Bills go from anemic to comedic in 41-9 loss to Bears
By JOHN WAWROW, AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Sean McDermott insists the Buffalo Bills have enough talent on offense to win in the NFL.
“I believe we do,” the Bills coach said.
It sure didn’t look that way in a 41-9 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday, in what became the latest comedy of errors produced by an offense that’s proven more capable of committing turnovers than scoring touchdowns this season.
Nathan Peterman continued showing he’s nowhere close to resembling an NFL quarterback. He threw three interceptions — one returned for a touchdown — to up his career total to 13 interceptions in just 153 passing attempts, including playoffs.
Backup tight end Jason Croom lost a fumble , which was returned for another score.
The Bills (2-7) were held to under 10 points for the fifth time this season, and have managed just 96 in nine games.
And the only bright side was Peterman’s mean-nothing 1-yard touchdown run scored with 5:41 remaining to end Buffalo’s touchdown drought at 187 minutes and 19 seconds. It was the Bills’ eighth TD of the season, and first since Peterman’s 16-yard pass to Zay Jones in the fourth quarter of a 20-13 loss at Houston three weeks ago.
“It was like a domino effect today,” receiver Kelvin Benjamin said. “It just kept stacking up on us. We really couldn’t catch back up.”
He was referring to a second quarter in which the Bears scored 28 points in span of 12:20, included Eddie Jackson’s 65-yard fumble return and Leonard Floyd returning a pass that tipped off of Jones’ hands 19 yards for a score.
“I don’t have the exact answer for it,” Jones said. “I don’t think I see anybody that’s not trying to give it their all. That’s the most discouraging thing about the whole situation right now is that the effort is there.”
Frustration is setting in on a team that has lost four straight and, off to its worst start since losing eight of its nine first games in 2010.
The Bills had no choice but to start Peterman , with rookie Josh Allen missing his third straight game with a sprained right elbow and Derek Anderson sidelined by a concussion.
Though Peterman’s struggles were anticipated, the Bills have no solutions in spurring a running attack that is suddenly regressing.
A week after LeSean McCoy had 13 yards on 12 carries in a 25-6 loss to New England , the running back was limited to 10 yards on 10 carries against the Bears.
McDermott even made the decision to sit McCoy for a majority of the second half while he tinkered with his offensive line. Rookie Wyatt Teller saw playing time at left guard, while Jeremiah Sirles eventually split time at right tackle.
McDermott was vague in saying he sat McCoy because of what the Bears were doing schematically.
McCoy, meantime, didn’t stick around to share his thoughts. He was spotted exiting the locker room before reporters were allowed to enter.
Though Peterman will bear the brunt of the blame, not all the interceptions were his fault.
Newly signed receiver Terrelle Pryor caught Peterman’s pass and lost control as he turned up field, with the ball landing in defensive back Adrian Amos’ hands. Three snaps into Buffalo’s next possession, Peterman’s hard pass over the middle struck Jones in the hand and bounced directly to Floyd, who returned it for a touchdown.
Peterman finished 31 of 49 for 189 yards and sacked four times in an outing reminiscent of his previous meltdowns. Peterman lost the starting job after faltering midway through a season-opening 47-3 loss at Baltimore. And then there were the five interceptions he threw in a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers a year ago.
“I think I don’t feel snake-bitten. I never feel like a victim or anything like that,” Peterman said. “It’s life. Things don’t always bounce your way.”
Benjamin rallied to Peterman’s support, saying it’s unfair to pin the blame on him.
“We know how the outside world works. They’re going to bash him and try to break his confidence. But Nate’s a good dude,” Benjamin said. “Unfortunately, bad things keep happening. And that’s football.”
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