On Sunday Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills laid an egg in their playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. After only scoring three points on offense, Taylor seems to be the one taking all the heat but said heat might not be fully deserved.
Let’s start by throwing out the facts. On Sunday in Jacksonville Tyrod Taylor was 17/37 for 134 yards and one interception (some will argue whether the interception was his fault for forcing it into tight coverage or the receiver for not getting his hands up to make a play on the ball). Taylor also had seven rushes for a total of 27 yards.
Taylor’s counterpart, Blake Bortles, was 12/23 for 87 yards with one touchdown pass. Bortles also rushed the ball 10 times for 88 yards. Both quarterbacks were sacked twice during the game.
So, did Taylor have a great game? The answer is obvious, no, he didn’t. He missed some throws throughout the game that could have changed momentum and he wasn’t the spark that the Bills needed on Sunday to shift their offense into gear.
While Taylor’s performance was less than inspiring, it shouldn’t be the catalyst of the movement to get him out of Buffalo during the offseason. After all, it was Taylor that took the Bills into the playoffs (despite being benched for Nate Peterson and his never-ending-interception-performance). Another fact that some fans seem to be overlooking is who Taylor and the Bills were playing against.
Jacksonville finished the 2017 NFL season with the second-best overall defense in the league and the top-ranked pass defense. During the regular season the Jaguars only allowed 170 yards through the air per game, Buffalo managed 148 (if you throw in what Peterman did after Taylor was injured). When you play the best pass defense in the league, your team is most likely going to have a difficult time passing the ball. Just ask some of the other quarterback that the Jacksonville defense played this season.
QB Performances Against Jacksonville In 2017
- Deshaun Watson/Tom Savage: 164 yards
- Marcus Mariota: 215 yards
- Joe Flacco/Ryan Mallett: 52 yards
- Josh McCown: 224 yards
- Ben Roethlisberger: 312 yards
- Jared Goff: 124 yards
- Jacoby Brissett: 200 yards
- Andy Dalton: 136 yards
- Phillip Rivers: 235 yards
- DeShone Kizer: 179 yards
- Blaine Gabbert: 241 yards
- Jacoby Brissett: 174 yards
- Russell Wilson: 271 yards
- TJ Yates: 128 yards
- Jimmy Garoppolo: 242 yards
- Marcus Mariota: 134 yards
Half of the league (16/32 teams) averaged more than 226 passing yards per game in 2017, Jacksonville only allowed five QB’s to pass for more than 226 yards against them this season. Only Ben Roethlisberger hit the 300-yard mark against the Jacksonville defense, and the only other QB to even make it over 250 yards was Russell Wilson.
It’s also worth noting that every team in the league averaged more than 170 passing yards per game in 2017. Which makes the fact that Jacksonville only gave up 170 on average all the more impressive. The next closet team was Minnesota who gave up just over 192 yards in the air per game.
Do you know which team had the worst passing offense in the league this season? It was the Buffalo Bills, who averaged a league-worst 174 yards in the air per game. So, what happens when you take the best passing defense in the NFL and put it up against the worst passing offense in the league? You get results like Sunday. What happens when you take the best passing defense in the NFL and put it up against the rest of the league? You get 14 games where less than 242 yards were given up through the air.
Jacksonville’s pass defense aside, it was the running game that truly failed Buffalo on Sunday. More specifically it was the non-usage of the running game. Buffalo racked up 130 yards on the ground against the 21st-ranked run defense in the league but the majority of that was between the 20’s. When Buffalo had 1st and goal, just outside of the one, they called a pass play that resulted in offensive pass interference and them being pushed off of the goal line.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that Taylor should without a doubt be the starting QB next season in Buffalo. But, I am saying that anyone who thought he was going to roll in Jacksonville and pass for 250 yards and a couple of TD’s is off their rocker. Taylor didn’t do much to elevate the offense on Sunday but the same can be said for the majority of the QB’s who played against the Jacksonville defense this season.
Taylor was part of the problem on Sunday but he wasn’t close to being the entire problem and the playoff loss shouldn’t be pinned on him. If you want Taylor gone before the start of the 2018 season you should base it off of his entire body of work, not his one playoff loss, after getting his team to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.