Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott distressed by penalties, offensive problems

By The Sports Xchange  |  Aug. 19, 2017 at 1:17 PM
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The one thing Sean McDermott was looking for from game one of the preseason to game two was improvement. He certainly did not get that. The Buffalo Bills nearly rallied in the waning seconds to pull out the victory in Philadelphia, but that really didn't matter to McDermott who was disturbed by the regression of the offense, and was downright angry about the absurd amount of penalties.

"You want to be able to say it's all one area, and that's not the case," McDermott said. "There is some discipline in there, there's concentration, there's playing aggressive without hesitation so that we stay in good position, so we're not in chase mode. There's different buckets, if you will, that are factoring into the penalties, all of which are unacceptable. We need to continue to work at that, I am concerned about it, and we're going to look into bringing officials into practice, to help us in that effort. We've got to get it corrected."

The Bills had 15 accepted penalties for 131 yards, one week after having 10 for 106 yards in the loss to the Vikings. As McDermott said, they came in all varieties, and in all three phases - offense, defense, special teams.

"It's 100-percent unacceptable," McDermott said. "Good teams, as you heard me say, don't beat themselves and, obviously, we need work on technique and we're going to go hard on that this week like we've been attacking it. So, we've got a lot of work to do, (penalties) being one of the areas, but overall, a lot of work to do."

That would also suffice as the takeaway for the first-team offense that was ineffective, particularly quarterback Tyrod Taylor. He completed just 8 of 18 passes for 53 yards and threw two interceptions while also absorbing two sacks. His passer rating was a ghastly 12.0.

In total, Buffalo had four turnovers and its three quarterbacks were sacked six times. The only touchdown came on a T.J. Yates pass to Brandon Reilly in the fourth quarter after an interception gave the Bills a drive-start inside the red zone. It was a huge disappointment, especially after McDermott had said he wanted to see the offense take a step forward after a sluggish start the week before.

"I want us to get in a rhythm offensively; I didn't think we got into a rhythm offensively early," McDermott said. "Some of that, we didn't have very favorable field position, and that goes back to special teams and the penalties. I thought we moved the ball out of some unfavorable situations offensively, in both games. That said, I want to see us get into a rhythm offensively, and not only run the ball - I thought we ran the ball well at times over the last two games - but also throw the ball and execute."

Taylor's first pick came when his pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage and set up a quick field goal for the Eagles. The second was intercepted by ex-Bill Ronald Darby, traded just last week to Philadelphia. His 48-yard return came one play after the Bills' defense had forced an Eagles turnover.

"I have all the confidence in the world in Tyrod," McDermott said. "Tyrod's going to start for us this week and I look forward to him getting back on track. There were plays that he wanted back from last night among other players as well. That said, there were good moments in the game. We continue to evolve as an offense; that's the second game."

The bulk of the good moments came when rookie Nathan Peterman was on the field. He replaced Taylor late in the second quarter, and like the opener, he played pretty well. He completed 10 of 20 passes for 167 yards and again looked like a player filled with poise.

"I thought there were some good things, but I thought there were a lot of things to work on," said Peterman. "I missed a lot of plays we probably could've scored on. My group, we never got in the end zone. That's something that we've got to work on. When we're in the red zone, we've got to get seven points, not three. Just keep working on those things."

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