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The Bills Needed Only One Game to Look Hopeless Again

In a 47-3 loss against Baltimore, Buffalo looked lost on both sides of the ball

Buffalo Bills v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Bills fans were jubilant when Buffalo’s 18-year playoff drought ended last season, but it wasn’t clear until Sunday just how miraculous that playoff appearance truly was. In a 47-3 drubbing against the Ravens, the Bills showed off the worst top-to-bottom roster and the worst quarterback group in the league and reminded everyone why they are the least hopeful franchise this side of the Cleveland Browns.

Perhaps the only prediction that football analysts universally agreed on entering the season was that the Bills would be one of the worst squads in football. Before Week 1, they had the lowest Super Bowl odds in the league at 300-1 (three times lower than the Browns). The Bills were one of the most disrespected wild-card teams in recent memory, but they somehow managed to live up (down?) to expectations.

At halftime, the Bills had not scored or even gotten a first down. In the last 10 years, a team has entered halftime without a first down just seven times. Buffalo’s 33 first-half yards were the lowest by a team in 15 seasons, and their 10 first downs were the fewest for the Bills since 1979. The Bills’ defense allowed Joe Flacco—Joe Flacco!—to throw three touchdowns, complete 25 of 34 passes and take a seat on the bench with 11 minutes left in the third quarter.

Nathan Peterman, bless his heart, completed five passes for 24 yards, took three sacks, and threw two interceptions before being benched with the Bills down 40-0 in the third quarter. Peterman’s passer rating for the afternoon was zero.

The Bills placed their hopes for the future in Josh Allen when they drafted him seventh overall in April, but the team is already threatening to hinder his long-term development by throwing him into a game like this one. Allen took three sacks in his first eight minutes on the field and at one point, somehow, faced a second-and-goal from Baltimore’s 23-yard line. With this group around him, there seems to be little chance that Allen will quickly develop the skills needed to become a successful professional.

Allen and Peterman will make the headlines, but this roster has deeper issues. The Bills’ receiving group is the worst unit in the sport, their offensive line is a turnstile, and their defense was so bad that they made Flacco look like he was too good to stay in the game.

The Bills playoff appearance moved the emotional needle of many in Western New York, and opened the door to a new era of Bills football. But after just one game, Bills fans might be worried that a new playoff drought is on the horizon.