ORCHARD PARK — Despite a great start, and a surprisingly attentive, if sparse crowd that offered up a rousing standing ovation at the conclusion of the first quarter, the Bills still managed to break from the two-minute huddle on Sunday down 16 points to a team many consider one of the league’s lightweights.
Remember that number — 16. It might help this hapless edition of the Bills make history.
As in oh-and ...
Sure, Buffalo scored a garbage time TD when Steve Johnson hauled a short pass in from Ryan Fitzpatrick to cut it to 10, but the serious discussion had already begun. How bad is this version of the franchise?
Really bad. Maybe historically bad.
And not just the most pitiful team here in Buffalo, but on par with the worst the league has ever seen.
Scour the schedule for a winnable game through the remainder of the Bills schedule and it’s a spooky scavenger hunt.
Kansas City in three weeks? Not a chance the way the Chiefs’ defense is playing and with the inherent edge the hosts will get at Arrowhead.
At home against Cleveland in early December? Perhaps, but with the gaping holes in Buffalo’s run defense and after watching the Browns’ between-the-tackles ground game powered by brickhouse Peyton Hills, the visitors should have the edge if the weather turns frightful. And since it’s in December, it’ll be frightful.
So it’s conceivable — in fact, an ever-improving bet at this point — to believe the Bills could become just the second team in National Football League history to finish a 16-game season without a victory.
And as the onslaught of banners and TV ads is quick to point out — you’ve gotta Bill-ieve.
You could sense by the vibe a bright guy like Ryan Fitzpatrick was giving off in the postgame press conference that he finally grasps how bad his team is. As if he was humming with his fingers in his ears when others dismissed the Bills before, now Fitzpatrick finally come to grips with the state of the franchise.