|2014 Buffalo Bills season|
|Head coach||Doug Marrone|
|General manager||Doug Whaley|
|Owner||Mary Wilson (weeks 1-5)|
Terrence Pegula (week 6-present)
|Home field||Ralph Wilson Stadium|
Ford Field (week 12)
|Division place||2nd AFC East|
|Playoff finish||did not qualify|
|Pro Bowlers||Marcell Dareus, DT|
Kyle Williams, DT
Mario Williams, DE
The 2014 Buffalo Bills season was the franchise's 45th season in the National Football League, 55th season of competition, second under head coach Doug Marrone and the first in franchise history without Ralph Wilson as owner. The Bills defense continued its strong play from last season, finishing first in the league with 54 quarterback sacks. Overall, the Bills improved on their 6-10 record from 2013, finishing with a 9-7 record, their first winning season since 2004, but missed the playoffs regardless.
Ralph Wilson, the founding owner of the Buffalo Bills, died at the age of 95 on March 25, 2014. In his will, Wilson placed the team into a trust governed by his wife, niece and two team officials, who were separately given instructions to sell the team in short order, not only to the highest bidder, but with a precondition that the team be kept in Buffalo. Three bidders stepped forward with bids: stalking horse bidder Donald Trump, the family of Buffalo Sabres owner and natural gas baron Terrence Pegula and a consortium led by musician Jon Bon Jovi and the principals of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the last of whom raised serious concerns that the team would relocate to Toronto at the first opportunity. The Pegula family was named as the winning bidder on September 9 and closed on its purchase of the team on October 8.
On March 5, 2014, three weeks before Wilson's death, the Bills announced the postponement of the Bills Toronto Series for one year. Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon will evaluate the series in the future, possibly to permanently cancel games in Toronto. On December 3, 2014, after six years and a 1-5 record (their only win coming in a 23-0 shutout victory against the Washington Redskins), the Bills Toronto Series was permanently cancelled.
The Bills won their first two games, a 23-20 overtime road win at Chicago (their first-ever victory at Soldier Field) and an emotionally raucous 29-10 home win against division rival Miami, a game played just days after the announcement that the Pegulas would purchase the team and keep it in Buffalo. But Buffalo lost their next two, a 22-10 loss at home against San Diego and a 23-17 loss on the road at Houston, after which Marrone benched quarterback EJ Manuel (their first round pick the previous year) in favor of journeyman Kyle Orton. In his first start as a Bill against Detroit at Ford Field, Orton threw for 308 yards as Buffalo came back from a 14-0 halftime deficit to defeat Detroit 17-14 in then-defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's first return to Detroit since being fired in the offseason, following an eventual game-winning 58-yard field goal by kicker Dan Carpenter.
Buffalo would lose its next game, a 37-22 loss at home against New England before coming back from a 16-10 deficit against Minnesota to win 17-16 after Orton threw for 283 yards, two touchdowns, the second of which to rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins and connecting with tight end Scott Chandler for 18 yards to convert a 3rd-and-12 and 24 yards to convert a 4th-and-20, respectively (Orton also had an interception and a lost fumble, one of three for the Bills offense). Unfortunately for Buffalo, running backs C. J. Spiller and Fred Jackson were both injured in the first half. With running back Bryce Brown, who the Bills traded their conditional fourth-rounder that can become a third-round selection (that they had acquired in the trade that sent Stevie Johnson to San Francisco) to Philadelphia, inactive for the game and no time to find anyone to help carry the ball, running back Anthony Dixon, who the Bills signed as a free agent from San Francisco was left to carry the ball himself, with fullback Frank Summers assisting.
On November 30, the Bills beat the Cleveland Browns giving them their seventh win, which not only improved on the previous season, in which they finished 6-10 for the third time since 2003 (they finished 6-10 in 2009 and 2011, the latter of which after they started 5-2), but it also gives them their best start entering December since the 2000 Buffalo Bills season, in which they finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs. With a win against the Green Bay Packers on December 14, the Bills broke a league-leading streak of nine consecutive losing seasons dating back to 2005; however, the next week's 26-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders eliminated them from playoff contention for the 15th consecutive year, continuing a league-leading drought. The team finished with a 17-9 win against the New England Patriots, who were resting the starters in preparation for a playoff run; the win was the first time the team had won at Gillette Stadium (they had lost all 12 previous attempts) and established the team's first winning season since 2004 (former head coach Mike Mularkey's first season).
|S||Jairus Byrd||New Orleans Saints||Signed 6 years/$56 million|
|DE||Alex Carrington||St. Louis Rams||Signed 1 year/$1.5 million|
|S||Jim Leonhard||Cleveland Browns||Signed 1 year/$855,000|
|LB||Arthur Moats||Pittsburgh Steelers||Signed 1 year/$795,000|
|Position||Player||2013 Team||Date signed||Notes and references|
|MLB||Brandon Spikes||New England Patriots||March 18||Signed 1 year/$3.25 million|
|RB||Anthony Dixon||San Francisco 49ers||March 15||Signed 3 years/$3.5 million|
|OG||Chris Williams||St. Louis Rams||March 12||Signed 4 years/$13.4 million|
|CB||Corey Graham||Baltimore Ravens||March 12||Signed 4 years/$16.3 million|
|LB||Keith Rivers||New York Giants||March 12||Signed 2 years/$4.05 million|
|CB||Aaron Williams||Buffalo Bills||March 5||Signed 4 years/$26.01 million extension|
|K||Dan Carpenter||Buffalo Bills||March 11||Signed 4 years/$9.95 million extension|
|TE||Scott Chandler||Buffalo Bills||March 13||Signed 2 years/$4.75 million extension|
|RB||Fred Jackson||Buffalo Bills||July 30||Signed 1 year/$2.6 million extension|
|1||4||Sammy Watkins||Wide receiver||Clemson|
|2||44||Cyrus Kouandjio||Offensive tackle||Alabama|
|6||None -- see draft trades below|
|7||221||Randell Johnson||Linebacker||Florida Atlantic|
|237||Seantrel Henderson||Offensive tackle||Miami|
On February 27, 2014, the NFL announced that, to celebrate the induction of wide receiver Andre Reed, the Bills would play the New York Giants in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, which took place on August 3, 2014 and aired on NBC. The remainder of the Bills' preseason opponents were announced on April 9, 2014.
|HOF||August 3||vs. New York Giants||L 13-17||0-1||Fawcett Stadium||Recap|
|1||August 8||at Carolina Panthers||W 20-18||1-1||Bank of America Stadium||Recap|
|2||August 16||at Pittsburgh Steelers||L 16-19||1-2||Heinz Field||Recap|
|3||August 23||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||L 14-27||1-3||Ralph Wilson Stadium||Recap|
|4||August 28||Detroit Lions||L 0-23||1-4||Ralph Wilson Stadium||Recap|
|1||September 7||at Chicago Bears||W 23-20 (OT)||1-0||Soldier Field||Recap|
|2||September 14||Miami Dolphins||W 29-10||2-0||Ralph Wilson Stadium||Recap|
|3||September 21||San Diego Chargers||L 10-22||2-1||Ralph Wilson Stadium||Recap|
|4||September 28||at Houston Texans||L 17-23||2-2||NRG Stadium||Recap|
|5||October 5||at Detroit Lions||W 17-14||3-2||Ford Field||Recap|
|6||October 12||New England Patriots||L 22-37||3-3||Ralph Wilson Stadium||Recap|
|7||October 19||Minnesota Vikings||W 17-16||4-3||Ralph Wilson Stadium||Recap|
|8||October 26||at New York Jets||W 43-23||5-3||MetLife Stadium||Recap|
|10||November 9||Kansas City Chiefs||L 13-17||5-4||Ralph Wilson Stadium||Recap|
|11||November 13||at Miami Dolphins||L 9-22||5-5||Sun Life Stadium||Recap|
|12||November 24[A]||New York Jets||W 38-3||6-5||Ford Field||Recap|
|13||November 30||Cleveland Browns||W 26-10||7-5||Ralph Wilson Stadium||Recap|
|14||December 7||at Denver Broncos||L 17-24||7-6||Sports Authority Field at Mile High||Recap|
|15||December 14||Green Bay Packers||W 21-13||8-6||Ralph Wilson Stadium||Recap|
|16||December 21||at Oakland Raiders||L 24-26||8-7||O.co Coliseum||Recap|
|17||December 28||at New England Patriots||W 17-9||9-7||Gillette Stadium||Recap|
This was the 1st time the Bills have had a winning record this late in the season since 2008
The Bills were the only AFC East team to defeat all of their NFC North opponents. The Bills also improved their record to 6-0 against the Packers at home.
This loss eliminated Buffalo from playoff contention.
This was the first time Buffalo won in New England since November 5th 2000.
|(1)New England Patriots||12||4||0||.750||4-2||9-3||468||313||L1|
|New York Jets||4||12||0||.250||1-5||4-8||283||401||W1|
|1[a]||New England Patriots||East||12||4||0||.750||4-2||9-3||0.514||0.487||L1|
|Did not qualify for the playoffs|
|8[c]||Kansas City Chiefs||West||9||7||0||.563||3-3||7-5||0.512||0.500||W1|
|9[c]||San Diego Chargers||West||9||7||0||.563||2-4||6-6||0.512||0.403||L1|
|13||New York Jets||East||4||12||0||.250||1-5||4-8||0.543||0.375||W1|
After a touchdown by Denver Broncos' running back CJ Anderson during the December 7 game, two officials acknowledged the call through the use of a fist bump. The move was seen by many Bills fans and players, including defensive back Aaron Williams, as an insensitive gesture, with some likening the gesture to a conspiracy. However, the NFL responded saying the gesture was "an acknowledgment of good mechanics between the two officials involved in making the call."