The Buffalo Bills not only lost their second preseason game Thursday night, they lost viewers from the opener a week earlier before the trades of receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Ronald Darby.
The Bills' 20-16 road loss to the Philadelphia Eagles that ended with the last play of the game had a strong 18.6 rating on WKBW-TV (Channel 7). That was seven percent lower than the 20.0 rating for the Bills preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings at New Era Field.
The loss to the Eagles still will be the second highest-rated local TV program of the summer and the lead-in helped Channel 7 get a rare household victory in the 11 p.m. newscast competition with WIVB-TV (Channel 4) and WGRZ-TV (Channel 2).
The second highest-rated program Thursday night was CBS' reality show, "Big Brother," with a 5.9 local rating on Channel 4.
The first two games of the Sean McDermott coaching era have averaged a 19.3 rating. The four preseason games a year ago in Coach Rex Ryan's second season when expectations were diminished averaged a 17.0 rating. But the four preseason games in Ryan's first season when expectations were high averaged a 23.5 rating.
Bills regular season games generally average in the mid-to-high 30s or low 40s.