The evidence is mounting in the case against both head coach Chan Gailey and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as the answers for the future for the Buffalo Bills at their respective posts.
Exhibit A includes two consecutive seasons below .500, and it looks like exhibit B—a third consecutive season out of the playoffs—could be subpoenaed in short order.
For Fitzpatrick, somewhere near the top of the pile of evidence is his limitations. Headed into Sunday's contest, he had the fourth-lowest percentage of pass attempts that traveled 20 yards or deeper down the field (8.4 percent), and had the worst accuracy in the league on those passes (18.5 percent) according to ProFootballFocus.com.
He completed a screen pass to T.J. Graham for 24 yards and a deep pass to Stevie Johnson for 63, but other than that, he didn't have a single play of 20 yards or more on Sunday.
The offense has been tailor-made to Fitzpatrick's strengths, yet there are still far too many long droughts of production. The Bills punted on three of their first four drives, on which they passed 12 times and ran six times.
Speaking of which, for Gailey, that primary piece of evidence is his mishandling of running back C.J. Spiller, and the offense as a whole.
Headed into the fourth quarter, neither Spiller nor Fred Jackson had a single reception. Spiller didn't have a single carry in the final 13:33 of the fourth quarter, with the team attempting to come back from a seven-point deficit.
It's not as if Fitzpatrick had been incredibly efficient; he went 17-for-33 passing (51.5 percent) for 180 yards (5.5 YPA), a touchdown, an interception and a 65.2 passer rating. It's not as if he's been dynamite in the fourth quarter, either; in fact, he is now 5-22 all-time in fourth quarter comeback attempts.
It's not as if Spiller had been bottled up, either. He had 14 carries for 107 yards (7.6 YPA) on the day.
Mind-boggling stuff, really.
This should all come as a surprise, since Gailey was brought in as an offensive guru who would bring the unit to prominence. Instead, the fact that it all comes as no surprise should be a cause for concern for Buffalo.
Bills GM Buddy Nix has already openly stated his desire to find a quarterback for the future this offseason, but he may want to change his stance on finding a head coach of the future in the meanwhile.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained via team press releases.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!