Its time for the Bills to crank up the old quarterback search machine. I keep saying I want to wait until the season is done before I reach a final decision on Tyrod Taylor but, to tweak a phrase from the late Dennis Green, I think Tyrod is who I think he is.
If there was ever a game to drive the point home, it was Sunday's loss to the Oakland Raiders, which pushed the Bills very close to a 17th straight season without a playoff berth.
While Taylor and the Bills offense went into a deep freeze, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was lighting up the field with his precision like passing.
You might think its crazy to blame the quarterback when the other team scores 38 points, 29 of which came in the second half, but I'll tell you why this game was all about Taylor.
Despite the fact Carr and company were held to a mere three field goals in the first half, you knew they were going to put together a run. For me, the question was whether or not the offense could respond with points of their own but the answer was an emphatic NO.
While Carr was leading Oakland to touchdowns on three consecutive drives, the Taylor led Bills offense did nothing, literally. After the Mike Gillislee touchdown that gave the Bills a 24-9 lead with 9:01 left in the third quarter, the Bills went dry. They scored no points on their final six possessions.
Here is the anatomy of a collapse:
* After the Gillislee TD, Oakland scores to make it 24-16 with 5:17 left in the third quarter. The Bills offense goes three and out with Taylor's third down pass a little too far in front of Sammy Watkins. A defender was on Watkins and might have tackled him short but an accurate pass would be nice on third and four.
* Oakland gets another touchdown to pull within one point at 24-23 with :57 left in the third. The Bills have another three and out and on third and 15, Taylor throws downfield for Watkins but its too high. Watkins has to go way up to get two hands on the ball and can't do anything to protect himself as a defender breaks up the play.
* The Raiders get their third straight TD and are now in front 30-24 less than a minute into the fourth quarter. Once again, Taylor and company go three and out. On second and eight, Taylor misses a wide open Gerald Christian for what would have been a big play down field.
* The Bills defense finally gets a stop but Taylor is hit by former UB star Khalil Mack, causing an interception which gives Oakland the ball at the Buffalo 16 yard line. The Raiders find the end zone again, extend their lead to 38-24, and basically end the Bills day.
In those four possessions, the offense had 10 plays and recorded a grand total of three net yards. Sure, the defense isn't getting the Raiders off the field but how about some more points from the offense to stop the bleeding. Heck, how about a first down??!!
Taylor became unglued. He looked jittery in the pocket, was running into sacks, missed guys that were wide open and was slightly off target on other throws.
Oakland's defense did not have a good day on Sunday. They did give up 24 points and 212 yards rushing but they won the game. You know why? Because they have an offense that can win games, more specifically a passing game.
Seven days earlier, that Raiders defense blew a 17 point halftime lead to Carolina. Oakland was up 24-7 at the half but found themselves trailing 32-24 in the fourth quarter. You know what happened? Derek Carr and the passing game came to the rescue. He led two scoring drives that produced 11 points and a victory.
Why can't the Bills do that? Why can't the Bills have that quarterback? Why are we always talking about how the Bills need to run the ball, control the clock and keep the other team's quarterback off the field? When will opposing teams say that about the Bills?
Derek Carr was taken in the second round with the 36th overall pick. Rookie sensation Dak Prescott was drafted by Dallas in round four with the 135th selection.The Bills should keep drafting a quarterback every year until they find a player who can win games from them as opposed to a quarterback who manages the game.