Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, left, greets Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan after an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. The Raiders won 38-24. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot
December 07, 2016

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) At a time when Tyrod Taylor's long-term future in Buffalo is in question, coach Rex Ryan put his quarterback on notice on Monday by saying he's not happy with the Bills' passing attack.

In assessing what went wrong with Buffalo's defense during a second-half meltdown in a 38-24 loss at Oakland on Sunday, Ryan wrapped up his answer by placing some of the blame on his offense.

''Obviously, we have to be able to throw the football if people are going to get it down there a little bit,'' Ryan said, in an apparent reference to Taylor missing throws to open receivers. ''That's been inconsistent, and obviously that can help us, too.''

The Bills squandered a 24-9 lead over the final 20 minutes, during which the Raiders scored 29 consecutive points and Buffalo's offense combined for 68 net yards with Taylor turning the ball over twice.

Ryan followed up by questioning whether he and his staff are asking too much of Taylor as a passer.

''For some reason, (it's) not getting done to where we need it to,'' he said, noting the Bills rank 31st in the NFL in allowing a sack for every 11 pass attempts. ''That's clearly not good enough. So we just have to take a hard look and we've got to improve in a hurry.''

Ryan's criticisms of Taylor are a departure for a coach who had previously been a staunch defender the team's second-year starter. And they come at a time when Buffalo (6-6) is falling out of the playoff picture and in jeopardy of extending the NFL's longest active postseason drought to 17 years.

Buffalo has no margin for error in opening a three-game homestand against Pittsburgh (7-5) on Sunday.

Taylor's future in Buffalo isn't secure beyond this season. Though the Bills signed Taylor to a five-year contract extension in August, the team retained the right to opt out of the deal - and the $27.5 million he is owed in salary and bonuses- before it kicks in this offseason.

Ryan did defend Taylor by noting the Bills have spent much of the season playing with an injury-depleted group of receivers. Starter Sammy Watkins has played just three games because of an injury to his surgically repaired left foot, and Robert Woods has missed three games due to foot and knee injuries.

''Regardless of whether it's Tom Brady or anybody else, I think that's going to affect you,'' Ryan said.

Inconsistency, however, has been an ongoing concern, and became apparent against Oakland.

Taylor was 12 of 18 for 132 yards passing and had a touchdown rushing when Mike Gillislee scored on a 2-yard run to put Buffalo ahead 24-9 six minutes into the third quarter. Taylor closed by completing six of his final 17 attempts for 59 yards.

Buffalo leads the NFL with 1,943 yards rushing, but ranks last with 2,178 yards passing.

There was plenty of blame to be spread in an outing during which Ryan acknowledged all three phases of his team ''imploded.''

The defense allowed the Raiders to scored four touchdowns on five drives and failed to register a takeaway for the fifth time in six outings. Punter Colton Schmidt struggled by mis-hitting consecutive punts - one for 35 yards and the other 39 - to set up Raiders scoring drives.

Linebacker Preston Brown pinned the blame on the defense.

''It was like the longest third quarter ever. We came out and go up by 15, and everybody thought, `Oh, we've got it,''' Brown said. ''Then they just stormed back. It was our fault on defense. We've got to make plays. (The offense) gave us a good lead. We've got to find ways to hold it.''

NOTES: CB Ronald Darby (concussion protocol) has been cleared to practice after missing one game. ... LB Lerentee McCray has been placed in the concussion protocol after being hurt against Oakland. ... Without getting into specifics, Ryan said ''communication could've been better'' when it came to him learning TE Charles Clay planned to miss the game at Oakland to attend the birth of his first child.

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