Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Nathaniel Hackett: Bills moved ball at will, 'just couldn't finish'

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett met with reporters after Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs to explain what happened on the pivotal 100-yard interception for a touchdown in the third quarter.

The Bills had a first down on the Chiefs' 1-yard line. Fred Jackson ran for no gain twice, and then Jeff Tuel threw an interception right to cornerback Sean Smith.

How frustrating is it?

Nathaniel Hackett: "You get a plan together, and you do everything you want. You move the ball at whim all the way up and down the field, and we just couldn't finish.

"That's the story of the whole thing. We got down there way faster than even we thought we might. We had our opportunities and just missed them."

What was supposed to happen?

NH: "It was a combination of a couple of things. They show a lot of all-out pressure when they bring everybody. So when you want to run the ball, it sucks. If you want to throw the ball, you've got to get it out quick. Somebody's going to take a shot at you.

"So we wanted to combine two things in one, and Jeff saw the all-out, which they were doing. He went to throw the ball to his first read, and the guy just stopped and just stood there. Jeff let it go from what I could tell. He had a couple of other guys, but I think he was so into 'Got to get it out. Got to get it out.'

"He just threw it, and I think he might have thrown it a little bit blind. In that situation, there were a lot of bodies down there. That's one I have to look at on tape and see if he could have done something else with it. I think we had Stevie [Johnson] and some other guys up there. But with all those guys up there, we had to have a plan for that."

Tuel said his pass was intended for T.J. Graham.

NH: "I think that's the one he was going to."

It was a run-pass call?

NH: "Yes. Yes."

On the fourth-and-2 deep ball in the third quarter, it seemed like a situation to just get the first down, rather than take a shot there. Is it a good idea with a quarterback of his inexperience, making that throw?

NH: "That's a great question. It's a great thing. I actually took it all off him. I made it so he was throwing to one guy and one guy only. We were throwing a bunch of slants, and were getting beat up a little bit. We weren't getting calls.

"They were all up on him. So I thought the best chance we had was to run by him in that situation and they brought everybody. I mean, they brought the house. He could have gotten a quick out to, I think, Fred [Jackson] and they peeled on him right away. So he was able to hang in there and go to No. 2, but in that situation, the way they were playing our guys, even the slant on the backside got beat up, and they were pressing hard.

"When you're not getting calls, you have to get them off you by throwing the ball down the field."

How difficult is it, dealing with the inexperience you have to deal with at quarterback?

NH: "It's always a challenge, because you always want to protect him, but you can't just do one thing. We came in wanting to run the ball, and we did that. We still had to take some chances up top. We were good on a couple and not good on a couple.

"I think whenever you have a young guy -- and that's what we've had this whole time, the inexperience, even when EJ [Manuel] first went out there on a bum knee against the Patriots -- you've got to find a way to win.

"We've had to do whatever we can to make them comfortable back there and still make plays. It's frustrating. It's hard because you want to develop a guy. You want a guy to come in there and get better every week. We haven't had that option yet. We've had a couple practices with limited reps.

"I give Jeff credit for what he did. That's the first game he's had a practice before he went in. He went into the Cleveland game with no practice; the Washington game he had no practice. This is the first week where we saw him with a full week of practice and see what he can do."

Do you wonder if you put too much on him on the fourth-down play?

NH: "No, I think it was one of those things when we threw it to T.J., I took [the pressure] off him. I said 'Hey, just hang back there and throw a good ball. You're going to have so many people coming at you.' I didn't want him to have to think too much. So I didn't have him think. I just wanted him to drop back and throw a good ball in that situation. And he almost had it, too!"

If someone had told you before the game you'd have 470 yards against the Chiefs, you probably would have taken that.

NH: "I mean, just like I said. We came up with a game plan and they executed it great until we got down tight. [The Chiefs] did a great job when it got down tight. They would show all out, back up ... There's two thoughts: get big and get small. We did both, and both didn't work. So we've got to go back to the drawing board, go to work and see what we can get done."


Fred Jackson | Jeff Tuel | Nathaniel Hackett | Stevie Johnson | T.J. Graham
comments powered by Disqus

About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |