The Buffalo Bills are supposed to be one of the NFL’s elite teams and a top-tier Super Bowl contender.
They have looked nothing like that at times this season, and that has been especially the case over the past three weeks.
They produced perhaps their biggest dud of the season on Sunday in a 29-25 loss to a New England Patriots team that might be one of the league’s worst.
The Bills offense got off to a dreadful start for the third straight week, and did not start to generate anything until the fourth quarter when they produced two touchdown drives in the final seven minutes to take a 25-22 lead with under two minutes to play.
Instead of taking advantage of that good fortune, Buffalo’s defense allowed Mac Jones and the Patriots offense to drive the length of the field for a game-winning touchdown with 12 seconds to play.
In a vacuum you can explain away a game like this as the type of thing that happens over the course of a 17-game NFL season. Bad teams beat good teams every week because the margin between the top and bottom teams is always so razor thin.
But this performance is not something that happened in a vacuum. This has been a problem for the Bills for much of the season.
They opened the season with a dreadful loss against a Zach Wilson-led New York Jets team where quarterback Josh Allen turned the ball over four times.
Then over the last three weeks they lost an ugly game in London against Jacksonville, barely hung on to beat a Tyrod Taylor-led New York Giants team a week ago (where they needed a missed penalty call on the last play of the game to hold on) and then on Sunday gave up 29 points and lost to Jones and the Patriots.
Buffalo’s only good stretch of the season was a three-week stretch earlier in the year where they beat the Raiders, Dolphins and Commanders. Outside of that stretch they have simply looked average to very below average on both sides of the ball.
All of that has produced a very unimpressive 4-3 record that is probably just one play away against the Giants from being 3-4.
The pressure is on Buffalo to win and win big this season. For all of the success and hype that Buffalo has had in the regular season the past five years the playoff results have not followed.
They have reached just one AFC Championship game and zero Super Bowl appearances. They are also reaching a point where their window might be starting to close due to the salary cap situation and how tight things can get when your franchise quarterback takes up a significant chunk of the cap.
There is too much volatility from a week-to-week basis with the offense, and they have not found any sort of consistency as a team. The harsh reality for Buffalo is it might have missed its best opportunity for a championship because this group does not look anything like one of the league’s elite.
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