"It's sickening," running back Fred Jackson said, referring to how the Bills failed to play up to expectations. "As players, we had the highest hopes out of everybody. And for us to fall short of that, we don't like it at all. It's depressing."
Ultimately, it was the Bills' porous defense that doomed Gailey.
The Bills allowed 400-plus points in each of the past three seasons, including 435 this year — the second-most in team history. Though Williams' presence improved the pass rush, Buffalo became the NFL's eighth team, and first since the 1986 Jets, to allow 45 points four times in one season.
Fitzpatrick's status is uncertain in part because he's due a $3 million bonus in March. He went 16-29 since taking the starting job three games into the 2010 season.
Fitzpatrick declined to speculate on his future. After speaking to reporters, Fitzpatrick hugged Johnson, and the two left with the receiver's arm over the quarterback's shoulder.
Reading from notes he jotted on a Bills pad, Gailey's eyes welled with tears when he credited Bills fans for their loyalty, and Buffalo for being a passionate football city.
"I think that the next staff will have a great opportunity for success, and make this another great football franchise," Gailey said. "This will probably be, and I say probably, but I think it will be the first place that's ever fired me that I'll pull for."
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