Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) passes against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot
December 07, 2016

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor insists he's not affected by questions about his performance or long-term future in Buffalo.

His actions appear to suggest differently.

After answering a final question and saying ''Thank you,'' in closing his weekly news conference on Wednesday, Taylor walked away from the podium and said, ''I'm done talking.''

The outburst happened off camera and followed a 10-minute session with reporters during which the second-year starter faced several questions about criticism he received following a 38-24 loss to Oakland on Sunday. The Bills squandered a 15-point second-half lead and dropped to 6-6 in moving to the fringes of playoff contention.

And it comes at a time when Taylor's future beyond this season in Buffalo is being questioned .

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.

Taylor said he hasn't paid attention to the criticism because his sole focus is preparing to face Pittsburgh (7-5) on Sunday.

''This week, fellas. This week. Talk about this week,'' Taylor said when the topic of his future was broached.

''My future in Buffalo is this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That's what matters most. I don't feel like talking about my contract right now. We still have games to play.''

He said it makes no difference as to whether the criticism is fair.

''Critics are going to critique. It's in their job title,'' Taylor said. ''Whether it's fair or not, it's going to happen. Just have to deal with it, ignore it, continue playing football. I don't let those things affect me.''

Taylor is taking heat because he has a 6-6 record and the Bills' passing attack ranks last in the NFL. Though he's made an impact in Buffalo's top-ranked ground game with 469 yards rushing and six touchdowns, Taylor has subpar passing numbers. His 2,292 yards passing rank 27th among quarterbacks with 300 or more attempts. Taylor's topped 200 yards passing just four times this season.

And he has struggled in the past five games, having thrown just two touchdowns versus three interceptions and a lost fumble.

Overall, he's completed 211 of 348 attempts with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions, while also being sacked 34 times.

In Taylor's defense, the Bills' group of receivers has been depleted by injuries.

Starter Sammy Watkins has been limited to just four games because of a broken bone in his surgically repaired left foot. Robert Woods has missed three games because of a right foot and left knee injury. Backups Walter Powell, Greg Salas and recently acquired Percy Harvin are also sidelined with season-ending injuries.

''It's been a battle, but guys have worked through it,'' Taylor said of the injuries. ''We haven't complained once. We just try to find ways to win each and every week.''

Taylor has a 14-12 record since taking over the No. 1 job at the start of the 2015 season in his first year in Buffalo. He spent his first four seasons serving as Joe Flacco's backup in Baltimore.

Though noted for his speed and strong arm, Taylor has been occasionally knocked for scrambling too often, and for having difficulty completing passes over the middle. At 6-foot-1, he's considered short by NFL quarterback standards.

Against Oakland, Taylor opened by completing nine of his first 10 attempts for 110 yards. He then completed nine of his final 25 passes for 81 yards.

Following the game, he then provided terse one- and two-word answers, and sidestepped questions whether he deserved a share of the blame.

On Wednesday, Taylor said he was partially to blame and needs to do better.

''I've taken everything that you all stood up here and asked me right on the chest,'' Taylor said. ''It doesn't affect me emotionally or physically. I take that every week. So whatever you all want to blame, I'll take that. My job is to get the team into a position where we can win on Sunday. Can I bet better? Yes.''

Coach Rex Ryan rallied to Taylor's defense by calling him ''an outstanding quarterback.''

Ryan also noted that everyone is open to criticism.

''Everybody has a right to their opinions about not just Tyrod, but any situation,'' he said. ''We're in sports. And that's the beauty of it. But again, this is strictly about Pittsburgh.''

NOTES: Woods (left knee) practiced on a limited basis for the first time since missing two games. ... CB Ronald Darby returned to practice after missing one game while being evaluated for a concussion. ... The Bills signed CB Charles Gaines to their practice squad. He appeared in six games with Cleveland last year.


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