints, the Bills got behind too early for McCoy to ever have a chance at being effective on the ground.

There are also question marks surrounding the quarterback position. Tyrod Taylor really hasn’t been all that bad, considering the Bills took away nearly all of his offensive weapons. Sure, Kelvin Benjamin was in the lineup on Sunday, but he hasn’t been in the offense long enough to have much of an impact on games. Taylor also didn’t have a chance to build chemistry with him in the offseason.

Rookie Nate Peterman definitely looked like the better quarterback on Sunday, but don’t be fooled into thinking he’s some kind of hero. The Bills’ problems go beyond the quarterback position.

That feisty defense that had scrapped its way to five wins has looked downright awful in the last two games. The Saints are a tough outing for anyone in the NFL right now, but there is no excuse for giving up 47 points and nearly 500 yards of offense.

“We’ve got a certain standard,” coach Sean McDermott said after the game, per ESPN’s Mike Rodak. “That wasn’t up to our standard. Really, that standard is not changing. It’s what we look every day to accomplish — is to play at that standard, to do our work at that standard. Today was not indicative of the standard that we’ve set for ourselves around here.”

That standard is starting to look indicative of the bar that’s been set after a pair of lopsided outings. Things could get even worse with road games against the Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs and a home game against the New England Patriots on tap. The Bills aren’t fading into pretender status.

They’re already there.

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