I’ve watched all 16 Bills games for the past two years so here is the rundown:
In 2014 the Bills had a excellent defense while running the 4–3 scheme under Jim Schwartz. As written in the article, they were 4th in the NFL in total defense. Dareus, Williams, Mario, and Jerry Hughes combined as the best D-Line in the game and were crushing QBs every game.
Now for the offense, that was a totally different story. Former #16 Overall draft pick, EJ Manuel, started the first 4 games going 2–2. Then 32-year old vet Kyle Orton finishing off the season going 7–5, not good enough for a wildcard spot. Problem was the offense was way too predictable, and coach Doug Marrone was far less than ideal.
Fast forward to January 2015, Rex Ryan replaced Marrone as the HC. The mood was somewhat optimistic because fans figured he would at least be better than Marrone. The Bills also made an upgrade at Offensive Coordinator by swapping Nathaniel Hackett for Greg Roman, who worked under Jim Harbaugh when the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl.
Then at the start of free agency, Rex and the Bills took a flyer on young quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who was Joe Flacco’s backup in Baltimore. Tyrod had a very nice career at Virginia Tech, and there was a lot of potential in this signing. GM Doug Whaley makes a couple of under-the-radar draft picks like CB Ronald Darby, and RB Karlos Williams who will end up making immediate impacts on the 2015 season. And in the spring of 2015, the blockbuster Kiko Alonso for LeSean Mccoy trade occurs. Now the Bills are on the come up. Shady, Sammy, and a great defense. Hello happy days.
So Taylor has a solid preseason and grabs the starting position right out of the gate. Bills start off the season 2–2 yet again and the offense looks real good, but the defense is giving up too many points. Here’s the problem: the 2015 Bills D was great because of the personnel with the scheme. Both the Williams’, Marcell Dareus, and Hughes were meant to be on the line and attacking the QB every down. But in Rex’s new 3–4 defense he brought to Buffalo, Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes are taking turns covering WRs and TEs as linebackers. These two have a combined career sack total of 126!!! So naturally the Bills defense gives up way too many points against teams with poor offenses, along with zero discipline from the coach. The Bills end up going 8–8 and lose very winnable games like home vs Giants, and away at Jacksonville and Kansas City. The no-playoffs streak continues.
Now its almost the 2016 season and the Bills have offensive studs in Tyrod, Shady, and Sammy Watkins. But they also still have Rex Ryan, a 3–4 defense that does not fit with the team, and horrible luck (Rookie injuries like Shaq Lawson, Reggie Ragland, and Karlos Williams showing up 40 pounds overweight to camp).
It has been 16 years since the Buffalo Bills have last made the playoffs. When that day finally comes, everyone will know.