Three days before the Buffalo Bills turned the ball over six times in a horrifying 52-28 loss to the New England Patriots, I wrote this article about the Bills' turnover woes against New England. As the team was repeatedly gifting the football to Tom Brady on Sunday, I was dwelling on the first paragraph of that article:
As Buffalo Bills fans, we're all hoping that our favorite team can beat the New England Patriots in Sunday's crucial AFC East division matchup. It would be nice, however, if the Bills didn't beat themselves for once.
The Bills are now 2-12 in division games under Chan Gailey - again, those two wins came against Miami in 2010 (when Dan Carpenter missed four field goals) and last year against New England (when Brady threw four interceptions) - and turnovers are perhaps the biggest reason why. In those 14 division games, the Bills have turned the ball over 42 times.
Take a minute (or an hour, or an eternity) to try to wrap your mind around that stat if you have to. 14 games. 42 turnovers.
By comparison, in the 24 non-division games the Bills have played, they have just 38 turnovers. That's still not great ball security, but hey, the Bills' 10-12 record and 1.6 turnovers per game average outside of the AFC East under Gailey looks a heck of a lot better than 2-12 and three turnovers per game within it.
Buffalo is now up to a whopping 21 turnovers in their last five games against New England. In their last five against New York, they've got 15 more. They don't play Miami for another two months, but the Dolphins will have a chance to add to their meager-by-comparison six turnovers forced in four games against Gailey's Bills.
The biggest turnover culprit in division games? Ryan Fitzpatrick, of course. He's now started 33 football games for Gailey. 12 of those came against AFC East rivals; he has a 23-to-26 touchdown-to-interception ratio in those games. (That leaves him with 36 touchdowns to 19 picks in the other 21 games, which isn't terrible at all, right?)
The Bills may have more immediate pressing concerns - like, say, shoring up an awful defense that has surrendered 86 of 100 total points in two division games this season - but the longest-standing on-field issue for this team under Gailey has been their turnover record, especially in their most important games. The insane number of turnovers is, by far, the most annoying part about this football team, if only because it seems like the bleeding can be slowed by just saying, "Hey... stop that."
Buffalo has played just six games under Gailey without turning the ball over once (two of them in division games). If they still fancy themselves playoff contenders, they're going to have to add to that total significantly by the end of the season.