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Bills turn in another sloppy showing in 20-16 preseason loss to Eagles

PHILADELPHIA -- It was a terrible night for Tyrod Taylor.

It was, for the second game in a row, a sloppy and undisciplined night for the Buffalo Bills as a whole during a 20-16 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

After two preseason outings, there isn't much positive that can be said about Sean McDermott's team. And the 0-2 record in games that don't count would appear to be the least of its problems.

Poor work by the starting quarterback and a tidal wave of self-inflicted wounds, in the form of four turnovers and a bevy of penalties, are the sort of things that keep coaches up at night. Suffice it to say that McDermott probably wasn't going to get a whole lot of sleep after this one.

Or, put another way, far less shut-eye than the many Western New York television viewers who likely opted for bed long before the game ended.

Taylor, who gave way to rookie Nathan Peterman with 3:45 left in the first half, was intercepted twice, including one by former Bills cornerback Ronald Darby, who nearly had two picks.

"I was disappointed in the rhythm of the offense," McDermott said. "I didn't think we got into a rhythm overall and Tyrod, obviously, had some plays that he'd like back. We all do."

During his post-game news conference, the coach was vague when asked about the possibility of a quarterback change, but later clarified to The Buffalo News that he was not considering a switch from Taylor.

The Bills had 15 penalties accepted for minus-131 yards, five more than they had a week ago in their 17-10 preseason-opening loss against the Minnesota Vikings, and others that weren't. They had nine penalties for minus-66 yards in the first half, alone, when most of their starters were in the game.

"It's 100-percent unacceptable," McDermott told reporters after the game. "Good teams, as you heard me say, don't beat themselves and, obviously, we need work on technique and we're going to go hard on that this week like we've been attacking it. So we've got a lot of work to do, (penalties) being one of the areas, but overall, a lot of work to do."

The Bills' opening possession started on a positive note, with LeSean McCoy, in his first start of the preseason, ripping off a 13-yard gain.

However, on second-and-13 from the Buffalo 15, quarterback Taylor had a pass tipped by safety Rodney McLeod and intercepted by linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who returned the ball to the Bills' 9.

As it did for much of the game, the Bills' defense held tough, forcing the Eagles to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis to make it 3-0 with 11:06 left in the first quarter. The Eagles were 2-of-12 on third-down conversions. Buffalo's defense allowed only five yards on the Eagles' first nine plays, an average of 0.6 yards per play.

"When you look at the defense, in particular, the first group, they did a pretty solid job across the board," McDermott said, noting that he was happy with the fact the unit forced three turnovers.

The Bills' starting offense hardly held up its end of the bargain, however, with Taylor completing only eight of 18 passes for 53 yards. Throw in the two interceptions, and he finished with a passer rating of ... 12.0.

Taylor threw his second interception to former teammate Ronald Darby, who was making his preseason debut with the Eagles, one play after Adolphus Washington recovered a fumble that linebacker Lorenzo Alexander forced from running back LeGarrette Blount.

After Darby's impressive speed and elusiveness during a 48-yard return to the Eagles' 18, Sturgis missing wide left on a 45-yard field-goal attempt.

A roughing-the-passer penalty on defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao on third down kept alive a second-quarter drive that ended with Stephen Hauschka's 42-yard field goal to make it 3-3 with 11:37 left in the second quarter.

After another stalled drive by the Bills' starting offense, the Eagles took a 6-3 lead on a 48-yard Sturgis field goal with 7:50 remaining in the half.

The Eagles decided to take a 30-yard Sturgis field goal off the board with 50 seconds left in the second quarter and accept a penalty on the Bills for Eddie Yarbrough attempting to gain leverage in trying to block the attempt. Two plays later, the Eagles made it 13-3 on a six-yard touchdown run by Corey Clement 47 seconds before halftime.

Once Peterman took over, things started looking a little better for the Bills' offense. He wasn't spectacular, but it didn't take a whole lot of his performance to top Taylor's. For the most part, Peterman threw with authority and accuracy.

Showing a great deal of poise while running a two-minute drill, the rookie led the Bills on a nine-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard Hauschka field goal to cut the margin to 13-6 as time expired in the first half.

Peterman also led the Bills on a 10-play, 42-yard drive for Hauschka's third field goal of the night, a 30-yarder that pulled the Bills to within 13-9 with 7:41 left in the third quarter. Peterman finished 10-of-20 for 167 yards and a 78.5 passer rating.

"Nate's done a nice job, he's had a good camp," McDermott said. "He's very poised and does a good job with being decisive in the pocket. I did like how he moved the offense when he came in and he's doing a nice job. He'll continue to develop."

Third-string quarterback T.J. Yates took over in the fourth quarter. He gave the Bills their lone touchdown by cashing in on an interception by cornerback Greg Mabin deep in Eagles territory with a nine-yard scoring throw to tight end Brandon Reilly to give Buffalo its only lead, 16-13, with 4:57 remaining in the game.

But the Eagles answered on the next possession after rookie Austin Rehkow sent the kickoff out of bounds to give Philadelphia the ball at its own 40. Rookie quarterback Dane Evans proceeded to lead the Eagles on a 60-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Byron Marshall for the winning points with three minutes left.

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