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Doug Whaley: Bills need Tyrod Taylor to deliver late in games

The Buffalo Bills' Tyrod Taylor has the NFL's fifth-best passer rating, the league's fifth-best yards per pass attempt and has thrown the third-fewest interceptions for a quarterback who has played in at least 10 games this season.

So why isn't Taylor even in the conversation as one of the NFL's better quarterbacks? There are several reasons.

First, Taylor has 2,853 passing yards this season, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. That is partly influenced by him missing two games, but Taylor won't generate the same national attention as young quarterbacks like Blake Bortles, Kirk Cousins or Derek Carr, who have either surpassed 4,000 passing yards this season or have a strong chance to do so this weekend.

Second, Taylor has yet to win a game this season when he has thrown 30 or more passes. He's 0-5 in such contests, completing less than 56 percent of his passes in three of those games (at New England, at Kansas City and at Philadelphia) and surpassing a 100.0 passer rating once (at Kansas City). In other words, Taylor is generally better the less he throws, which isn't typically a positive sign for a quarterback.

Finally, Taylor is 7-6 as the Bills' starter, counting his Week 1 start at wide receiver when Matt Cassel took the first snap of the game at quarterback. Taylor's defense hasn't done him many favors in some of his losses, but Taylor also hasn't been able to win games through the air when his team has been behind.

"The biggest thing for him is he has to take that next step and that next step is the end-of-the-game situations where we can count on him like he did in Tennessee [in Week 5]," general manager Doug Whaley told WGR 550 radio Tuesday. "To get that consistency in the end of game situations where we can depend on him and basically throw the game on his back and have him come through and deliver."

"I think all the other numbers are telling you that this young man has a real chance," coach Rex Ryan said Dec. 14. "Never be considered a great quarterback until you can bring your team back and win in those situations. So yeah, I would say that, that is the next stage in being able to bring his team back in those situations."

The most troubling example of Taylor not being able to lead a late-game comeback as a passer was earlier this month in Philadelphia, when Taylor forced a deep pass to Robert Woods, resulting in a game-sealing Eagles interception. With more than a minute on the clock and the Bills needing about 40 yards to move into field goal position, Taylor should have opted for a more conservative throw in that instance.