Did Sean McDermott make a quarterback change to ignite the Bills' offense or to deflect blame from his struggling defense? "Whatever his motives, McDermott is facing the biggest crisis of a turbulent first season as a head coach," Jerry Sullivan writes in his Sunday column. "It would have been so regardless. But he's raised the stakes by handing the offense to Nathan Peterman, a rookie, with his staggering squad looking to find itself against the LA Chargers in the StubHub Center on Sunday."
Being in crisis mode at this point in the season is familiar territory for Bills fans. "Getting over the five-win mark has been an Everest for this team," Sullivan notes. "Since the start of the 2001 season, the Bills have played 15 games with a chance to get to six wins by the 10th game of the season. They're 0-15 in those games."
Difficult position: Tyrod Taylor is the third quarterback in recent history to be the healthy starter for a team in playoff position one week and benched for a rookie the next. Tim Graham spoke to the other two, Kurt Warner and Jake Plummer, and got additional insight from coaches Jon Gruden, Stan Parrish, Mike Martz and Howard Schnellenberg about whether it's harder to be the demoted starter or the elevated rookie backup. Plummer, who only recently made peace with Mike Shanahan's decision to bench him 11 years ago, also has some advice for Taylor.
Sports Talk Sunday: Taylor's benching will be the top discussion during Bills beat reporter Vic Carucci's appearance with News columnists Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan at 10 a.m. today on WGRZ. Watch a preview of the show here.
Injury report: Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), Mike Tolbert (hamstring) and John Miller (ankle) have been ruled out. Charles Clay (knee), Jerry Hughes (shin/calf) and Jordan Matthews (knee) are questionable. Stephen Hauschka (right hip), E.J. Gaines (hamstring) and Zay Jones (ankle) are on the list but expected to play. Philip Rivers is out of the concussion protocol and will start for the Chargers.
Weather forecast: Mostly sunny and mild, according to meteorologist Don Paul, with temperatures reaching mid-70s and a light wind.
Inside the Bills: Learn why "Salute to Service" month has special meaning to Bills offensive assistant Chad Hall in Skurski's feature.
Inside the NFL: Carucci breaks down the NFC's dominance over the AFC and explains why McDermott decided not to fly the Bills out to LA a day early.
Power rankings: 1. Philadelphia Eagles. 2. New England Patriots. 3. Pittsburgh Steelers ... and how far do you have to scroll to find the Bills on Carucci's list?
Bills Backers Club: Andre Reed will join more than 1,200 Bills fans tailgating outside StubHub Center today. When the Bills aren't in town, they sing the "Shout!" song on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Series history: The Bills and Chargers were AFL rivals who met for the championship in 1964 and 1965. Are there any trends we can learn from the all-time numbers?
Trivia: Who scored the only offensive touchdown in the 1965 AFL Championship game between the Bills and Chargers?