Don't be afraid to give Taylor credit

October 27, 2017

The Buffalo Bills are 4-2 and favored to beat an Oakland Raiders team that last year went 12-4. In 2016, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr got some MVP talk. Why? He's decent, had an excellent supporting cast, and his team won almost every close game, beating most expectations for the season. That's pretty much enough for the MVP crowd.

I'm not here to push Tyrod Taylor for NFL MVP. His wide-receiver corps is on the other end of the spectrum. But he does deserve more credit than he gets.

How does 54 touchdowns to 14 interceptions sound? Because that's Taylor's record as Bills quarterback -- 44 TD passes, 10 rushing touchdowns, 14 picks. Taylor has rushed for 1,322 yards for an average of 5.6 yards per-turn.

If you didn't assume Taylor, because of his size and style, would soon get injured on the job, you at least know someone who did. Going back more than two years, on our show fans brought this concern up all the time. Facts: Taylor in almost two and a half years has missed two games to injury. That was in 2015. Taylor was injured on a running play in Tennessee. He played through the injury, rallying the Bills to a late touchdown and comeback win. 

The Bills have a durable starting quarterback that almost never turns the ball over and is as much a running threat as any quarterback in the NFL. How does that sound? This does not mean you should necessarily want him to be the team's quarterback of the future. This does mean that he's pretty good, and he has been pretty good, and he's absolutely not riding teammates' coattails the way Carr or Matt Ryan did last year.

I don't know what the Bills will do next season, and I don't need even them to know that now. The case for drafting a quarterback as early as possible has been made many times over, and is to say the least reasonable. Of course it depends on what's available and when you pick, all of which is at this point unknown.

Maybe just appreciate what the current quarterback of the team is doing. Deonte Thompson, rightly, got a lot of attention for posting a 107-yard receiving day less than a week after joining the Bills. Did you see the 44-yard pass he caught on the late, game-tying drive? Taylor hangs in against pressure, then steps up through the pocket and launches the game's most-important pass. It was first-and-10, and taking off after the pocket collapsed wouldn't have been a bad choice. Instead he calmly stands in before finding Thompson open deep left. The throw's on the money, and the Bills are on their way to winning a game they trailed with under 3 minutes to go.

Not bad.

As a statistic, quarterback win-loss records are pretty dumb. But they resonate with fans so allow me to share that the Bills are 19-16 in games started by Tyrod Taylor. That's a .542 winning percentage, better than any Bills quarterback since Doug Flutie, better among those with a season or more starts than all but Flutie, Jim Kelly and Jack Kemp in team history.

Taylor has the best quarterback rating in Bills history, 93.8, among those that have thrown more than 10 passes.

You add this up any way you want. My point: Tyrod Taylor is better than you probably think.