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2015 Buffalo Bills season

2015 Buffalo Bills season
OwnerTerry and Kim Pegula
General managerDoug Whaley
Head coachRex Ryan
Home fieldRalph Wilson Stadium
Results
Record8–8
Division place3rd AFC East
Playoff finishDid not qualify
Pro BowlersRB LeSean McCoy
QB Tyrod Taylor
C Eric Wood
OG Richie Incognito
Uniform

The 2015 Buffalo Bills season was the franchise’s 56th overall season as a football team, 46th in the National Football League, third under leadership of general manager Doug Whaley and first under new head coach Rex Ryan. It was also the first full season under the ownership of Terry and Kim Pegula (who also own the Buffalo Sabres), having purchased the Bills partway through 2014 after the death of longtime owner Ralph Wilson in March at the age of 95.

The Bills began their season with an open competition for the starting quarterback position after Kyle Orton, the starter for most of the 2014 campaign, retired during the offseason, so the team acquired free agent Tyrod Taylor, a former backup quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, who won the competition over incumbent second-string quarterback EJ Manuel and trade acquisition Matt Cassel, the latter of whom the team later traded along with a seventh-round pick in 2017 to the Dallas Cowboys, in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick in 2017.

Despite Ryan's bold prediction of the Bills making the playoffs at his introductory press conference, the Bills were unable to do so in their first season with Ryan as head coach, finishing with a record of 8-8 (the team’s first since 2002), making it the 16th straight season without a playoff appearance, which became the longest active in major professional sports after Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays broke their 22-year playoff drought on September 25, 2015.[1]

Offseason

The Bills made headlines when they hired a new head coach in Rex Ryan, who signed a five-year, $27.5 million contract on January 12, 2015 after having previously spent the past six seasons coaching the division-rival New York Jets. Ryan had led the Jets to two straight AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010 before his firing in 2014. He became the 18th head coach in Bills history and the fifth in the past seven years in the process. Ryan replaced Doug Marrone, who opted out of his contract on December 31, 2014 in order to take advantage of a contract loophole.[2]

Roster changes

Signings

Position Player 2014 Team Date signed Notes and references
OG Richie Incognito No Team February 8, 2015 1-year/$2.25 million
DE Jerry Hughes Buffalo Bills March 9, 2015 5-years/$45 million
FB Jerome Felton Minnesota Vikings March 11, 2015 4-years/$9.2 million
WR Marcus Easley Buffalo Bills March 12, 2015 4-years/$7 million
DE Jarius Wynn Buffalo Bills March 12, 2015 2-years/$2.2 million
QB Tyrod Taylor Baltimore Ravens March 12, 2015 2-years/$7 million
WR Percy Harvin New York Jets March 13, 2015 3-years/$24 million
TE Charles Clay Miami Dolphins March 19, 2015 5-years/$38 million
DE Alex Carrington St. Louis Rams May 4, 2015 1-year
FB John Conner New York Jets May 13, 2015 1-year/$745,000
QB Matt Simms New York Jets May 29, 2015 1-year/$585,000

Free agents lost

Position Player 2015 Team Date signed Notes and references
CB Da’Norris Searcy Tennessee Titans March 10, 2015 4-years/$24 million
TE Lee Smith Oakland Raiders March 10, 2015 3-years/$9.1 million
RB C. J. Spiller New Orleans Saints March 13, 2015 4-years/$18 million
TE Scott Chandler New England Patriots March 13, 2015 2-years/$5.3 million
OL Erik Pears San Francisco 49ers March 14, 2015 2-years/$4.7 million
LB Larry Dean Tampa Bay Buccaneers April 9, 2015 1-year/$745,000
OT Chris Hairston San Diego Chargers April 15, 2015 1-year
LB Brandon Spikes New England Patriots May 18, 2015 1-year (Released June 8, 2015)

Trades

Player/picks acquired From Date traded Player/picks traded
LeSean McCoy Philadelphia Eagles March 10, 2015 Kiko Alonso
Matt Cassel
Minnesota’s 2015 6th Round Pick
Minnesota Vikings March 10, 2015 Grady Jarrett
Buffalo’s 2016 7th Round Pick
Dallas’ 2017 5th Round Pick Dallas Cowboys September 25, 2015 Matt Cassel
Buffalo’s 2017 7th Round Pick

Draft

2015 Buffalo Bills draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
2 50 Ronald Darby  CB Florida St
3 81 John Miller  OG Louisville
5 155 Karlos Williams  RB Florida St
6 188 Tony Steward  OLB Clemson
6 194 Nick O'Leary  TE Florida St
7 234 Dezmin Lewis  WR Central Arkansas
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career

Notes

  • The Bills did not have a selection in the first-round or fourth-round as a result of a trade that sent their 2014 first-round selection (19th overall), later revealed to be Ja’Wuan James, to the Miami Dolphins, fourth-round selection (115th overall), later revealed to be Shaquelle Evans, to the New York Jets and their first-round selection (9th overall), later revealed to be Anthony Barr, to the Cleveland Browns in a three-team trade that sent the Browns’ 2014 first-round selection (4th overall), later revealed to be Sammy Watkins, to Buffalo. The Bills acquired a fourth-round selection (113th overall), later revealed to be Gabe Wright, in a trade that sent Stevie Johnson to the San Francisco 49ers. The Bills later traded this selection to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Bryce Brown. The Bills acquired a fifth-round selection (137th overall), later revealed to be Grady Jarrett, as part of a trade that sent their 2014 seventh-round selection (221st overall), later revealed to be Randell Johnson, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bills later traded this selection and their 2016 seventh-round selection (240th overall), later revealed to be Alex McCalister, to the Vikings in exchange for Matt Cassel and the Vikings’ 2015 sixth-round selection (188th overall), later revealed to be Tony Steward.

Staff

2015 Buffalo Bills staff

Front office

  • Owner/CEO – Terry Pegula
  • Owner – Kim Pegula
  • President – Russ Brandon
  • General manager – Doug Whaley
  • Senior vice president of football administration – Jim Overdorf
  • Director of player personnel – Jim Monos
  • Director of college scouting – Kelvin Fisher
  • Director of football administration – Don Purdy
  • Director of football operations – Kevin Meganck
  • Director of pro personnel – Rob Hanrahan
  • Director of analytics – Michael Lyons
  • Special Assistant – Buddy Nix

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Head strength and conditioning – Eric Ciano
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Hal Luther
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Dan Liburd
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Jason Oszvart
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Mark Loecher

Final roster

2015 Buffalo Bills final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad


Rookies in italics
53 active, 19 inactive, 9 practice squad

Schedule

Preseason

Week Date Opponent Result Record Game site NFL.com
recap
1 August 14 Carolina Panthers L 24–25 0–1 Ralph Wilson Stadium Recap
2 August 20 at Cleveland Browns W 11–10 1–1 FirstEnergy Stadium Recap
3 August 29 Pittsburgh Steelers W 43–19 2–1 Ralph Wilson Stadium Recap
4 September 3 at Detroit Lions L 10–17 2–2 Ford Field Recap

Regular season

Week Date Opponent Result Record Game site NFL.com
recap
1 September 13 Indianapolis Colts W 27–14 1–0 Ralph Wilson Stadium Recap
2 September 20 New England Patriots L 32–40 1–1 Ralph Wilson Stadium Recap
3 September 27 at Miami Dolphins W 41–14 2–1 Sun Life Stadium Recap
4 October 4 New York Giants L 10–24 2–2 Ralph Wilson Stadium Recap
5 October 11 at Tennessee Titans W 14–13 3–2 Nissan Stadium Recap
6 October 18 Cincinnati Bengals L 21–34 3–3 Ralph Wilson Stadium Recap
7 October 25 at Jacksonville Jaguars L 31–34 3–4 Wembley Stadium Recap
8 Bye
9 November 8 Miami Dolphins W 33–17 4–4 Ralph Wilson Stadium Recap
10 November 12 at New York Jets W 22–17 5–4 MetLife Stadium Recap
11 November 23 at New England Patriots L 13–20 5–5 Gillette Stadium Recap
12 November 29 at Kansas City Chiefs L 22–30 5–6 Arrowhead Stadium Recap
13 December 6 Houston Texans W 30–21 6–6 Ralph Wilson Stadium Recap
14 December 13 at Philadelphia Eagles L 20–23 6–7 Lincoln Financial Field Recap
15 December 20 at Washington Redskins L 25–35 6–8 FedExField Recap
16 December 27 Dallas Cowboys W 16–6 7–8 Ralph Wilson Stadium Recap
17 January 3, 2016 New York Jets W 22–17 8–8 Ralph Wilson Stadium Recap

Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Game summaries

Week 1: vs. Indianapolis Colts

Week One: Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Colts 0 0 01414
Bills 7 10 7327

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

Game information

The Bills franchise reached the 400th career win in its history[3] with a 27-14 win over the Colts. Running backs Karlos Williams, LeSean McCoy and quarterback Tyrod Taylor combined for 137 rushing yards and a touchdown (Anthony Dixon added another on the ground) and Taylor completed 14/19 for 195 yards and a touchdown. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had two touchdowns, but he was intercepted and sacked twice. In a statistical anomoly, back-up quarterback Matt Cassel was credited with the win, as the Bills lined up for their first offensive play in a novelty formation with Cassel under center and Tyrod Taylor split out as a receiver. This made Cassel the starting quarterback of record, although it his only play of the game and he did not attempt either a pass or run.

Week 2: vs. New England Patriots

Week Two: New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Patriots 14 10 13340
Bills 7 6 01932

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

Game information

With the close loss, the Bills dropped to 1-1. As if the loss wasn’t bad enough, the team also lost safety Aaron Williams for the season with a neck injury sustained trying to keep Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski from reaching the end zone.

Week 3: at Miami Dolphins

Week Three: Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bills 14 13 01441
Dolphins 0 0 01414

at Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

  • Date: September 27
  • Game time: 4:25pm EDT
  • Game weather: 87 °F (31 °C), mostly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 64,869
  • Referee: Jerome Boger
  • TV announcers (CBS): Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots
  • Recap, Gamebook
Game information

After leading 27-0, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill finally threw two touchdowns, but his three interceptions, one of which a pick-six returned by linebacker Preston Brown 43 yards for a touchdown, proved to be too much as the Bills improved to 2-1.

Week 4: vs. New York Giants

Week Four: New York Giants at Buffalo Bills – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Giants 9 7 0824
Bills 3 0 0710

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

Game information

With their third straight loss to the Giants dating back to 2007, the Bills dropped to 2-2.

Week 5: at Tennessee Titans

Week Five: Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bills 0 0 01414
Titans 0 3 7313

at Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee

Game information

With the win, the Bills improved to 3-2.

Week 6: vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Week Six: Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bengals 7 10 14334
Bills 7 7 0721

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Date: October 18
  • Game time: 1:00pm EDT
  • Game weather: 40 °F (4 °C), cloudy
  • Game attendance: 69,593
  • Referee: Clete Blakeman
  • TV announcers (CBS): Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots
  • Recap, Gamebook
Game information

With their third straight loss to the Bengals dating back to 2011, the Bills dropped to 3-3.

Week 7: at Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL International Series

Week Seven: Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bills 3 10 01831
Jaguars 0 27 0734

at Wembley Stadium, London, England

  • Date: October 25
  • Game time: 1:30pm GMT/9:30am EDT
  • Game weather: 48 °F (9 °C), sunny intervals
  • Game attendance: 84,021
  • Referee: Terry McAulay
  • TV announcers (Yahoo! Screen, WIVB): Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon and Jamie Erdahl
  • Recap, Gamebook
Game information

This was the Bills’ first game in London since 1991. Sadly, with the stunning loss, the Bills dropped to 3-4 heading into the bye week, marking the first time they had been under .500 all season.

Week 9: vs. Miami Dolphins

Week Nine: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Dolphins 0 7 7317
Bills 9 10 7733

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Date: November 8
  • Game time: 1:00pm ET
  • Game weather: 49 °F (9 °C), sunny with some clouds
  • Game attendance: 70,214
  • Referee: Carl Cheffers
  • TV announcers (CBS): Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots
  • Recap, Gamebook
Game information

With the win, not only did the Bills improve to 4-4, but they swept Miami for the first time since 2013.

Week 10: at New York Jets

Week Ten: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bills 0 12 10022
Jets 3 0 7717

at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Game information

Rex Ryan made his return to MetLife Stadium for the first time since the Jets fired him after the 2014 season. The Bills wore their red Nike “color rush” uniforms. With 0:18 remaining, Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick attempted a comeback, but a game-saving interception by Bills safety Bacarri Rambo sealed the 22-17 victory over the Jets. With the win, the Bills improved to 5-4.

This was the debut for NFL Color Rush uniforms, with the Bills in all red and the Jets in all kelly green. The uniforms were indistinguishable to those with red-green color blindness, creating controversy.[4]

Week 11: at New England Patriots

Week Eleven: Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bills 0 3 7313
Patriots 3 7 10020

at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

Game information

With yet another close loss, the Bills dropped to 5-5.

Week 12: at Kansas City Chiefs

Week Twelve: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bills 10 6 6022
Chiefs 0 14 10630

at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

  • Date: November 29
  • Game time: 1:00pm ET/12:00pm CT
  • Game weather: 35 °F (2 °C), cloudy and rainy
  • Game attendance: 72,493
  • Referee: Terry McAulay
  • TV announcers (CBS): Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon
  • Recap, Gamebook
Game information

With the loss, the Bills dropped to 5-6.

Week 13: vs. Houston Texans

Week Thirteen: Houston Texans at Buffalo Bills – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Texans 6 7 0821
Bills 7 14 0930

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Date: December 6
  • Game time: 1:00pm ET
  • Game weather: 47 °F (8 °C), partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 68,544
  • Referee: Tony Corrente
  • TV announcers (CBS): Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots
  • Recap, Gamebook
Game information

With the win, not only did the Bills improve to 6-6, they remained in the wild card race. It’s also the Bills first win against the Texans since 2006.

Week 14: at Philadelphia Eagles

Week Fourteen: Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bills 7 3 10020
Eagles 7 10 3323

at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Date: December 13
  • Game time: 1:00pm ET
  • Game weather: 66 °F (19 °C), partly cloudy
  • Game attendance: 69,596
  • Referee: Ed Hochuli
  • TV announcers (CBS): Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots
  • Recap, Gamebook
Game information

LeSean McCoy made his return to Philadelphia for the first time since the Eagles traded him in the offseason. McCoy was seen kissing the Eagles logo, but did not stick around to interact with his former teammates or coach Chip Kelly.

Week 15: at Washington Redskins

Week Fifteen: Buffalo Bills at Washington Redskins – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Bills 0 0 02525
Redskins 7 14 7735

at FedExField, Landover, Maryland

  • Date: December 20
  • Game time: 1:00pm ET
  • Game weather: 43 °F (6 °C), sunny
  • Game attendance: 80,124
  • Referee: Clete Blakeman
  • TV announcers (Fox): Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Laura Okmin
  • Recap, Gamebook
Game information

With the loss, not only did the Bills drop to 6-8, but they were officially eliminated from playoff contention for the 16th consecutive season.[5]

Week 16: vs. Dallas Cowboys

Week Sixteen: Dallas Cowboys at Buffalo Bills – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Cowboys 3 3 006
Bills 6 0 3716

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Date: December 27
  • Game time: 1:00pm ET
  • Game weather: 39 °F (4 °C), rain showers
  • Game attendance: 70,172
  • Referee: Jeff Triplette
  • TV announcers (Fox): Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Laura Okmin
  • Recap, Gamebook
Game information

With the win, the Bills improved to 7-8 heading into the season finale.

Week 17: vs. New York Jets

Week Seventeen: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Jets 0 7 10017
Bills 7 9 3322

at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Date: January 3, 2016
  • Game time: 1:00pm ET
  • Game weather: 35 °F (2 °C), cloudy
  • Game attendance: 68,670
  • Referee: Walt Anderson
  • TV announcers (CBS): Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts and Evan Washburn
  • Recap, Gamebook
Game information

Prior to the game, the team called for paid volunteers to help shovel snow out of Ralph Wilson Stadium.[6] Former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick made his first return to Buffalo since being cut after the 2012 season, hoping to clinch a playoff spot for his new team with a win. Despite the Jets setting various team records, the Bills ultimately pulled out a win to close the season at 8-8 for the first time since 2002 in their final regular season game before Ralph Wilson Stadium was renamed New Era Field the following summer, not only keeping the Jets out of the playoffs for a fifth straight year, but helping the Pittsburgh Steelers reach the playoffs. As a thank you gift of sorts, the Steelers sent the Bills a care package of Primanti Brothers sandwiches.

Standings

Division

AFC East
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
(2) New England Patriots 12 4 0 .750 4–2 9–3 465 315 L2
New York Jets 10 6 0 .625 3–3 7–5 387 314 L1
Buffalo Bills 8 8 0 .500 4–2 7–5 379 359 W2
Miami Dolphins 6 10 0 .375 1–5 4–8 310 389 W1

Conference

# Team Division W L T PCT DIV CONF SOS SOV STK
Division Leaders
1[a] Denver Broncos West 12 4 0 .750 4–2 8–4 .500 .479 W2
2[a] New England Patriots East 12 4 0 .750 4–2 9–3 .473 .448 L2
3[a] Cincinnati Bengals North 12 4 0 .750 5–1 9–3 .477 .406 W1
4 Houston Texans South 9 7 0 .563 5–1 7–5 .496 .410 W3
Wild Cards
5 Kansas City Chiefs West 11 5 0 .688 5–1 10–2 .496 .432 W10
6[b] Pittsburgh Steelers North 10 6 0 .625 3–3 7–5 .504 .463 W1
Did not qualify for the postseason
7[b] New York Jets East 10 6 0 .625 3–3 7–5 .441 .388 L1
8[c] Buffalo Bills East 8 8 0 .500 4–2 7–5 .508 .438 W2
9[c] Indianapolis Colts South 8 8 0 .500 4–2 6–6 .500 .406 W2
10 Oakland Raiders West 7 9 0 .438 3–3 7–5 .512 .366 L1
11 Miami Dolphins East 6 10 0 .375 1–5 4–8 .469 .469 W2
12[d] Jacksonville Jaguars South 5 11 0 .313 2–4 5–7 .473 .375 L3
13[d] Baltimore Ravens North 5 11 0 .313 3–3 4–8 .508 .425 L1
14 San Diego Chargers West 4 12 0 .250 0–6 3–9 .527 .328 L2
15[e] Cleveland Browns North 3 13 0 .188 1–5 2–10 .531 .271 L3
16[e] Tennessee Titans South 3 13 0 .188 1–5 1–11 .492 .375 L4
Tiebreakers[f]
  1. ^ a b c Denver finished ahead of New England and Cincinnati for the No. 1 seed based on head-to-head sweep. New England finished ahead of Cincinnati for the No. 2 seed based
    on record vs. common opponents — New England's cumulative record against Buffalo, Denver, Houston and Pittsburgh was 4–1, while Cincinnati's cumulative record against
    the same four teams was 2–3.
  2. ^ a b Pittsburgh finished ahead of the New York Jets for the No. 6 seed and qualified for the last playoff spot based on record vs. common opponents — Pittsburgh's cumulative
    record against Cleveland, Indianapolis, New England and Oakland was 4–1, while the Jets' cumulative record against the same four teams was 3–2.
  3. ^ a b Buffalo finished ahead of Indianapolis based on head-to-head victory.
  4. ^ a b Jacksonville finished ahead of Baltimore based on head-to-head victory.
  5. ^ a b Cleveland finished ahead of Tennessee based on head-to-head victory.
  6. ^ When breaking ties for three or more teams under the NFL's rules, they are first broken within divisions, then comparing only the highest ranked remaining team from each division.

References

  1. ^ "Bills now have longest playoff drought among major sports". ESPN.com. September 26, 2015.
  2. ^ "Buffalo Bills hire Rex Ryan as head coach".
  3. ^ "Buffalo Bills Team Encyclopedia - Pro-Football-Reference.com". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  4. ^ "LOOK: Bills-Jets game is complete torture for color-blind people".
  5. ^ "Cousins' 4 TD passes lead Skins past eliminated Bills 35-25".
  6. ^ http://www.wgrz.com/story/news/2016/01/18/stadium-shovelers-paid-week/78971332/[permanent dead link]
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2015 Buffalo Bills season
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