Beyond the Playbook

Buffalo Bills officials say rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman gives them their best chance to beat the Chargers on Sunday and revive their fading playoff hopes. Analyst Matt Sabuda, however, sees a longer view. The decision to bench starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor is more about sifting through personnel to find the building blocks for a team that could eventually contend for a championship. The success of that chosen path remains to be seen.  

Few losses in the 45 seasons of Buffalo Bills football at New Era Field were more lopsided than Sunday's 47-10 drubbing administered by the New Orleans Saints. As analyst Matt Sabuda points out, the loss doesn't end the Bills hopes for the playoffs, but their inability to compete should serve as a stark reminder that the organization is a long way from fielding a true championship contender.


The New Orleans Saints visit New Era Field Sunday as the NFL’s hottest team. They have won six straight games, beating their opponents by an  average of two touchdowns. Analyst Matt Sabuda believes the Bills defense—ranked fourth in the NFL in points allowed—face a stern test against quarterback Drew Brees. A future Hall-of-Famer, Brees is rated third among quarterbacks this season.

The New York Jets' drubbing of the Buffalo Bills 34-21 in front of a national audience served as a reminder of the narrow separation of supposed playoff contenders and NFL cellar-dwellers.  The Jets took advantage of poor offensive line play, says analyst Matt Sabuda. Without significant improvement, the weakness is likely to be exploited by future opponents.


Coming away from Sunday's victory at New Era Field, the numbers are all positive for the Buffalo Bills. Their 5-2 record is their best after seven games since 2011. Their 4-0 record at home is the best since 1995, when Jim Kelly was still the quarterback. Beyond that, analyst Matt Sabuda points out that the convincing, 33-14, victory came against a Raiders' team "who many thought would contend for a Super Bowl this year."


To this point, the 4-2 Buffalo Bills are exceeding pre-season expectations, many of which predicted a year heavy on losing to setup for a better position in the 2018 NFL draft. The good feelings will halt Sunday, however, with a home loss to the underachieving Oakland Raiders. Analyst Matt Sabuda believes the Raiders present numerous challenges, notably All-Pro Khalil Mack who created problems for Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor when the teams met in Oakland last season.


Sunday's 30-27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers improves the Buffalo Bills to 4-2 on the year. For analyst Matt Sabuda, the slim margin was notable because the Bills "just barely beat a team they were clearly better than." The Bucs dominated in passing yards and time of possession. That the Bills came out victorious may be a "sign of a more complete football team than we've seen in years."


The Bills surprising start to the season has given hope to their playoff-starved fans. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming to New Era Field on Sunday, analyst Matt Sabuda believes the Bills "really need to beat (the Bucs) if they are to take the next steps" to being seriously considered a postseason contender. Tampa Bay comes into the game with a 2-3 record, middling stats on offense and defense, and an injured starting quarterback.

Four weeks of good feelings for Bills fans faded in the rain of Cincinnati in a 20-16 loss to the Bengals on Sunday. The defense, analyst Matt Sabuda says, played well enough to win, but the offense failed to capitalize on exceptional field position throughout the afternoon. With only 166 passing yards on Sunday, quarterback Tyrod Taylor remains "the most glaring deficiency for a team that seems much closer to success than most expected."


With a record of 3-1, the Buffalo Bills and their fans are enjoying a surprising perch atop the AFC East. While it's far too early to make bold predictions for the remainder of the season, analyst Matt Sabuda puts the Bills' strong start in perspective. During the team's 17-year playoff drought, the Bills have started a season at 3-1 or better only twice.


With the Falcons driving in the game's final minutes, fans familiar with recent history may have been bracing for another heartbreaking loss for the Buffalo Bills. While scanning social media during those moments, analyst Matt Sabuda confirmed that many experts shared his impending sense of doom. The Bills, of course, held on for a 23-17 win, putting them atop the AFC East and raising expectations. 

The Buffalo Bills beat the Denver Broncos 26-16 Sunday, improving to 2-1 and a share of the lead in the AFC East. The Bills were three-point underdogs going into the game, but analyst Matt Sabuda called the victory on Friday. He talks about defying the odds, the protests and much more.

Many believe the Buffalo Bills' three-point performance in last Sunday's loss at Carolina is a sign of a miserable season to come. While similar production would certainly doom the Bills chances Sunday against the undefeated Denver Broncos, analyst Matt Sabuda offers a more hopeful outlook.  He likes the Bills chances, though that prediction relies upon a bounce-back game from LeSean McCoy who is coming off one of the worst efforts of his career.


In gathering only 176 yards in a 9-3 loss at Carolina Sunday, analyst Matt Sabuda said the Buffalo Bills turned in "one of the worst offensive performances by the Bills that I've seen in years." Tyrod Taylor, Sabuda said, played like an "average" quarterback throwing to a receiving corps that is "average at best." The poor offense overshadowed a defensive effort that should have been good enough to bring the Bills to victory.


Count analyst Matt Sabuda among those who were unimpressed with the Bills season-opening victory over the New York Jets, which, he says,"felt like a fifth preseason game."  The competition intensifies Sunday as the Bills visit the Carolina Panthers, the team that employed Bills head coach Sean McDermott for the previous six years. 


It wasn't impressive, but the Bills won their season opener, 21-12, over the New York Jets. While  Beyond the Playbook analyst Matt Sabuda gave credit to running back LeSean McCoy in leading the Bills, he also provided perspective on the Jets' poor play, calling it a "homecoming win over a jayvee team."


With the off-season departures of several significant contributors,  the Buffalo Bills appear to be tearing away at a faulty foundation while selling the hope of building a better future. But all is not lost heading into Sunday's season opener. Analyst Matt Sabuda says the re-building Bills are stronger at this point than Sunday's opponent, the  New York Jets, a team that has a large lead in their race to the bottom.


Despite a new head coach and an organizational overhaul for the Buffalo Bills, analyst Matt Sabuda believes the team is likely to extend its playoff drought in 2017. One of the NFL's toughest schedules certainly works against the Bills.  Sabuda also sees an ill-prepared roster that "is torn between winning now or rebuilding."


It may have been a lifeless, 30-10, loss to the New York Jets, but analyst Matt Sabuda says the season-ending game does produce a positive development: the Bills improved their draft position to tenth overall. However, Sabuda continues to doubt if the organization will make the changes necessary for future success.


It appeared most Buffalo Bills fans were in favor of dismissing head coach Rex Ryan. That move, analyst Matt Sabuda points out, did little to satisfy the team's followers who are calling for more change in an organization that has failed to make the playoffs for 17 consecutive seasons.


With Saturday's overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Buffalo Bills will miss the playoffs for the 17th consecutive season. Analyst Matt Sabuda examines what went wrong for the Bills and wonders about the changes that may be in store for the franchise.


It will likely take more than a holiday miracle, but the Buffalo Bills could still make the playoffs this year. According to analyst Matt Sabuda, there is a one percent chance of the Bills sneaking into the postseason. While the convoluted scenario involves several unlikely results, it begins with the Bills beating the Miami Dolphins on Saturday at New Era Field.


The Buffalo Bills kept their slim playoff hopes alive by beating the hapless Cleveland Browns Sunday 33-13 at New Era Field. Running back LeSean McCoy ran for two touchdowns. Coach Rex Ryan spent much of his post-game news conference addressing his uncertain job status. Bills analyst Matt Sabuda talks about the game with WBFO's Mark Scott in Monday's edition of "Beyond the Playbook."

Several questions about the future swirl around the Buffalo Bills as they prepare to meet the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at New Era Field. With the team on the verge of missing the playoffs again, many are calling for changes. Analyst Matt Sabuda believes those changes should start at the quarterback position.


Le'Veon Bell rushed for a franchise-record 236 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Buffalo Bills, 27-20, on Sunday at New Era Field. Analyst Matt Sabuda says the final score does not reflect how the Steelers dominated the contest.

Winners of three consecutive games, the Pittsburgh Steelers will meet the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at New Era Field. Both teams remain in contention for the post-season, but, as analyst Matt Sabuda points out, a loss on Sunday would end the the Bills' hopes for the playoffs.


With Sunday's 38-24 loss at Oakland, the Buffalo Bills appear destined to miss the playoffs for the 17th consecutive season. Analyst Matt Sabuda sees the loss as another sign that the organization needs to make drastic changes.


The playoff hopes of the Buffalo Bills will not end if they lose Sunday's road game to the Oakland Raiders. However, as analyst Matt Sabuda points out, the contest provides the Bills with a chance to make a statement that they can beat a top team when the stakes are high. It's the type of late-season game that has been missing throughout most of the Bills' playoff drought.


The Buffalo Bills kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 28-21 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Analyst Matt Sabuda says the team's best players---Sammy Watkins, Marcell Dareus and LeSean McCoy---made the big plays which gave the Bills the winning edge.


The Buffalo Bills defense stymied the Cincinnati Bengals for most of the second half in their 16-12 win on Sunday. The victory keeps the Bills playoff hopes alive, but analyst Matt Sabuda remains skeptical about the team's prospects.


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