SAN FRANCISCO — It’s probably a good thing the Bills went directly from San Francisco to Phoenix last night.
It’s best they don’t show their faces in the Buffalo area for the next few days.
One can only hope that a one-week stay in Tempe, Ariz. will leave them better prepared for next Sunday’s game against the Cardinals than they were for yesterday’s filleting by the 49ers.
For the second straight game, Buffalo was embarrassed on both sides of the ball — especially in the second half — en route to a 45-3 defeat that was every bit as one-sided as the score ... and record-setting at that.
At 2-3 the Bills’ three losses — 48-28 to the Jets and 52-28 last Sunday against the Patriots were the others — have been by an average of over 28 points.
Imagine if the Bills hadn’t spent nearly $120 million to acquire defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to enhance the pass rush and stiffen the edge against the running game.
AT LEAST, yesterday afternoon we didn’t hear ... “It’s only one game.”
Now it’s three ... and counting.
Losing is bad enough, being embarrassed is quite something else.
When 49ers’ quarterback Alex Smith went 17 untouched yards on a naked bootleg and his backup, Colin Kaepernick, cashed the drive with a 16-yard run, scoring standing up on the very next play, the Candlestick Park press box erupted in self-conscious laughter.
That’s where the Bills are right now ... a bad joke to their fans and the media who were set up by delusions of the playoffs, with the signing of Williams and Anderson. Instead, they’re being hit with the sucker punch, er, punch line ... this team is in full collapse, and getting worse by the week.
Buffalo is no closer to the post-season than the 0-16 Lions in 2008.
WORSE, IT’S on offense AND defense.
The 417-yard differential between San Francisco’s and Buffalo’s total offense is a Bills’ record.
Buffalo’s closest bid for a touchdown came in the second quarter when a drive stalled at the 49ers’ 8-yard line. But, in true Bills’ fashion, Rian Lindell’s 26-yard field goal was wiped out by a false start, forcing him to do it again from five yards farther back.
After New England outscored it 45-14 in the second half last week, Buffalo was blanked 28-0 after intermission by the Niners.
AFTERWARD, those who cover the team wondered about the job security of coach Chan Gailey and defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, though the team was adamant, despite the awful performance, that it hadn’t quit on them.
Gailey almost seemed bewildered in his post-game press conference.
With his team having been outscored 73-13 after intermission the past two weeks, he allowed, “Obviously, there’s something I’m not doing correctly with this football team in the second half.
“Two games in a row, after halftime, we’ve played extremely poor ... and that’s as nice as you can put it. We’re not playing as physical as we should.”
But he was quick to add, “I don’t think our team gives up. They get rattled and part of my responsibility is to not let them get rattled.
“When things start going bad, you have to be strong mentally ... I’ve got to find a way to keep our team up. I told them that I don’t have any answers today, but I have to find the answers.”
BUT THERE was plenty of blame to go around, despite Gailey putting it on himself.
“You don’t get beat like that (because of) your head coach,” said Williams, whose contribution was two tackles and two meaningless quarterback hurries. “He’s not out there (trying) to get sacks, he‘s not out there covering receivers, he’s not out there (making) turnovers.
“We’re giving up huge plays,” he continued. “We have to figure out what in the world is going on and have to be accountable across the board, from the No. 1 guy to the No.11 guy on defense. This is all on of us.”
Linebacker Nick Barnett agreed, but was shocked that it happened ... again.
“After last week, I would have bet that this team would have come out and played a lot better than we did,” he said. “Going two weeks and giving up that many run yards and giving up the plays that we gave up...
“It’s disappointing, its deflating. It’s very stunning to me ... I would not have imagined ever being in this situation in this defense.”
Neither would Bills’ fans.
(Chuck Pollock, the Times Herald sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com)