Orchard Park, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills’ offense didn’t work against the Carolina Panthers.
After scoring 21 points against the Jets in their season opener, the Bills scored only three points against the Panthers and saw LeSean McCoy rush for nine yards while Tyrod Taylor threw for 125 yards. While the offensive struggles were a collective effort, much of the outside blame has been placed on Taylor as the quarterback. Taylor has been most heavily criticized for his inability to connect on deep passes. He was 0-3 on passes that traveled more than 15 yards in the air against Carolina.
“The thing is, we’re going to do more of those,” Bills quarterbacks coach David Culley said Thursday. “We had a couple in that ball game where the receiver didn’t have a chance to make a play. Whether it’s covered or not, you always have to give those guys a chance to make a play. We had two in that ball game that we wish we would have been a little bit better on. For the most part, one thing he does that we felt is really good is he can push the ball down the field. Hopefully when we get in a good rhythm and we’re flowing like we need to flow, you’ll see the ball going down the field. You’ll see him with some touchdowns.”
Touchdowns won’t come easy against the Denver Broncos, who shut down the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. It won’t be any easier to move the ball than it was against the Panthers. However, Culley saw Taylor get a bit comfortable later in the game against the Panthers when the Bills started to show some urgency.
“We went up tempo on that drive,” Culley said. “We went in a two-minute mode at that point. We went on the line. We didn’t have very much tempo early in that game. We were kind of three plays in and out. At that point in the game, we had to get into an up-tempo mode. We got into an up-tempo mode and there he went.
Tempo, Culley said, is something that can bring out the best in Taylor and it changes how defenses play against the Bills.
“Earlier in that ball game, they were playing us a little bit differently than what happened when we went into up-tempo,” Culley said. “What that did, that allowed (Taylor) more space. Because of that, he was able to use his feet and his arm in that particular situation, which earlier in the game because of the lack of reps and snaps that we had, he never got into a rhythm. He got into a rhythm during that point.”
The Bills need to find a rhythm before the final drive of the game. Culley said the Bills need to avoid third-and-long situations, because like most teams, they don’t have a ton of plays for that situation. But just like offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, Culley is happy because Taylor hasn’t been turning the ball over.
“I think he has done a tremendous job of first and foremost, protecting the football,” Culley said. “The reason we were able to do what we did in that ballgame is simply because we didn’t turn it over. He has a history of protecting the football. As long as he continues to do that, we have those kind of ball games and we have a possession at the end with a chance to win the game.”
It’s going to take more than avoiding turnover to quiet Taylor’s critics.
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