In his post-game press conference Thursday after Buffalo’s last-minute, 28-27 preseason victory over the Chicago Bears, Bills Coach Sean McDermott was thinking of the team’s fans.
“Hopefully the fans got to stay up a little late to watch it,” said McDermott.
Many fans did. Just not as many as did in the three previous preseason games when more starters played briefly and the play of rookie quarterback Josh Allen was a draw.
The game had an 18.1 rating on WKBW-TV (Channel 7), making it the lowest-rated of the four preseason games and the only one to get a rating lower than 21.9
There also was a huge drop-off in the second half when quarterback AJ McCarron led a Bills comeback.
The rating for the game peaked at 23.3 from 8:15 p.m. through 8:45 p.m. and dropped steadily after that as the Bills fell behind, 20-0.
The rating was a 16.2 at 9:30 p.m., dropped to a 14.8 after halftime, jumped to a 16.5 at 10 p.m. and dropped again to a 14.9 at 10:45 p.m.
It hit a low of 12.3 at 11 p.m. during the 15 minutes that McCarron led the winning touchdown drive.
The three preseason games carried on Channel 7 and the fourth one on Fox affiliate WUTV averaged a 22.4 rating as the Bills finished the preseason 2-2.
The four games were the four highest-rated programs of the summer in Western New York.
Bills regular season games usually receive ratings as low as in the high 20s and as high as the low 40s.