It’s tough to be a Bills fan. We’ve suffered through some awful, heartbreaking losses. Each week, we’ll take a look at one awful game (or player!) from years past in a feature called Bills Failure Chronicles. This week, we examine the (thankfully) brief Todd Collins era in Buffalo.
After writing last week’s Failure Chronicles, which examined Jim Kelly’s final game, it seemed appropriate to follow up with his terrible replacement, Todd Collins. Man, he sucked.
Background: I don’t actually remember how I became a Bills fan.
No one around me growing up was a Buffalo fan. My dad was/still is a diehard Cowboys fan. My brother followed in his footsteps and cheered on Dallas (until he turned on them to become a Texans fan when Houston was rewarded a franchise, but that’s a different story). But somehow by kindergarten I was already a total Bills fanatic. I distinctly remember bawling my eyes out when Norwood missed that kick in the Super Bowl. I was five at the time.
So I don’t remember how my Bills obsession started, but I do remember how one man became my favorite player. We were watching a Bills game and one of the announcers was talking about how Jim Kelly was actually recruited as a linebacker by some colleges. My five-year-old brain thought that was awesome, and Kelly was my man from then on. I had two absolute truths in my life: The Bills were a good team. And Jim Kelly was quarterback of the Buffalo Bills. (And if he got hurt, my second-favorite player Frank Reich would come save the day.)
And then Kelly retired.
What? Someone else was the quarterback of the Bills now? I didn’t know much about Kelly’s replacement, Todd Collins. He’d played in a few games and seemed okay. I was now just 12, and the Bills had always been good since I could remember. I didn’t think Collins could live up to how awesome Kelly was, but I figured he’d be okay the Bills would continue to win.
How very wrong I was. And that’s why I decided to devote this week’s edition of Failure Chronicles to the man that eventually earned an appropriate nickname from me: Shitty Todd Collins.
The Terrible Result: Collins came in and was handed the keys to a team that had 10-6 the year prior and still had quite a bit of talent: Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas, Eric Moulds, and others. It didn’t go so well:
1) The Bills went 5-8 with Collins as a starter. One of those five wins was a 9-6 win over the 0-6 Colts.
2) Collins threw just 12 TD to go with 13 INT.
3) The team finished next to last in the league in scoring, putting up just 15.9 points per game.
Collins just wasn’t very accurate and couldn’t get the offense going. Buffalo collapsed down the stretch, dropping six of the season’s final seven games to finish 6-10.
Hope Spot: The season actually started okay for Collins and the Bills. In week 4, Buffalo rallied from an early deficit to beat the Colts 37-35 and move to 2-2. Collins put up 275 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. Unfortunately, the Bills wouldn’t even top 22 points the entire rest of the season.
Norwood Moment: Pretty much the entire second half of the season was dreadful. The offense was simply pathetic, as was Collins. His 12-21, 89 yards performance in a blowout loss to Ne%w England might take the cake. Although he wasn’t the worst Bills QB in that game: that would go to Alex Van Pelt who was 3-12 with 3 INT. Ouch.
Ridiculous Stats of the Season:
1) Here’s Buffalo’s scoring output in games 6 through 17: 6, 9, 20, 9, 10, 13, 14, 20, 3, 14, 21. Yup. That’s some bad offense right there.
2) Collins was at the bottom of the league in nearly every passing category: 21st in completions (55%), 28th in INT percentage (3.3%), 28th in yards per attempt (6.1), 29th in passer rating (69.5). You get the idea. He was shitty.
3) As bad as Collins was, backup QBs Alex Van Pelt (2 TD, 10 INT) and freaking Billy Joe Hobert (0 TD, 2 INT) were even worse. Ugh.
Collins got the boot in the off-season and wound up as Kansas City’s third QB. He wouldn’t appear in a regular season game again until 2001. Somehow he’s still in the league, but I think his AWFUL performance off the bench in the NFC Championship game for the Bears this season pretty much will be the end of his career.
Buffalo brought in Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie. ..and that’s an article for another day. But do know the offense immediately sprang back to life, scoring 25 points per game to finish 7th in the league in scoring. That’s the effect of removing Shitty Todd Collins from the lineup.