Pitoniak: The QB that could have saved the Bills

TORONTO - As I watched Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson toy with the Bills in Sunday's humiliating 50-17 loss at the Rogers Centre, I couldn't help but think what many were thinking.
                He could have been a Bill.
                And think how differently this season might have gone and how brighter the future would be looking at One Bills Drive if that had been the case.
                The Bills deep thinkers said they thought highly of Wilson, who had wowed people at the University of Wisconsin. But they already had a quarterback who was going to lead them to the playoffs. A guy named Ryan Fitzpatrick.
                So, instead of taking a shot at Wilson, the Bills traded up in the third round so they could pick wide receiver T.J. Graham.
                Well, we all know how this has worked out.
              Badly for the Bills. Swimmingly for the Seahawks.
                Buffalo, behind Fitz's three-turnover performance that led to 17 second-half Seattle points, was officially eliminated from playoff contention. The Seahawks, meanwhile, have won five of six and will play for the NFC West title in prime time next Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
                The Bills struggled once again to score 20 points.
                Seattle became only the third team since 1950 to score 50 or more points in consecutive weeks.
                Wilson rushed for 92 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries. He also threw for a touchdown and had a passer rating over 100 for the sixth consecutive game. There were times when he made the Bills defenders look sick; time when he negated their pass rush and faked them out of their jocks with his fancy footwork and ballhandling.
                Wilson, though less ballyhooed than fellow first-year quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Indianapolis and Robert Griffin III of Washington, is every bit as dynamic. His nine wins are as many as Luck has. He is getting better with each game. He is deserving of rookie-of-the-year consideration, maybe even some MVP votes.
                Yes, hindsight is 20-20. The Bills weren't the only team to pass on Wilson. Heck, even the Seahawks did for two rounds.
                But Buffalo can't ever seem to get this quarterback situation resolved. They whiffed with Rob Johnson and Todd Collins and J.P Losman, each of whom was more suspect than prospect. They've missed out when guys like Wilson were available.
                And so the revolving door at quarterback continues, as it has virtually every year since Jim Kelly retired back in 1997. Drew Bledsoe and Doug Flutie provided some momentary relief, but the others have been a disaster.
                I've already expressed my opinions about Fitz. Great guy. Mediocre quarterback. What you see is what you're going to get. A sub-.500, journeyman QB. That's all he is. That's all he's ever going to be. It's time to move on.
                I still don't understand why the Bills picked up Tavaris Jackson. I'm not saying he's the answer, but he has a much better won-lost record as an NFL starter than Fitz. The guy is never active. Why not at least give him a shot?
                With Luck, RGIII and Wilson, the Quarterback Class of 2012 has the potential to be among the best ever. Next year's draft, the QB pickings will be slimmer. But you never know what you might find. We all know that Tom Brady was a sixth rounder. Joe Montana lasted till the third round. Even Joe Ferguson, one of the Bills all-time greats, was a third-rounder. Maybe it's time to take a chance on a guy like Ryan Nassib, the Syracuse quarterback who's stock is rising rapidly.
                Twelve teams - 38 percent of the league - are starting quarterbacks who are in either their first or second years. And many of them are having success. In the case of Wilson, great success.
                Buddy Nix has said he wants to find the Bills quarterback of the future before he is done as general manager.
                It's too bad he hadn't taken a chance on Wilson. Of course, the way this team has operated, he would still be rotting on the bench.
                 SCOTT'S REPORT CARD
                OFFENSE: They scored as many points (17) as they gave up on turnovers (17). C.J. Spiller went over 100 on the day and 1,000 for the season. And Stevie Johnson made an acrobatic catch and went over 100 receiving yards. But not many other highlights.  GRADE: D-minus
                DEFENSE:  Marshawn Lynch was in Beast Mode with 113 yards and a score on just 10 carries. Wilson set the tone with scrambles and read options and pinpoint passes as Seattle gashed the Bills for nearly 500 yards and 50 points.  GRADE: F
                SPECIAL TEAMS: Got caught sleeping on a fake punt and were saved by a penalty flag from giving up a punt return for a touchdown. Rian Lindell continues to have a quietly impressive season. He's now 20-of-21 on field goal attempts.  GRADE: C
COACHING: Just not getting it done in any phase of the game. Team looked at times like it quit out there. Chan Gailey has the look of a man who knows his days are numbered. GRADE: F
OUTLOOK: Bills have two games remaining. If they lose out - a distinct possibility - they will finish with a record worst than last year. GRADE: F

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