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Bucky Gleason: Tyrod Taylor coming back to Bills is little more than rumor

Bucky Gleason

About a half-hour before kickoff, Tony Romo suggested on "The NFL Today" that quarterback Tyrod Taylor could solidify his place in Buffalo if he led the Bills over the New England Patriots on Sunday. All that meant to me was that Romo either was sadly misinformed or taking a wild guess.

See, that's how rumors get started.

I suppose it was possible for the Bills to bring back Taylor next season if they had beaten the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, won next week in Miami and ended their 17-year playoff drought. It's also possible for the Bills to win Super Bowl LII and Jennifer Aniston to spend Christmas at my house.

The reality was the Patriots beat the Bills, 37-16, in a game that figures to have little impact on Taylor's future in Buffalo. All indications point toward the Bills going in another direction next season at quarterback even if they win next week in Miami and somehow sneak into the postseason. And that's hardly a wild guess.

Bills GM Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott have watched enough of Taylor this season to know his limitations and conclude he's not the answer. There's a big difference between being a true franchise quarterback and the quarterback of this franchise. And they're not paying him $18 million as a backup.

For years, the Bills have hoped to find a true franchise quarterback while settling for a long line of players who could get under center and run an offense. But that's not enough for a competent new regime that has the acumen and job security required to carry out their long-term plan.

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It seems the message was lost somewhere between their 5-2 start and Sunday's game, but not much has changed. People need to realize Beane and McDermott have higher standards than simply making the playoffs. They have a different agenda than fans who have watched the Bills miss the playoffs for 17 consecutive seasons.

As far as the GM and coach are concerned, the playoffs would be a bonus and nothing more. The Bills are trying to win every Sunday. It's why they traded for Kelvin Benjamin, who made a terrific catch for an apparent touchdown that was overruled by instant replay with six seconds left in the second quarter.

Just know that the guys running the show aren't obsessed with the postseason, the way fans have been for years. They faced the facts long ago and reached the conclusion that the Bills aren't equipped to win a championship. In case you haven't heard, that almost always starts with the quarterback.

Taylor has a better reputation on a national level than a local level, largely because we've watched him play every week. He makes great plays that would grab anyone's attention, but they come with others that make you shake your head. It has been much the same to varying degrees for three years.

He played well by his standards Sunday. He completed 21 of 38 passes for 281 yards, giving him his second-highest output this season and adding another loss when finishing with 30 passing attempts or more. He wasn't the reason the Bills failed to beat the Pats, but he also couldn’t lead them to a win.

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Taylor has a 21-20 record over three seasons in Buffalo. He has a higher winning percentage than any Bills quarterback who has started 16 games or more since the drought began. Doug Flutie was 21-9 over three seasons at the turn of the century before the Bills lost their way.

Simply put, they're looking beyond win-loss records and completion and interception percentages. They're desperate for top-end talent with a higher ceiling, someone who can put the Bills on their back and take over a game the way Tom Brady and other elite quarterbacks have for their teams.

Taylor is just good enough to be, well, good enough to play for a team that misses the playoffs with regularity. And that's why the Bills made the desperate decision to go for the first down on fourth and 2 from the New England 6-yard line rather than kicking the short field goal. Buffalo needed touchdowns.

The Buffalo Bills take on the New England Patriots on Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

The team was looking for a way into the end zone rather than attempt to kick the Pats into submission with field goals. In the end, the Bills scored one touchdown and kicked three field goals. The Bills deserved better than a tie game going into halftime after Charles Clay dropped a TD pass one play before Benjamin's catch was overturned.

Taylor showed flashes of brilliance, as usual. He made a perfect throw to Deonte Thompson for a 46-yard gain in the second quarter. He found Thompson with another great toss on a 33-yard play late in the first half. He also took a 15-yard sack in a tie game in the third quarter, reminding you of his flaws.

The issue all along has been Taylor throwing downfield with more willingness and consistency, with Taylor seeing the field the way franchise quarterbacks do, with Taylor making good decisions and making the difference for the right reasons, with Taylor being better than mediocre.

Taylor at his best and his worst was on display Sunday. Romo could see for himself while calling the game. Eventually, he'll come around and understand what others have known for years: The idea that Tyrod Taylor is a franchise quarterback is little more than a rumor.

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