Tyrod Taylor: The Buffalo Bills’ Real Hero


This was the season that the Buffalo Bills were supposed to not only break their playoff drought, but challenge Tom Brady and the Patriots for AFC East superiority. But after the Week Two drubbing by the Pats and the Week Four disappointment against a weakened Giants team, the Bills looked like a team that would be lucky to end the season .500.

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Then the first half of Week 5 in Tennessee happened. To say the Bills offense was inept in the first half is akin to saying Ryan Leaf was disappointing as the number two overall pick. For the first 22 plus minutes of the game, the Bills were unable to even get a first down. By the time the second quarter had ended, Buffalo was down 3-0 on the scoreboard (the lowest scoring first half of any game this season), had a total of four first downs and a whopping 51 yards of total offense.

With no LeSean McCoy, no Karlos Williams and no Sammy Watkins, it should have come as little surprise that the offense would have issues, but this was more than just issues, this was an entire subscription.

So when the second half began, the Titans had to feel pretty good about themselves, even though all they were able to muster was a field goal. Of course, the one thing they didn’t count on was Tyrod Taylor going from Clark Kent to Superman in the second half of the game.

It may be Cam Newton that strikes a Superman pose after a score, but it is Taylor who should have the Big Red “S” on his chest. All he did Sunday was become just the second QB since 1966, and the fifth EVER to throw for at least 100 yards, run for at least 70 yards and catch a pass.

The last QB to do it was Randall Cunningham for the Eagles back on November 15, 1987, against the Giants. But not even Cunningham’s day was as imperative for the team to win as Taylor’s was.

After the Bills started the second half with a five play drive that resulted in punt, the Titans looked to go three and out. But when they punted, the newest Bill, Denarius Moore, fumbled the punt return, the Titans were able to punch it in and take what at the time seemed to be an insurmountable 10-0 lead.

That was when Taylor loaded up the rest of the team on his back and carried them to victory. On a third and four from midfield, Taylor dropped back and couldn’t find anyone open, so he did what an athletic QB does, he took off. After shaking off a tackle he was able to rumble for 26 yards. Three plays later, Taylor was at it again, this time heading towards the sidelines before turning it up field and getting into the end zone.

After the Titans scored a field goal on their next possession, it was Taylor again who dominated on the Bills next drive. After a holding and false start penalty, the Bills were faced with a third and 23 on their own seven yard line.

It was then Taylor dropped back to pass, when he realized that the defense had turned their backs on him, he again took off. This time he was able to get just enough to get the first down, but when linebacker Zach Brown horse-collared Taylor to make the tackle, the Bills got 15 more yards. It was on that horse collar tackle that apparently Taylor sprained his MCL and will now miss at least Week 6 against the Bengals, with EJ Manuel getting the nod.

Even the injury couldn’t stop Taylor on Sunday though as just two plays later, he showed off his arm instead of his legs as he hit Chris Hogan down the field for a 46 yard gain all the way down to the Titans seven yard line. Two plays after that, the Bills tried a little trickeration, as Hogan took a flip from Boobie Dixon, and threw the ball to Taylor for a two yard gain. Then to show turnabout is fair play, on the next play, Taylor hit Hogan in the end zone for a touchdown and a one point lead.

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The touchdown pass may have given the Bills the lead, but it was the big time run on third and 23 that had the Bills talking.

Via Matthew Fairburn of Syracuse.com, Bills guard Richie Incognito was pretty impressed by the play, “That was awesome. I saw him running. He took it right up the middle and hit that sideline and it was a great run. It was exactly what we needed. We killed ourselves with penalties and we were way backed up. It’s a game-changing moment.”

Wideout Percy Harvin added, “As he dropped back, I seen all the defenders kind of turn their back, so I was saying, ‘Run it!’ Once he tucked it, I was kind of glad he did. I saw there was nobody even watching him. One-on-one, I’m going to pick Tyrod to make that play every time, and he did.”

That win brought the Bills to 3-2 as they get set for their showdown with the undefeated Bengals this Sunday. Of course, if you listen to Cris Collinsworth, there is no point in playing this one as the Bengals can chalk it up as a win. The former Bengals wideout and current NBC broadcaster told Scout.com that Bengals are a lock to beat the Bills this week.

Taylor may be sitting this one out for the Bills, but it does appear that both Sammy Watkins and Karlos Williams will both be back. With the momentum they got from their win in Tennessee, I certainly hope the Bengals don’t think that this will be a pushover.

The Bengals have the seventh-best rushing attack in the NFL, but the Bills are ranked fifth against the run, so it will be a strength-on-strength clash. And before you go spouting how the Bengals are a perfect 5-0 on the season, remember the combined record of the teams the Bengals have beaten is 8-17.

Next: NFL: After Further Thought: Week 5 Early Edition

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