The scene certainly looked like the end of an era.
Tyrod Taylor, a towel draped over his head, was carted off the field Sunday in the fourth quarter of a lopsided loss to the New England Patriots. A short time later, the Buffalo Bills ruled their starting quarterback out for the remainder of the game.
Often times when that happens, it portends a long-term injury. Coach Sean McDermott didn’t have any specifics, saying “he’s being evaluated and that remains the case.”
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Taylor has told people close to him that he’s going to be OK, but more tests are forthcoming –
McDermott said he wanted to hold off on naming a starter for next week, but with only four games remaining, Taylor’s future once again is very much in doubt. Which means it could be Nathan Peterman time again.
The rookie quarterback replaced Taylor, going 6 of 15 for 50 yards in mostly garbage time. While that wouldn’t usually be anything to write home about, it was a vast improvement from the five-interception disaster Peterman had in his Week 11 start against the Los Angeles Chargers.
“I worked on blocking that out the day after it happened, really,” he said. “You don’t want to come out like that your first time, but I’ve moved on and learned a lot from it. I learned a lot from this as well, just trying to get better with all the reps.”
Peterman nearly drove the Bills to a touchdown, but the drive stalled at the New England 1-yard line. On fourth and goal, a fade pattern to rookie receiver Zay Jones fell incomplete.
“I felt prepared,” Peterman said. “Obviously, the coaches did a great job preparing us all week, and I just think we left a few things out there. We could have had a couple touchdowns probably there, especially when you get down to the red zone, you need to score there. We have to get better.”
Even if Taylor’s injury isn’t long term, it’s fair to wonder if McDermott might once again insert Peterman into the lineup.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Peterman said. “Every single week, it’s kind of a boring answer, but it’s the same thing, I’m ready because that’s my job. Wherever they want me to play, second string or whatever, I’m going to be ready, and that’s the same approach this week.”
Stephon Gilmore took the heat as a sign of respect.
The New England Patriots’ cornerback was greeted with a hearty round of boos after being announced as the tackler on one of the first plays of the game.
“It's part of it. Fans going to be fans,” Gilmore said after his new team beat his old team. “You know, I played here five years. Maybe (the boos) are a good thing, you know? The type of player I am.”
Gilmore, who spent the first five years of his career with the Bills after being a first-round draft pick in 2012, certainly got the last laugh, finishing with three tackles and two passes defensed in the win. The analytics website Pro Football Focus gave Gilmore its best grade of any New England player, charging him with just two completions for 22 yards on six targets.
Gilmore was targeted three times in the red zone on drive in the fourth quarter by Bills rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman, but didn’t allow any of the passes to be caught, including a fourth-and-goal fade route intended for Zay Jones.
“They threw it my way three or four times in the red zone,” Gilmore said. “I’m like, ‘they really trying to score a touchdown on me no matter how much they’re down.’
“I wasn't letting them score, no matter what. I don't care if we were up 60, I wasn't letting him score. That's how I am.”
After a tough start to his first season in New England that included a concussion that cost him three weeks, Gilmore has come on lately. Asked if there was any extra motivation to stick it to the team that let him go, Gilmore downplayed the revenge factor.
“I know what type of player I am,” he said. “They’ve got to handle whatever they’ve got going, and I’m happy over here where I’m at.”
The Bills were without No. 2 tight end Nick O'Leary. Listed as questionable on the final injury report, he missed the game because of a back injury. That meant Logan Thomas, who had been inactive the previous two weeks, returned to the lineup.
Also inactive for the Bills were wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (knee), guard John Miller (ankle), running back Mike Tolbert (hamstring), left tackle Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), cornerback Shareece Wright and offensive tackle Conor McDermott. Wright has been a healthy inactive for three straight games.
Former Bills running back Mike Gillislee was a healthy inactive for the Patriots, while another ex-Bill in wide receiver Chris Hogan because of a shoulder injury. Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon sat out with an ankle injury, while linebacker Trevor Reilly (concussion), offense tackle LaAdrian Waddle (ankle), wide receiver Matthew Slater (hamstring) and defensive lineman Trey Flowers (rib) were New England's other inactives.
Referee Gene Steratore's crew had one change to it. Normal side judge Adrian Hill is a University at Buffalo graduate, and the NFL replaces officials who may have ties to particular teams. Hill was replaced for the game by Rick Patterson.
Story topics: Chris Hogan/ Conor McDermott/ Cordy Glenn/ John Miller/ Kelvin Benjamin/ Mike Gillislee/ Mike Tolbert/ Nathan Peterman/ Nick O'Leary/ Sean McDermott/ shareece wright/ Stephon Gilmore/ Tyrod Taylor