INDIANAPOLIS -- Less than two weeks after being summoned back to the NFL from chasing around his three toddlers on a family vacation, Derek Anderson limped through the Buffalo Bills' locker room Sunday afternoon following a 37-5 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Anderson had just told reporters he was a "little banged up" but managed to finish a game in which he was sacked twice, threw three interceptions and lost a fumble.
Amazingly, it was only the Buffalo Bills' third-worst quarterback performance in seven games this season. Anderson's 39.8 passer rating still topped marks of 36.3 by rookie Josh Allen in a 22-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers and 0.0 by benched opening-day starter Nathan Peterman in a 47-3 blowout to the Baltimore Ravens.
Wherever the Bills (2-5) have turned at quarterback this season, misery has followed. At this point, it does not matter who they start. Their ineptitude at the position -- and a lack of consistency at other spots -- has essentially eliminated Buffalo from any sort of realistic postseason contention. ESPN's Football Power Index gave the Bills a 2.1 percent chance of making the playoffs entering Week 7, a number that will only sink further toward a microscopic level after Sunday's defeat.
Making the postseason might not have topped the list of priorities for team management, as it swallowed dead salary-cap space this season and attempted to develop a rookie quarterback, but the playoffs remained the stated goal for several veterans in the locker room, especially on defense.
The Bills' defense, which entered the game ranked third in yards allowed per game, surrendered 220 rushing yards and four Andrew Luck touchdown passes in one of its sorriest showings under defensive-minded coach Sean McDermott.
"Obviously, that's not ideal for us as a team, to lose Josh and shuffle through three quarterbacks now," linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. "But at the end of the day, we have to do our job, and we're not holding our bargain up [as a defense] consistently. So we just have to continue to move forward. The offense will continue to work at it."
Even an effort from the defense more in line with its overall performance this season likely would have gone for naught given an offense that has scored only two touchdowns over its past four games.
After road trips to Green Bay, Minneapolis, Houston and Indianapolis over the past five weeks, the Bills will arrive back home to prepare to play the New England Patriots next week.
New Era Field's first time hosting "Monday Night Football" since 2008 comes at an inopportune time, with Allen's status still in doubt because of an elbow sprain, running back LeSean McCoy in the concussion protocol and Anderson limping out of Lucas Oil Stadium.
"I don't feel [physically] great right now," Anderson said. "I'm not gonna lie to you."
The Bills pulled Anderson, 35, off his couch during Week 6 and gave him $775,000 to mentor a struggling Allen over the remainder of his rookie season.
Now, in a sign of how desperate the Bills have become at quarterback, they need to pray Anderson is healthy enough to lead one of the NFL's worst offenses of the past decade into battle on national television against Tom Brady.