ORCHARD PARK — Owners Terry and Kim Pegula, between the Bills and Sabres, are paying a number of ex-employees not to coach or general manage.
But after what unfolded on Sunday afternoon at New Era Field, plenty of their football team’s faithful have to be wondering whether they’re ready to add two more names to the list.
Chicago’s 41-39 embarrassment of the Bills was even worse than the score. The Buffalo fans, among the 68,749 in attendance, made their aggravation clear via voracious booing, first at halftime, then at game’s end, though the number was greatly reduced by then with so many having made a beeline for the parking lots.
And, no, this fifth defeat in the last six games — four of them blowouts — can’t be laid at the feet of backup quarterback Nathan Peterman.
Yeah, he was intercepted three times, but the first two went off the hands of Buffalo receivers.
And it wasn’t Peterman who fumbled after a reception, handing Chicago a 65-yard defensive touchdown. And the four sacks weren’t his fault, nor was the fact the running game was its usual sub-standard self.
So much of this debacle reflects back on coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane who, despite last season’s miracle playoff berth, have assembled a roster that’s worse than the one Rex Ryan and Doug Whaley left when they were shown the door.
The mess at quarterback has been rehashed since Peterman’s meltdown in the opener at Baltimore. And the cynicism only got louder when Josh Allen suffered a sprained throwing elbow in a loss at Houston, causing him to miss three games with no return in sight.
Both the coach and GM were to blame for that especially after free agent QB acquisition A.J. McCarron was dispatched to Oakland for a fifth-round selection without ever suiting up for a regular-season game.
And what about Beane’s love affair with all things Carolina?
He sent a third- and seventh-round draft pick to the Panthers for wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, whose contribution has been zilch … unless you count 36 catches for two touchdowns in 15 games with Buffalo as elite production.
The mess at quarterback aside, the Bills’ offensive line, politely, is below average and the receiving corps is the worst in the league.
Is this the “process” McDermott tells us to trust?
AFTER THE game, the second-year head coach, revisited an old and recurrent theme.
“We turned the ball over today. You can’t turn the ball over, can’t give them field position. We did both of those … two things we said we couldn’t do.
“We couldn’t get the running game going early, which is an important thing in terms of establishing the line of scrimmage. We have to do a better job.”
He added, “I’m very frustrated just the fundamentals of what went on in the game in terms of turning the ball over and giving them field position. It’s tough to win a game when you do that.”
But isn’t that coaching?
There are only two possibilities … either the players Beane and McDermott have assembled aren’t good enough or they aren’t being coached well enough.
And the fact McDermott cited “fundamentals” seems to rest squarely on the coaching staff.
Which do we blame for 10 penalties for a numbing 163 yards … only 101 less than Buffalo’s so-called offense generated?
McDermott maintained,” We’re going to keep working towards our vision. There are some things that are at that standard (but) certainly (there are) a lot of areas that aren’t.”
Way more of the latter, in fact.
As for the gowing aggravation among the fan base, he added, “I understand where they’re coming from. I want it as bad, if not more, than they do. They deserve better, at home in particular. For us to come out and turn the ball over early in the game and they go up 28-0 …”
When asked if the kind of offense the Bills are playing can win in the NFL, McDermott admitted, “It certainly makes it hard, in particular turning the ball over and not giving yourself favorable field position. We’ve got to do a better job there.
“It comes down to protecting the football … if you want to give yourself a chancre to win, it comes down to man-versus-man. I’m looking for us to win those matchups (and) right now we’re not doing that.”
In fact, they’re not winning anything.
(Chuck Pollock, a Times Herald sports columnist, can be reached at email@example.com)