Ass Team Of The WeekWelcome to Ass Team Of The Week, a recurring feature in which we celebrate the most butt teams the NFL has to offer.  

When watching the very bad football games that I have to watch in order to write this series, I sometimes like to play a game called How Long Can They Hide The Ass? This game consists of seeing how long a team that is known and verified to be butt can play any other way before the familiar stench reveals itself. The Buffalo Bills, I can report, lasted about one quarter against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Then things got fecal in a hurry.

Make no mistake, the Bills didn’t play well for an entire quarter; the fact that they played well for an entire game, in a blowout win over the Vikings, feels like a dream at this point. But they at least managed not to be embarrassed by their opponents, a 1-5 Colts squad. That’s not saying much about the quality of this Bills team, but expectations weren’t very high to begin with. The game started with both teams trading a pair of punts, at which point Andrew Luck and the Colts discovered a fatal flaw in the Bills’ defense, which is that it is extremely bad. Assisted by a few nice runs from Marlon Mack, Luck led his team on a breezy, 13-play drive that ended with a touchdown pass to tight end Erik Swoope.

Even then, though, the Bills did not seem fully prepared to give into their soul-deep assiness. Derek Anderson, a beat-to-shit quarterback the Bills scooped out of the gutter 10 days previous, appeared to have a nice little drive on his hands when he led the Bills all the way down to the Colts’ 22-yard line. He then completed a pass to tight end Charles Clay, who fumbled the goddamn thing during a routine tackle. The Colts recovered, and three plays later this happened:

Ah, yes, there’s that smell—the unmistakable odor of Our Defense Can Turn Literally Any Opponent Play, Even A Meek Checkdown Into The Flat, Into A Long Touchdown.

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The Bills responded to that with a fragrant three-and-out that gained all of four yards, at which point the Colts came right back with a nine-play, 82-yard touchdown drive. The Bills surrendered runs of 23, 10, 18, 7, and 8 yards on that drive. Suddenly, they were down 21-0 with just a few minutes left to play in the first half.

Perhaps the wildest thing about the game up to this point was not that the Bills were getting their asses kicked, but that Anderson wasn’t that much of a culprit. He was mostly just completing checkdowns over the middle of the field, but he hadn’t yet delivered any of the disastrous quarterback play that tends to put teams in a 21-point hole. Anderson, who had started four games since 2010 and was not on any NFL roster two weeks ago, was actually the least of the Bills’ problems for most of the first half, which means... oh God, this team really sucks!

Anderson certainly became a problem as the game wore on, though. Things started to go bad when he attempted to lead a two-minute drill at the end of the first half, only to have it end like this:

Mike Mitchell managed to return that ball far enough to put the Colts in field goal range, and Indianapolis went into the locker room at the half up 24-0.

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The Bills managed a field goal on the opening drive of the second half, but it didn’t matter. The game was over and all that was left to see was how bad things were going to get for Anderson, a 35-year-old man who I feel compelled to remind you again had started all of four games in the previous seven seasons combined. It was clear that Anderson was working with a limited grasp of the playbook, and all those short passes to the running back and tight end weren’t getting him or his team anywhere near a comeback, or anywhere in particular. As his frustration mounted, so did the turnovers. There was a strip-sack that killed what little momentum the Bills had gained after a third-quarter safety, followed by another interception at his own 20-yard line. His final turnover of the game doubled as his best highlight, a trick-shot interception that Anderson managed to doink off the head of one defender and into the arms of another:

Do you know how badly you have to screw shit up to go from being a playoff team in 2017 to having Derek Anderson be your starting quarterback in Week 7 of 2018?

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Let’s see if we can figure it out: A year ago, Bills head coach Sean McDermott had a perfectly mediocre football team and a perfectly serviceable quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. He then alienated Taylor by benching him for Nathan Peterman mid-season in what amounted to a fit of pique. That move failed spectacularly and Taylor still managed to lead the Bills into the playoffs, but the team decided to rid itself of Taylor last offseason and stick with Peterman. It was down to Nate-Pete and A.J. McCarron to act as the season-long placeholder while meaty rookie Josh Allen spent a season marinating on the bench, but McCarron bombed in camp and was shipped off to the Raiders. This meant that the Bills, a real NFL football team, thought it would be a good idea to begin a season with Peterman as its starting quarterback. They even put together a hype video for him.

That went as poorly as it possibly could have, which led to Allen being thrust into the starting lineup far sooner than he should have been. He mostly sucked and then got hurt, at which point McDermott was unable to bring himself to reinstall Peterman, author of some of the worst quarterback performances in NFL history, as the starter. And so: Derek Anderson.

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Look at how long that took! That is what a year’s worth of poor decision-making looks like, and it is how you turn a team that was not very good but also not nearly a complete horror show into the sort of miserable outfit that loses 37-5 to the Colts. Jon Gruden has caught plenty of richly deserved shit for his complete dismantling of the Raiders this season, but at least he got multiple first-round draft picks out of his bumbling. All McDermott has is two crappy young quarterbacks and an even crappier old one. He’s doing great work.