Beyond the Playbook

Bills trade QB Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland

Mar 9, 2018

The Buffalo Bills have traded starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for the first pick in the third round in the upcoming NFL draft.

A 10-3 playoff loss at Jacksonville may have disappointed Buffalo Bills fans, but did little to diminish their passion. Analyst Matt Sabuda was among the thousands of locals who made their way to Jacksonville to witness the Bills' first playoff appearance in nearly 18 years. Sabuda said it was great to be at the game and "even greater to be a Buffalonian."

With victories the next two Sundays, the Buffalo Bills would qualify for the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season. Analyst Matt Sabuda, however, provides some sobriety to the holiday exuberance in highlighting the difficulty of the Bills winning Sunday's road game in New England. Still, for those of us longing for a post-season present, Sabuda lays out a scenario in which the Bills lose Sunday, but still make the playoffs.

The Buffalo Bills beat the Miami Dolphins 24-16 at New Era Field on Sunday, to improve their record to 8-6 and keep their playoff hopes alive. WBFO's Howard Riedel and analyst Matt Sabuda look at the last home game of the year.

For many Bills fans, the team's rivalry with the Miami Dolphins exists only in ancient history. While the teams battled four times in the playoffs in 1990's, their collective postseason fortunes have faded in recent years. The fire could return this Sunday at New Era Field. As analyst Matt Sabuda points out, the Bills need to beat the Dolphins in order to stay in the playoff race.

The weather earned the headlines for Sunday's game at New Era Field. The Buffalo Bills kept their playoff hopes alive with a 13-7 overtime victory over the Indianapolis Colts, but most observers are still talking about the heavy snow that fell throughout the game. A Wall Street Journal reporter called the contest "delightfully ugly." Most Bills fans would agree, analyst Matt Sabua points out, provided their team wins.

The Buffalo Bills find themselves in a familiar spot as the 2017 season winds down. As analyst Matt Sabuda points out, the Bills remain in the hunt for a spot in the playoffs. Of course, that "hunt" has come up empty for the Bills, who haven't appeared in a postseason game in almost 18 years. The bottom line, Sabuda says, the Bills have a small chance at the playoffs if they beat the Colts Sunday; almost no shot, if they lose.

The New England Patriots dominated the Buffalo Bills in a 23-3 victory Sunday at New Era Field. The performance, however, was tainted by Rob Gronkowski's illegal hit on Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White. Analyst Matt Sabuda called the play "one of the worst cheap shots I've seen in years" and believes Gronkowski deserves a suspension.

Oddsmakers listed the Buffalo Bills as 10-point underdogs heading into Sunday's game against the Chiefs in Kansas City.  The 16-10 victory not only proved many experts wrong, it also renewed hope the Bills could end their record-setting playoff drought. Analyst Matt Sabuda advises cautious optimism, pointing out the Bills' record of 6-5 is a mark they've now reached four times over the last ten years.

Reeling from three straight losses and a disastrous quarterback change, the Buffalo Bills will try to keep their fading playoff hopes alive on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Analyst Matt Sabuda is consoling hopeful fans against putting too much on the line. "My best advice is to not expect a lot." On the bright side, the Chiefs are also flailing after starting the season with five straight wins.

The history of the Buffalo Bills is scattered with poor seasons. Twice, in 1968 and 1971, the Bills managed to win just one game, but those teams did not sink as low as what fans have seen in recent weeks. According to analyst Matt Sabuda, before yesterday, the Bills had never surrendered 47 or more points in consecutive weeks.  A tough schedule only adds to a gloomy forecast for the rest of the season.

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.