ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- There have been 38 quarterbacks who have started games across the NFL this season. The two who have started for the Buffalo Bills -- Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen -- have been the worst of the bunch statistically.
The Total QBRs of Allen (22.5 in three starts) and Peterman (1.1 in one start) rank 37th and 38th, respectively, which only begins to tell the story of how poorly the Bills' quarterbacks have played this season.
Since ESPN began tracking Total QBR in 2006, only five teams have posted worse marks in the first quarter of their seasons: the 2006 and 2008 Raiders, the 2010 Panthers and the 2011 and 2013 Jaguars. Those clubs finished those seasons with a combined record of 18-62.
At 1-3, the Bills are off to the franchise's worst start since 2010, when they began 0-4. They have been outscored by their opponents by an average of 14 points per game, a rate also not seen since 2010.
Coach Sean McDermott made it clear Monday that his goals for this season include both winning and developing young players such as Allen. However, history should make anyone leery of simply writing off the Bills' ghastly start as growing pains for the No. 7 overall pick.
In the case of all five of the teams with worse Total QBR numbers than the Bills in the past 12 years, each team was attempting to groom a young quarterback: third-round pick Andrew Walter for the Raiders in 2006; first-overall pick JaMarcus Russell for Oakland in 2008; second-round pick Jimmy Clausen for the Panthers in 2010; and No. 10 overall pick Blaine Gabbert for Jacksonville in 2011 and 2013.
That is hardly the company Allen should want to keep.
In addition to having the NFL's worst Total QBR (15.4) entering Week 5, the Bills rank 31st in yards per game (220.8), 32nd in yards per play (3.68), 31st in offensive points scored per game (12.5), 32nd in net yards per pass attempt (4.38), 32nd in interception rate per pass attempt (5.0 percent) and 32nd in sack rate per pass attempt (17.4 percent).
The offensive problems were evident in Sunday's 22-0 shutout loss at Green Bay, the first time the Bills have been held without points since 2008. The Bills gained only 145 yards, their fewest since 2006.
"[The] offense wasn’t good enough at all," McDermott said Monday. "Bottom line. Not good enough. Running game, passing game, hits on the quarterback."
The amount of sacks allowed should be particularly troubling for the Bills. Allen's seven sacks taken Sunday raised the Bills' total this season to 21, the most allowed by any NFL team through four games since the Detroit Lions gave up 22 in 2007.
"There’s a lot of hands in that jar, though, as it goes to hits on the quarterback," McDermott said. "It’s just not good enough. Not solid football. We’ve got to get better."
No matter how blame should be distributed for the sacks between the offensive line and the quarterback, the rate at which the Bills are surrendering sacks should be alarming. Since 2001, only three teams have allowed a higher rate of sacks per pass attempt through four games: the 2005 Texans (27.0 percent), the 2002 Texans (26.5 percent) and the 2006 Raiders (19.6 percent).