No position in the NFL is as important as quarterback – and none is tied as close to winning and losing as well: if a team finds a good passer, its odds of having success increase. The Buffalo Bills have not had a lot of success ever since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly decided to retire, lacking the necessary stability at the game’s pivotal offensive position. Through the years, the team started multiple quarterbacks but none proved to be of the franchise type.
This offseason, the Bills took a shot at the next candidate to finally fill this role by choosing Wyoming’s Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick of the draft. However, the selection has not yet brought the desired results so far this season: not only did the rookie – as was expected – struggle with among other things consistency, he also was knocked out of the Bills’ week six game because of an elbow injury.
Allen missed last week’s game against the Indianapolis Colts because of the issue and will reportedly also miss next Monday’s game against the New England Patriots. In his place, veteran backup Derek Anderson, he of a 70.5 career passer rating, will start the two AFC East rivals’ first meeting of the year. Anderson, who just joined the Bills earlier this month, will therefore become the 13th quarterback to start a game against Bill Belichick’s Patriots.
The 35-year old now joins a group reflective of Buffalo’s struggles at the quarterback position the past two decades – one that includes players such as Rob Johnson, Kelly Holcomb, Trent Edwards, Thad Lewis and most recently Tyrod Taylor. Anderson and Allen, likely to become the 14th passer to start against New England later this season, are the latest additions to this litany of mediocre Bills quarterbacks. Meanwhile, the team’s opponent this week is the NFL’s model when it comes to consistency.
Overall, just five passers started for Belichick’s Patriots throughout the years, with only four of them also starting at least once against Buffalo: Drew Bledsoe, who went on to also start for the Bills against New England, Matt Cassel, Jacoby Brissett and of course Tom Brady. There is arguably nothing that shows the difference between the two teams since 2000 than this. Maybe Allen and Brady's closing window will lead to a reversal of roles in the future. But until then: enjoy it, New England for this is not to be taken for granted.