There was a good deal of ugly in between, and there will surely be a lot of ugly in the coming days.
Either one of two things is going to happen: The Bills are going to completely gut the Chan Gailey era, which will probably also come with a change at quarterback, or they will continue on with Gailey. It will be an ugly offseason regardless.
If they don't move on, they will be continuing with a regime that is 16-32 (.333) in its first three seasons in Buffalo. General manager Buddy Nix has said that he doesn't want to change head coaches every three years. He said back in November (via The Buffalo News):
"The age-old thing—and they've done it around here for years—is to start over about every three years. What that does is make damn sure you don't make it. ...You change every three years and you never quite get there. That's my take."
That being said, Nix may not have a say if the Bills move on from him, as The Buffalo News reported was the plan.
If they move on, it will be the third reset for the franchise at head coach in the past three years and fourth in the past seven years.
Gailey is a pass-biased head coach, and he was supposed to help the Bills move forward into the pass-biased NFL. It turns out, Gailey's bias for the pass resulted in one of the great injustices that Buffalo has ever seen in the gross under-use of running back C.J. Spiller.
Despite limited opportunities, Spiller became the first Bills back since Willis McGahee in 2005 to have over 1,200 yards. That year, McGahee had 325 carries; Spiller had 187 this year.
That under-use, once again, came into harsh clarity in the form of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who went 12-of-26 passing (46.2 percent) for 225 yards and a touchdown, with a 66-yard catch-and-run by Spiller accounting for his lone touchdown.
This is nothing new; Spiller has been the catalyst for almost all of Buffalo's offensive success. This marked his second straight game with over 20 carries, but it was only his third such game of the season.
He should have been getting those opportunities all season long, but this isn't the first time he's struggled to carry the burden for the offense on his own; he was held to just 59 yards on 24 carries (2.5 YPA). That being said, his touchdown catch proved that, with enough opportunities, he has the explosive ability to be a major part of the Bills offense going forward.
The head coach and the quarterback, on the other hand, haven't done such a swell job of proving that, and thus begins an ugly offseason, whether they stay or go.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.
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