Bortles, who completed 12-of-23 passes for 87 yards, had no business winning Sunday’s AFC wild-card playoff game. On the Jaguars’ first seven possessions, Jacksonville punted six times and gained only 110 total yards. Bortles had more rushing yards (88) than passing yards Sunday.
The table was set for the Bills’ first playoff win since 1995, but quarterback Tyrod Taylor was not able to take advantage. In what should prove to be his final game in a Bills uniform, Taylor and the Buffalo offense came up short in a 10-3 loss to Jacksonville.
Taylor left the game late in the fourth quarter with an apparent head injury. Before departing, Taylor completed 17-of-37 passes for 134 yards and a second-quarter interception that was clearly the fault of tight end Logan Thomas, who allowed the pass to bounce off his chest.
At times Sunday, Taylor was the victim of poor playcalling by offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and dropped passes by Thomas and other Bills receivers, but the simple fact is he could not get the Bills into the end zone when one touchdown could have changed the outcome of the game.
The Bills have done much worse than Taylor since Jim Kelly retired more than 20 years ago, but they can also do better. If watching Taylor and the rest of the offense struggle to a 31st-ranked finish in passing yards per game (176.6) this regular season was not enough, Sunday’s performance was further evidence Taylor is not the quarterback to lead Buffalo into Super Bowl contention.
Buffalo’s only red zone trip of the game will haunt the team all offseason. Given new life by a fourth-down offsides penalty by the Jaguars, the Bills had first-and-goal at the 1-yard line late in the second quarter. Kelvin Benjamin was called for offensive pass interference in the end zone on first down, pushing the Bills back to the 11-yard line. Taylor then ran for a 2-yard loss and threw two incompletions, forcing the Bills to settle for a field goal.
It was an unacceptable sequence for the Bills, and fair or not, Taylor will probably pay the price by being traded or released this offseason. Any move would likely happen before Taylor is owed a $6 million roster bonus on the third day of the 2018 league year, which begins March 14.
The Bills have long been in the market to select a quarterback in the 2018 draft. They own four picks in the first two rounds, including the Kansas City Chiefs‘ first-round pick and the Los Angeles Rams‘ second-round selection. A package of those picks and potentially others could move the Bills up the board. If they cannot reach Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen, considered the best two quarterbacks in the draft, they could have a shot at Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield and others.
There is no guarantee any of those quarterbacks will be better than Taylor, especially as rookies next season. But having now completed his seventh NFL season and third as Buffalo’s starter, Taylor is not changing.
Taylor is what he is, and that is not good enough for the Bills.