BILLS HEAD COACH SEAN MCDERMOTT
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 22, 2023
SM: Just not enough, we didn't do enough. We didn't put it in position enough. I didn't put the defense in position enough, and then just overall didn't play complementary football. When you look at the first half, two short fields led to 10 points, first play on offense, interception. Punt return, good field position, I think led to 10 points, and then too many yards on first down for their offense and not getting them into enough third down and long situations where we could affect the quarterback more. They did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage early in the game with their running game, and we tried to make some adjustments, which I think paid off. Just red zone wise as well, offensively when we're down there, you've got to get 7. We were shooting ourselves in the foot at times and got put in some third and long situations. Then, just overall, got to close the game out when it comes down to it, I've got to close the game out. So, just better overall tackling fundamentally, defensively we've got to do a better job there, and that starts with me. With that, I'll open it up to your questions.
Q: Over the last three games, you guys have a total of 10 points in the first half. Have you been able to put your finger on anything for the slow start here?
SM: I wish I could tell you. I really do. I wish I could tell you. We talk about it. We talk about being more detailed, getting into a rhythm early, playing complementary football and all three phases working together. We haven't been able to get into a good rhythm, obviously, in the first quarter. Let's just start there. So, just overall, we've got find the answers there.
Q: Sean, the offense does get you the lead there late under two minutes. Defensively, to not be able to hold them in that situation, what's the collective sort of frustration level there with them being able to get down the field in that amount of time?
SM: Yeah. I think the first play was a huge play for them, right? They throw a screen, we're in four under, three-deep defense. We didn't do enough to leverage the formation and make the tackle where we needed to make it. I think that was a 32, 34-yard gain, and all of a sudden, now you take the field and you're saying, hey, they got under two minutes there, and I think they had two timeouts at the time. So, they could run it. They could draw. They could screen early, and they did. And, we've got to be better just not allowing it to do what it did to us. 34 yards is unacceptable. So, I think part of that is leveraging the formation. They got into a four-by-one set, and making a tackle, and then after that, they got the ball wherever they had it. I think it was over midfield and still a timeout or two there. So, they could run it. They could throw it, and it makes it tough right there. But at the end of the day, we've got to do a better job.
Q: Sean, despite the struggles in all three areas today, is your confidence level in this locker room still really high that they can really correct things quickly?
SM: Yes. Yeah, it is. I'm confident in our players. I'm confident in our coaches. Again, they controlled the game today, and that's the game that they wanted to play in terms of putting us in some third-and-long situations, getting us off schedule, and then minimizing their third down exposures – particularly third and longs.
Q: Von [Miller] is three games back now. He's been held off the stats sheet in all those games. He just said in the room he's only had three padded practices. In your mind, is he where you would expect him to be right now? Or, where do you think he is?
SM: I think you've got to manage expectations, right? You're talking about a player, a human being, coming off of an ACL last Thanksgiving, somewhere thereabouts, and it's going to take some time. I think that's just being realistic about it.
Q: Do you think – you're four and three, there's still plenty of season to go here – are you maybe at a crossroads right now? It's like an inflection point at this point. Do you feel that way?
SM: Well, we've got to continue to find answers to some of the reasons why we're stubbing our toe. Whether it's the first half of the game, we're not playing complementary football. We missed a field goal, a 42-yard field goal. I mean, those are things we've got to do. And so, we're beating ourselves at times, and we're not linking up all three phases to control a game and put an offense, in this case, into a true one-dimensional situation. That's the goal of every game where you can get a little bit of a lead and then you can go into it and say, hey, now we can really rush and cover. That's somewhat of a disappointing thing in the last drive, although that screen kind of got in the way there, right, in terms of a true one-dimensional situation. But, we've got to continue to figure it out, continue to make plays when the plays are there to be made and put the players in position to be successful.
Q: You mentioned the kicking game. It started out red hot this season, has really been struggling the last two weekends. What do you think has been the source of some of those inconsistencies these past two weeks?
SM: At the end of the day, not good enough. We've missed a couple of kicks the last couple of games and a couple of returns have shown up on us this year as well. So, we've got to figure that out as well.
Q: With the slow starts, this is the second straight week you've said you wanted to get into a rhythm. What does in rhythm look like to you?
SM: I think it starts with staying on schedule, winning first down so you can stay on schedule, so you can move the chains. You look at their offense. They did that today. They won first down. They stayed on schedule. They stayed out of third and long for the most part during the day, and then when you do that, you're playing two-dimensionally on offense. That's when it gets to be hard to call a game against two-dimensional offense, when you're on schedule, winning first downs or skipping third downs or even putting us into a third down and short to medium at most. Too many off-schedule situations.
Q: Do you need to be more involved on offense? Is that even possible with how much you have to do on the defensive side?
SM: Yeah. Listen, I oversee all three phases. So, we have communication across all three phases with myself, special teams, offense and collectively, we've got to continue to find answers.
Q: Bringing in Tyrel [Dodson] for Dorian [Williams] late in the second quarter and keeping him in after the half, what went into that decision? Something you weren't seeing from Dorian?
SM: Just overall, we were giving up a few plays right there at that position and just wanted to try and calm it down a little bit.
Q: Do you think, going forward, still kind of figuring that out?
SM: Right. We've got to evaluate that, and we'll do that. I know it's a short week, but we'll do that. Still confident, extremely confident in Dorian.
Q: What did you see out of Dalton Kincaid today?
SM: I didn't get the stats. It looked like he had more targets today over the middle of the defense and man and zone, and I was excited to see that. We've got to continue to do that.
Q: You talked often about earning the right to win. What do you need to do differently, even if it's maybe during the week to get back to earning the right to win?
SM: Well, I would say big-picture wise, it starts with just getting off the field on defense on third down, and it starts with playing better complementary football, winning first down on offense. I'm going to be repeating myself, but that's how you win in this league. If you're not giving up big plays defensively, you've got to get off the field on third down. And then, offensively, we've got to be able to win first down so that we're not in off-schedule situations, whether it be second-and-long or third-and-long. And then, the kicking game has got to help us with field position. So, that's really a big-picture answer, I know, but that's really holistically how you control a game.
Q: Do you feel like your team was inspired to come out early in this game?
SM: I felt like they were ready to go. Obviously, when you start the way we did, they get a field goal, our first play from offense is an interception, that's tough to do, in particular on the road. So, we had to rebound from it.
Q: Where is your confidence level right now in Ken Dorsey and his ability to turn this thing around?
SM: Yeah, I'm confident in Ken.
Q: You've been in this league a long time. You have a lot of captains who have been in this league a long time. How much will you lean on them this week with the quick turnaround to say, hey, how can you help players get through this?
SM: Yeah, I think the biggest thing is leadership and energy this week, too, getting our energy back and ready to go at home against a good football team.
Q: Did you get a sense that Josh's [Allen] shoulder was a factor at all?
SM: No. I didn't get that sense. I know he's a little bit sore right now, but nothing in addition to what he was before going into the game.
Q: Earlier this year, when we asked about Josh's confidence, I think it was at the Jets game, you said you always keep an eye on that and where he is. Where would you say his confidence is and is that something you're concerned about at all, in the offense and the production of the offense?
SM: Yeah. We talk weekly, Josh and I do. I always feel like I'm on the pulse or his pulse in this case, and we've got a good rapport. So, those communications will continue, and to this point, I feel like he's confident.
QUARTERBACK JOSH ALLEN
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 22, 2023
Q: Josh, another slow start to the offense. Can you pinpoint anything today?
JA: Execution. I mean I started off play one – Daw [Dawson Knox] makes a good play, falls off on the bow route. I need to see him there. It's not a good way to start a game.
Q: When you say execution, Josh, you get to a point as an offense when you do execute. But it is kind of a pattern now within games where it's slow. Is it a recognition of what defenses are doing? I don't want to put words in your mouth. What is it that's preventing you from getting to where you need to be earlier in the game?
JA: Well, I wish I knew the exact answer because we'd have it fixed by now. We're going to watch this film and find a way to get there, whatever it is. Our season is not over. It's a long season. Feels pretty bleak right now, but we're going to figure it out.
Q: Are you all right? Your shoulder okay?
Q: Did it affect you at all today? You looked a little off, I thought, at times. But pain management, any of that a factor at all?
JA: No. We're good to go.
Q: You were pretty vocal this week about the offense and play calling and everything. You are fully confident in the plan that you guys take when you go in on a day like today?
JA: Yeah. Absolutely.
PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM
Jordan Poyer, S
(On how the Patriots were able to execute to score on their last drive)
"I mean, we've just got to find a way to get a stop, whether that's taking the football away, playing better situational football. That's a situation that as a defense, we like to feel like we can thrive in. Those are the types of situations that you want to be in at the end of the game, be able to close the game out for your team. Unfortunately, it wasn't that way today and good thing we've got a short week and we got to play on Thursday."
(On how he would describe the feeling in the locker room right now)
"It's a tough loss. Any time you lose in the NFL, it's tough. You put a lot of work in throughout the week to come out on top and any time you lose, especially in the division, it's tough. Like I said, we've got a short week this week and I know we'll find a way to bounce back."
(On his forced fumble)
"Just trying to find a way to get the ball back to our offense and give us a chance. We hadn't had a takeaway all game and just trying to make a play on the football. The ball presented itself, and I was able to just punch it clean."
(On Mike Gesicki being a tough guy to have a good matchup for)
"I mean it is, yeah. He's 6'4", 6'5" and he's a big target. We came after him and he just made a good throw and catch. That's the game of football."
(On why the Patriots were able to have success throwing the ball today)
"I think when you have that success on the ground, it just opens up the pass game, whether it's the play-action or the boot game. Because then you start getting guys playing downhill and then they're able to throw some routes behind the underneath defenders. So coming into each game, understanding that we've got to be able to stop the run to make a team one-dimensional, and we weren't able to do that today. They were able to run the ball and that helped with their play-action game and their boot game."
(On his message to his teammates at this point)
"This is a long season. This is a very long season. 4-3, maybe not where we wanted to be at the beginning of the year, but we've got a short week this week and the games are going to keep coming. No reason to sulk into this one and turn one loss into two. We'll hit it on the plane, watch the tape on the plane and tomorrow we're on to Tampa Bay. This is a long season and just make sure that you don't want to turn one loss into two losses, especially on a short week.
Micah Hyde, S
(On the final Patriots drive.)
"Big plays, big plays. The first-and-ten screen, we've got to rally to him and get him down. A couple of dink and dunk plays that they got. They worked their way down the field and worked the clock. It was just poor execution by us as a defense. We've got to do better."
(On the defense.)
"I felt like we gave them too much in the first two drives. I've got to look at the play-by-play to see rushing yards and all that stuff, but it's just we didn't play our brand of football today. We gave them a little too much and obviously it came down to that last drive. This is the NFL and coming down to the last two minutes of the game, you've got to execute and get off the field. We just didn't do it."
(On the trouble with defending scripted plays the last couple games.)
"The first couple of games in the season we spoke about that. The scripted plays, you're trying to get a feel for what they are doing and also defensively you're trying to get off the field and get takeaways and the first two drives we couldn't do that."
(On where the team is after the two losses and the close win)
"It's the NFL man, it's week to week. You have to go out there and play your best ball each and every week. It's a match-up league. Obviously we know the Patriots pretty well and they know us really well. We knew they were going to try and run the ball and keep our offense off the field. We just weren't able to get off the field. No panic none of that, it's a week-to-week league like I said, and the good thing is we got a Thursday night game coming up. A short week and we're able to flush that and learn from it."
Dawson Knox, TE
(On Dalton Kincaid's Production)
"Definitely a bright part of the game. He's a weapon to be used. So hopefully that will keep his confidence up. The more weapons we have on offense, the more we can spread the ball around, the more versatile we can be. The harder it is to defend every part. Definitely happy for him. Hopefully that will continue building."
(On eliminating the mistakes)
"It's a week-by-week league. Again, they got a good defense. Very well coached. They had a great plan for us. We came out with some halftime adjustments and started getting the ball moving. If we knew what the answers were, we wouldn't be in this position. We'll get the film, again it's a short week so we have to move on pretty quickly."
(On if the offense needs to recalibrate)
"We are focused on getting the corrections for this game. Then focusing on our next game on Thursday night. No one is trying to project where we are going to land, seeding for playoffs, the division. No one is doing that. So we have to focus on today and tomorrow and the next game coming up."
(On his confidence in the caliber of the team)
"Yeah. We have a standard we want to uphold. I feel like things have changed. Every team in the league is good. Again, It's a week-by-week league. We have to focus on us and our execution."
Dalton Kincaid, TE
(On his performance)
"If we don't win, it's not much to me. I don't care about stats at that point. If (the ball) comes my way I'm just doing what I can to get as many yards as possible. When the ball comes my way, I'm just doing what I can to execute."
(On if the Patriots did anything they didn't expect)
"No, not in particular. Coming in we knew they had a more exotic defense just with their personnel. We just have to watch the tape, learn from it and see where we went wrong."
(On the team starting slow)
"Watch the tape, figure out where we are going wrong and make those corrections. I think every week we want to come out with a hot start and we just weren't able to do that today."
Latavius Murray, RB
(On the game)
"It came down to us executing and we just didn't do it. We aren't playing consistent enough or starting fast enough. We turned it around toward the end but you can't just turn it on, it's a little too late. There's good things to take away from today, obviously, but we have to figure out a way to start faster. Just get back to work. That's all you can do. Get back to work, focus on Thursday and find a way to win."
Connor McGovern, OL
(On the game)
"I feel like today, all throughout the day, communication was a strong point. From Josh [Allen] giving us the calls to Mitch [Morse] identifying everything and relaying it. I felt we were very comfortable with that. Luckily we have a game Thursday so a quick turnaround. We just have to start faster. The past two games, we have to start clicking faster."
(On coming back in the fourth quarter)
"We know it's a crucial moment and we all lock in on what we have to do and take care of that. No one looks at the clock and no one gets down on themselves. I know at any point that we are still in the game and we can win at any time. At no point does anyone on this entire team think we are out of the game. We know we can score and we can score fast."
(On the Patriots defensive front)
"I think they are a strong front. They move around good and they communicate well. I think we were able to hold them for most of the day but overall they are a good front."
Mitch Morse, C
(On the changes made in the second half)
"We tried to keep our poise and not let the first half exacerbate our emotions. Just go out and execute. At times we did and at times we didn't. Doesn't take an expert to see that."
(On if the team needs to recalibrate)
"We are going to have to execute. When we do things well, things go well and when we don't, the scoreboard usually dictates that. Just wasn't up to par and it starts with me."
Taron Johnson, CB
(On the last Patriots' touchdown)
"I mean they made a good throw and catch and sometimes that's just how it goes sometimes."
(On the problems on the last drive)
"I feel like we didn't do a good job of tackling. There were some missed tackles that we had and then just the fact that, yeah, I would say that is the biggest thing. It was missed tackles, and then execution."
(On the disappointment of the loss)
"I mean it is tough, we have a short week though, so we just have to move on as fast as possible. We just need to make sure we learn from this, I know I will."
(On what is the message after this game)
"Just learn from it and move on. I say that was the biggest thing, just learning from it. We are not going to let this beat us twice, you know what I'm saying? We have to be ready to go on Thursday so just learn from it and move on."
(On the emotion from a difficult loss)
"To be honest, I feel the same way no matter who we are playing. I don't want to lose to no matter who we are playing. It is just like, it's tough, but at the same time we are resilient and we are going to bounce back."
Jordan Phillips, DT
(On the difficulty of the loss)
"We just have to execute, every game is going to come down to one possession most likely, and it is going to be whoever is going to execute at the end and we just didn't execute."
(On if there's frustration from the end of the last two games)
"I wouldn't say that, we're not going to freak out. We're a great team, and just need to clean some stuff up. We need to stick with our process. Our process is working and just need to execute on both sides of the ball and on special teams. Just all around play better."
(On what is the message after this game)
"We just have to – even though what our record is, what is our record now, 4 and 3. Even though we are 4 and 3, like everybody, we are going to get their best shots whatever that is. Because we are a team that everyone wants to beat, and we need to stop playing down to different people. We have to do our thing and play Buffalo Bills football and we haven't done that the last couple of weeks even though we won last week."