Sully: Bills Candidate for Worst Offense in History

Bills on pace for franchise-low points in a 16-game season

Column as I see ‘em, Week 9:

At this point, you probably don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Rest assured, the nation is laughing. After losing on Sunday to the Bears, 41-9, the Bills are well on their way to being one of the sorriest offensive teams in NFL history.

So we might as well review the grim statistics. For starters, the Bills are being outscored for the season, 241-96. They’re on pace to be outscored over the entire season by 257 points. The franchise record for point differential in a full 16-game season was 202 points, set in 1984.

That would not be an NFL record, which is some consolation. The 1981 Colts were outscored by 274 points over 16 games. The 1990 Patriots were outscored by 265. The 2009 Rams were 261 points to the bad, the 2000 Browns a minus-258.

It gets worse. The Bills have scored in single digits in three straight games (5, 6, 9). The last time that happened was in 1987, when replacement players were a reasonable excuse. Remember Brian McClure starting a 6-3 overtime win over the Giants?

The last time it happened in a non-strike season was in 1969, when they had 6, 7 and 6 points over a three-stretch in midseason on the way to 4-10 under John Rauch. O.J. Simpson was a rookie that year, by the way.

The Bills had a stretch of 5, 6 and 10 points in 2003, when Drew Bledsoe turned into a virtual statue. They scored in single digits six times that year. One year after scoring 379 points (with Bledsoe setting the team record for passing yards), they dropped to 243, their fewest since scoring 200 in 1985.

The 200 points are a Bills franchise low for a 16-game season. That dubious record is in serious jeopardy. They’re on pace for 170, which would be the fewest in the league since the 2000 Browns mustered 161. The record for futility over 16 games is 140 by the 1992 Seahawks. Man, how do you average under 9 points for a full year?

When Nathan Peterman threw his second interception Sunday, it set a record for the most picks (11) by a quarterback in his first 100 pass attempts in the Super Bowl era. Aaron Rodgers has thrown 11 interceptions in his last 993 attempts.

That’s enough misery for now, I imagine.

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Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers got most of the attention on Sunday. Drew Brees is on all the early MVP lists, along with Patrick Mahomes. But Carolina’s Cam Newton is quietly having a career year for the surging Panthers.

Newton isn’t putting up the gaudy passing numbers. He hasn’t passed for 300 yards in a game since the second game of the season. All he’s doing is playing efficiently while making big plays with his arm and his legs (he leads all QBs in rushing yards with 342).

Newton went 19-for-25 for 247 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers’ 42-28 win over the Bucs and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Carolina has won three in a row to get to 6-2, a game behind New Orleans in the NFC South and in solid position to get back to the playoffs.

Thriving under reborn offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s innovative schemes, Newton has completed 70 percent of his passes with six TDs and zero interceptions during the Panthers’ current three-game winning streak. He is completing a career-high 67.3 percent and has a rating of 100.8, also a career high.

The Panthers scored 35 first-half points in their win over Tampa Bay, a franchise record. They have two games left with New Orleans, so they still have a decent shot at the division title, and a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.

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Michael Thomas had a career-high 211 yards on 12 catches in the Saints’ 45-35 win over the previously unbeaten Rams on Sunday. That should have been enough to gain him national attention.

Instead, the buzz was about Thomas’s celebration after his clinching 72-yard TD catch from Brees. After scoring, he reached under the goalpost and retrieved an old flip-top cell phone and pretended to make a phone call.

He got a 15-yard penalty. The rules have been softened in recent years, but the use of props is forbidden. So the Saints had to boot the ensuing kickoff from 15 yards back.

I don’t want to come off like some crusty old-timer. I like a good celebration. Players have come up with some pretty creative ones in recent years. But this was a selfish move. Thomas’s teammates brushed it off. Coach Sean Payton didn’t make a big deal of it.

But what if he’d done it with the score tied and it allowed the Rams to drive on a shorter field and kick a game-winning field goal? Would it have been OK then?

Thomas said he did it because “You gotta have fun,” and to honor Joe Horn, a former Saint who was fined for a similar cell phone stunt 15 years ago. Horn called it “courageous,” which is an insult to everyone who performs genuine acts of courage in society.

It was a blatant self-serving act by a player who recently split with his agent and was trying to draw attention to himself.

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Is He Owned? This week’s featured fantasy player is Tampa Bay wide receiver Adam Humphries, who caught two of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s four TD passes in a 42-28 loss to Carolina.

Humphries, an undrafted fourth-year player out of Clemson, caught all eight of his targets for 82 yards. A week earlier, he had seven catches for 76 yards on 10 targets.

A possession receiver, Humphries had 61 catches in 2017. He has a lot of competition from DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans in the offense. But with Fitzpatrick flinging the ball around, there’s a lot of production to be had in the Bucs’ attack.

Humphries was available in all three of my leagues as of Monday. Not a bad flex option if you’re hurting.

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Stats Incredible: It was overshadowed amid the dreadful offense, but the Bills set a franchise record with 163 yards in penalties against the Bears. The teams had a combined 292 penalty yards, a record for a Bills game. Buffalo is third in the NFL in penalties with 70 and second in yards with 642 … Mike Evans had one catch for 16 yards against Carolina corner James Bradberry. It was Evans’ fewest yards this season and the fourth-lowest of his career … Fitz threw four TD passes, the 10th time in his career he’s had that many in a game, more than Joe Montana. The Bucs announced he’ll start against next week over Jameis Winston … There were no sacks by either team in the Rams-Saints game … One last horrifying Bills stat: Nathan Peterman became the first QB since 1999 to complete 30 passes for fewer than 190 yards in a game …

Comments
No. 1-1
Peace Frog
Peace Frog

Man, this offense stinks on dry ice and under a vacuum.