SAN FRANCISCO — Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey put the spotlight squarely on himself in the wake of his team’s record-breaking failure.
“There’s obviously something I’m not doing correctly with this football team in the second half,” Gailey said. “Because we’ve been in two games in a row at halftime and have played extremely poorly and that’s as nice as you can put it.”
“I have no answer,” Gailey said. “I have no answer. I have no excuse. But I have to find the answer. That’s my job.”
If Gailey doesn’t find an answer — and quickly — it won’t be his job.
The Bills’ 45-3 loss to the 49ers on Sunday was one of the low points in the 53-year history of the franchise. Consider:
• The Bills allowed a team-record 621 total yards, including 311 rushing yards, the third most in team history.
• It was the first time in NFL history a team allowed a 300-yard passer and 300 yards rushing.
• Combined with the 580 yards allowed last week, the Bills have given up 1,201 yards in two games, the most in back-to-back games since the 1950 New York Yanks gave up 1,227.
• The Bills were outgained by 417 yards, the most in team history.
• The margin of defeat tied for the third worst in Bills’ history.
After watching his team give up 28 points and 228 rushing yards in the second half alone, Gailey was asked if he thought his team gave up.
“No, I don’t think our team gives up,” he said. “I think they hurt. I think they hurt. I think they get rattled, and that’s part of my responsibility, is to not let ’em get rattled. When things start going bad, you gotta be strong mentally. I’ve got to find a way to get our team to that point.”
Naturally, the Bills’ players rejected the notion they quit.
“I wouldn’t say we quit,” said running back Fred Jackson. “We made some mistakes. That is just about what it is, fixing mistakes.”
The Bills’ players appeared shell-shocked in the locker room afterward.
“To be honest, coming into this game I wouldn’t have imagined this in a million years,” linebacker Nick Barnett said. “The way they were running the ball on us, I’ve never been a part of two weeks like that ever.
“I’m so just drained right now. I’m emotionally drained. I don’t know where to go with it. I was fighting as hard as I could.”
“The whole defense played bad,” said cornerback Stephon Gilmore. “Everybody played bad.”
“It’s embarrassing,” said linebacker Bryan Scott. “I’m sick of it, because we are better than this. … We are sick of this. This is terrible.”
Gailey said he didn’t have time to list all of the breakdowns in the game. Here’s a partial accounting:
• Defensive end Mario Williams wasn’t close to being a difference-maker. He made two tackles, had two hits on the quarterback and forced one hurried throw.
• The rest of the supposedly strong defensive line didn’t help much, either. Mark Anderson had three tackles, no hits on the QB and over-pursued himself out of position on a 16-yard touchdown run around his side by San Francisco Wildcat quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus had two tackles. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams had three.
• Defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt stuck with mostly regular personnel — four linemen and three linebackers — against San Francisco’s two-tight end offense. But none of his scheming did a bit of good. The Niners averaged 8.2 yards a carry.
• Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hit 16 of 26 passes for just 126 yards. He could not come up with a perfect, big-play throw to start the offense on a semblance of a rally.
Fitzpatrick threw just a tad behind Donald Jones near the goal line early and the Bills had to settle for a field goal.
He overthrew an open C.J. Spiller deep down the left sideline late in the second quarter with the Bills down, 10-3.
He threw an interception for Jones near the goal line in the third quarter after the Bills had marched 60 yards. There was pressure in his face on the throw and his off-balance throw fluttered in the air.
“I’d probably just not throw at all there and try to scramble and get back up on the line of scrimmage or throw it out of bounds,” Fitzpatrick said. “Yeah, it wasn’t a wise decision.”
• Tight end Scott Chandler fumbled late in the first half after a catch over the middle. The Niners took over on the Bills’ 28 and scored on the next play to take a 17-3 lead.
“Unfortunately it was the turning point in the game,” Chandler said. “I’m definitely pointing the finger at myself. I need to go out there and protect the ball.”
• Rookie cornerback Gilmore got beat for one score and Aaron Williams got beat for two. Gilmore took a step toward the flat and let Michael Crabtree get behind him for the TD at the end of the half.
“My eyes were bad on that play,” Gilmore said.
The Bills (2-3) have lost three games by a combined 86 points. They are giving up 35.2 points a game.
“It’s not all my fault, but it starts with me,” Gailey said. “That’s my responsibility. I understand that. When you take this job, you understand it’s your responsibility.”