BILLS HEAD COACH SEAN MCDERMOTT
Postgame Press Conference
Monday, December 28, 2020
Q: I know it's just another one in the win column for you guys or at least that's how you're playing it, 1-0 every week. The aggressiveness that you guys showed in the first half, with the fourth down, not just the fake, but you had another fourth down conversion that you just said, Hey, go, and then there was another drive that finished with a touchdown with Lee Smith, that you went for it on fourth down as well. I know every situation is different, but it just seems to be a pattern now where you don't hesitate, you have that much faith in your offense. Does that speak to the maturation this offense has made to give you that level of confidence?
SM: Yeah, trust is big in terms of having that confidence to go for it in those situations and the guys have executed at a high level and that starts during the week with the plan and in the practice and the way they practice.
Q: Just the maturation of Josh. I asked you this a hundred different ways, but like the 50-yard touchdown to Stefon, he waits to let Gabe kind of clear out on the deep route and pull the safety with him and nobody behind Stefon. Stefon called it quarterback stuff. How do you witness that kind of maturation out of Josh being only a third year guy?
SM: Yeah, great to see. I mean, he continues to take steps in his development, which is awesome. I mentioned before, as you've heard, he's hungry to grow and when your top player or your top players embrace that growth mindset and lead by example, I think it goes a long way in our locker room.
Q: I know you take each one of these singularly, but I also know you understand the appreciation of this rivalry and what the Patriots have been for the past two decades. So what does this win and this one moment mean to you and what do you think it means for this franchise?
SM: Well, it feels great. It's hard enough to win in the NFL regardless of who you're playing and this is an organization, being the Patriots, that have given the Bills fits over the years and so to win both games this year against the Patriots and then to win the way we did tonight, I think it just speaks volumes about our players and the coaches and again the team that Brandon has put on the field.
Q: Stefon and Josh, once again, they seemed to be really rolling on all cylinders. I don't want to say compared to what you expected at the beginning of the season, but do you ever take a back seat from your position and say, this is incredible, what they are able to do, especially this early on in their connection together?
SM: Yeah, they're both on the same page and that goes back to during the week. Again, what they do with getting on the same page with communication and the necessary communication that needs to unfold and there's new plays every week so they have got to do their part studying and getting on the same page with that as well. So really impressed by the two of them and overall impressed by our offense tonight.
Q: I was wondering, how much does the underdog mentality, like, the chip on your shoulder mentality motivate this team, especially during this pass four-game stretch?
SM: Yeah, I think if you're wired the right way it motivates anyone. It should. That is how I lived my life and I think a lot of the guys in our locker room have lived their life to this point and they have been counted out before and they just continue to prove people wrong, I guess.
Q: And that's kind of, it feels like the culture of that locker room that you guys have put together, that it's guys on their second chances, guys who can say, I've been fired, I've been cut, I've been X, Y, Z. But how does that, how do you think the transition looks like, what does the transition look like now that -- I mean, you're not often going to be seen as underdogs anymore, now that that target's on your back instead of kind of like the chip on your shoulder?
SM: Yeah, and you can, you're spot on with that. You can ride that underdog deal for some amount of time, but when you become good, I guess is the best way to say it, at some point you got to also know how to be good and I think that comes over time and I think what you're seeing is a maturation and professionalism and leadership of our players.
Q: I know you have the utmost respect for Coach Belichick and you guys seemed to have a long hug/handshake there at the end of the game. I'm not going to ask you what he said to you, but just what did this game kind of mean when I know you have so much respect for him and what he's accomplished?
SM: Yeah, I mean, listen, I've been on the other side of it before. And so he was very complimentary, and I certainly appreciate that. And as you mentioned, a lot of respect for what he's been able to do. So I just think it says a lot about the way we're doing things as an organization, not just on the field what people see, but off the field. It's not just the team I'm talking about. It's the extended team, the way we do things, in ticketing, community relations, the business side of our operation and organization, so I just think it's a standard across the board, not just on the field.
Q: Pretty cool moment for you to be out there at mid field tonight?
SM: Yeah, pretty cool. He's a legend in terms of what he's been able to do and I certainly appreciate that and I'm humbled by it.
Q: How do you set the tone in practice to know when to rest guys, when to push guys, if you feel they're not underachieving, that you may need to push them in practice? How do you walk that fine line of getting these guys ready to play, because your defense, the defensive unit seemed to be tackling -- each week they're getting better and better with their tackling skills.
SM: Well, I think that you try and coach everyone up to their potential. So if they're not playing up to their potential, then they will hear about it. So that's the only way that we as a staff know to do things, is to tell them the truth and when it's really good we'll praise them and when it's not they will know and they will know how to improve it more than anything.
Q: In the adjustments, you're really good at making adjustments. It looked like New England came out running the ball. They were successful for a little bit and then obviously some adjustments took place on the sideline and you guys were able to stop their running attack.
SM: Yes, sir. I thought Leslie and the defensive staff did a good job and the players executed those adjustments at halftime.
Q: You guys now have the second most points scored in a season in franchise history and to go from 19.6 points per game last season to now above 30 point per game, I mean, as a coach you probably hope something like that is going to happen if your goal in the off-season is to increase your points total. But what is it like just seeing that that's paid off, seeing that the Diggs trade has paid off and the draft picks the last couple years has paid off to be able to say, we have done what we wanted to do this off-season?
SM: Yeah, I give Brandon a lot of credit, his staff. Our personnel department does a great job of building our roster. And then just philosophically what we have been able to get on the same page with in terms of wanting to score points, building it with the personnel, and then schematically doing things that give us a chance to as well. So I thought Brian Daboll and the offensive staff did a phenomenal job again tonight. The players executed. And so I think you're seeing the results of a lot of, it sounds maybe small and a copout, but I think you're seeing the results of a lot of good communication, honestly, from the end of last season to where we are now.
Q: I know you're in the zone coaching during the game but watching how many players touched the ball tonight and a trick play in the first quarter, do you catch yourself at a split second just smiling at the way that this offense is playing and just how fun it is to watch this team?
SM: Yeah, it is fun. I mean, when you're watching these, these are grown men having fun, like I mentioned before, just showing a lot of love for one another, playing hard for one another, supporting one another after bad plays so they can reset, and there's a lot of good energy in our group. That's not by accident. It's because of the DNA of the guys that we have.
Q: How important was it for you guys to come out there and just be aggressive at all costs tonight?
SM: Yeah, I mean, we, it was important for us. We hadn't played in seven-plus days, eight-plus days, whatever it's been, which is unusual for us, it seems like, over the last four weeks on these short weeks that we have had. So I was a little bit concerned about how we would come out. I thought the guys did a really good job of, we gave them Christmas off and then we had the COVID situation come up yesterday before we left and I thought they really handled it well.
Q: You got Siran making plays all over the place. You've got Dawson Knox making clutch catches. You got a great schedule, a tough one by the way. Was this the statement game that you was looking for?
SM: Good try. Good try. I appreciate the effort, man.
Q: Now with the win you guys are looked are locked into either the No. 2 or the No. 3 seed. Just wondering how important is the No. 2 seed to you as a franchise with the potential of maybe even getting some rest to your guys?
SM: Yeah, it's a good question and I think I know where you're going with it -- and fair. No, I'm not ready to answer it yet because I got to talk with Brandon and we'll put our collective heads together and do the right thing by our team. Every team's different and these are all, obviously, tougher decisions. And there's no, no one has a crystal ball here, so I just want to do right by our football team and that's what we'll do.
Q: I'm wondering, back in 2004 the Red Sox beat the Yankees kind of exorcised the demons for the region up here. Does tonight's win kind of do the same for you guys?
SM: I appreciate where you're coming from on that, but no, it's one win and we have a lot of respect for the team up here and the coaches.
Q: But as a quick follow-up, I mean does this, is this an official passing of the torch from New England to Buffalo?
SM: Good try. I appreciate that. You guys are great. Yeah, no, it's, we, we played a good game tonight, certainly things we can improve on and just happy to get the win.
QUARTERBACK JOSH ALLEN
Postgame Press Conference
Monday, December 28, 2020
Q: I asked Stefon Diggs where he feels the connection between the two of you is because each week it appears from the outside that it's just growing and growing and growing. Where is it at this point as we reach the tail end of your first regular season together?
JA: Yeah, I think the results kind of speak for themselves. The way that we were able to kind of ad lib some plays and trust him to go get open and him to trust in me of getting the ball there. Now obviously there's things that we can fix and get better on and there's a few plays that we missed today that I wish I had back. So we'll get in the film room and we'll watch it and fix it.
Q: Micah Hyde called him a bad man, Stefon Diggs. As his quarterback, are there moments or how often are there moments where you see that he's just at a different level than other guys?
JA: Well, that last touchdown catch from the back end of the end zone, not many guys can make that, the way that you have to torque your body and how low you have to get and the trust level to get back and for me to put that in the spot where I feel like he can get it. Still, like, it was amazing to watch. Once it left my hand just the way that he was able to go get that ball it's special.
Q: Stef took us into some of the conversations you guys have out there sometimes and how you'll just sometimes turn to him and say, 'Go catch the ball.' How much has that, just the in-game communication, evolved and improved, like, with each game over the course of the season?
JA: Well, I think some guys in the league at quarterback kind of demand their receivers or expect their receivers to be at a certain depth in any given route. It needs to be at that depth. I'm a big believer in just I don't care how you get separation, get separation, whether you want to stop at six yards or nine yards or whatever the case may be, get open, catch the ball, I'll adjust and if I need to throw the ball a little harder I'll throw the ball a little harder. But again, it's just that communication that we have and it's really with all the receivers. It's not to the T. It's, as receivers, it's giving you leeway to go get open. Sometimes it can hurt you, but understanding that our guys can see things that not many people can. You got the Stef and Cole Beasley who just see things so well, and then John, he sees things so well. Guys that can just kind of ad lib, like I said, and find spots and find windows and it's just my job to get it to them.
Q: It seemed like everything you were doing tonight was working. Was that the best you ever saw the field and attacked windows against this defense that you obviously have so much respect for?
JA: Yeah, it's an extremely well-coached team. And I know this game. It, if they didn't want to admit it, it meant a lot to both sides and there's a lot of pride on the line. For us we're trying to get a 2 seed and we put ourself in a position where we can go get that in week 17 and we know that we got a hungry Miami team coming to us and they're playing to get into the playoffs and we got to be ready for everything that they can throw at us.
Q: On the individual accomplishments and the team accomplishments after tonight, you've only been here for three years. I've been here for 20 and I've never covered a team that's swept the New England Patriots. Can you take yourself out of the bigger picture and just in the moment of what this team has accomplished as a group in breaking a whole bunch of streaks and slumps and what have you and then going into Foxboro and beating a team that has won so many Super Bowls and whatever, what this moment must feel like or what, where this puts this team right now at this one snapshot of a moment?
JA: I mean, not to sound cliché and like a broken record, but it's No. 12. We got one game left and all that is cool, the records, this and that, but playing to get to 13-3 and give ourselves a chance in the playoffs. It doesn't mean much if we can't get it done and we got our mind set on bigger things and first things first is week 17 against the Dolphins in Buffalo.
Q: Just with respect to the consistency you guys had tonight in finishing drives with points, I mean, not counting the one play kneel down at the end of the first half, six of your first seven drives, points on the board. What got the momentum rolling so good so early and then what kept it going, because it looked like you guys just put your foot on the gas and then it just rolled from there. You guys looked like a boulder going down hill.
JA: Yeah, I mean, Dade's called a great game. Our guys executed and got open, caught the ball, blocked up front. Our front five did a great job. There's still things that we need to fix and, sustaining in the run game and getting that going, but I think our guys ran hard tonight. Again, it's just guys making plays, so that's really what it comes down to. Guys were receptive and open to all the checks that were at the line of scrimmage and doing the right things and just a good team.
Q: On the touchdown to Diggs where he made the sliding catch before you rolled out to your left there, are you just extending that play to try to make something happen there, because that's kind of off script, right?
JA: Maybe. I don't know. Can't give away all our secrets.
Q: Stefon said that you guys, that he feels like this offense is still scratching the surface. I guess that may sound crazy to some of us. Where can this offense go if this is just scratching the surface?
JA: I mean, I don't like to get into all that. I just think that we got a really good squad. We've got talented players that work extremely hard and do the right thing. When it comes down to nut-cutting time during the games, we just got guys that consistently get open, make plays, block well, run the ball hard. We did a good job of protecting the ball tonight. And still, on myself, I got a couple, a little loose on a couple of the plays, so I got to clean some of that stuff up. But as far as third downs, we could have been better today and I think we cleaned that up with the fourth down efficiency that we had. But kind of skipping some of those and giving ourselves some better opportunities there.
But yeah, I mean, there's still things that we can grow on and work on and that's the fun part about it, that we played some good football tonight but nowhere near perfect and nowhere near where we want to be.
Q: It seems like this year every cutaway of you is you're smiling, whether you're on the field, whether it's a first down run or a third down completion. Is this the most fun you've ever had playing football in your life?
JA: I mean it's always fun for me. Through the good times, the bad times, I just picture myself as a little kid playing this game and it's something that I've always loved to do and I get to do it for a living and play for the greatest organization in football. We got things going the right direction right now and we got to find ways to keep working on it and find ways to keep winning football games.
Q: How important was it for you to come to Foxborough and dictate the terms?
JA: Well, it was important because we know what's at stake. We want to get a 2 seed and give ourselves an opportunity to have a couple home games at least in the playoffs. But again it starts with final season, our final week 17 game against the Dolphins and going from there taking it one game at a time. And this was No. 12 for us and that was our goal before the game and when we won last week that was our goal right after the game, like our goal's going to be to get to 13 when we wake up tomorrow. So we got to find a way to put our best foot forward and get a good game plan. We're a day late on them and we got to find a way to go out there and win.
Q: What did you say to Stefon Diggs after that 50-yard score and care to talk about Dawson Knox's performance today?
JA: Yeah, just super pumped. That's not typically a play that gets extended that long. It was kind that have first window that was kind of closed up and I was looking at Gabe deep and he trusted me and just kept running his route and I was able to put it on him and he did the rest of the work. So again, that's, in my opinion, the best receiver in the game and just the way that he attacks each and every day and the juice that he has and how he gets on everybody in such a positive way, it's awesome. Dawson, just consistently making plays. On that fourth down getting hit a little early and still coming down with it, he's a guy that's extremely athletic, down the seam he's a big body that can take some hits. And he's getting better and when he puts it all together it's going to be scary, because he's one of those guys that just, he's a matchup nightmare.
ADDITIONAL BILLS PLAYERS
Dion Dawkins, T
(On the play of Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs)
"Honestly, it just shows in their character, Diggs comes in and Josh embraces him and they hit off with chemistry like I have never seen. They are doing it day in and day out, and they are always working on it and working on their friendship. They work on their interactions with each other and it is showing on the field. Obviously, Josh Allen is getting a lot of MVP nods and maybe Stefon Diggs should get some of that love as well. While I am extremely biased, I would love to see Josh Allen get that MVP spot but it just shows that we are not the same Buffalo Bills, when you can talk about two people who could potentially be in that race. It just shows what a great job our organization has done getting the right guys here."
(On being on this winning team)
"It is a blessing. It just shows for the guys that were brought here four years ago to start this off with coach [Sean] McDermott that we were brought here for a bigger cause and it just seems that the red carpet is being rolled out, but still we haven't done anything yet. This isn't the playoffs yet and we still have to do what we are doing now in the playoffs and that is where it counts just as much as the regular season."
(On playing the Patriots)
"The Patriots play us hard every single year, whether they had an up or down season. When they play us, we get their best of the best and they play hard. We just knew they do a good job at doing what they do and that's playing hard. We just came out here knowing it was going to be a physical game and we hit it head-to-head and nose-to-nose"
Jerry Hughes, DE
(On if they feel like the "big kids on the block" after a win like this)
"I think we still have a lot more work to do before we become the big kids but we're definitely no little brother, no little cousin. We're going to come out swinging out of the gate, that's just Buffalo Bills football. We find a way to put our backs against the wall, we have that mentality. Once that kickoff happens, you're getting us, you're getting dogs, you're getting controlled aggression. We're coming at you."
(On the defense allowing a season-low nine points without forcing a turnover)
"I think it's just the back-seven did a great job keeping the receivers in front of them and not letting them gain any yards after the catch. That's big when you're playing this team because you know they're going to run the ball so we had to come out there and hammer that home and we did that up front. For us to play collectively great as a defense, it shows on the scoreboard when you make it tough for people to score, and you're putting three-and-outs, getting the offense the ball. That's something we talk about that we wanted to do. We wanted to watch Josh [Allen] and those guys go to work this game. We tried to get the turnovers but sometimes they come and sometimes they don't. We're just working hard."
(On what it was like to be able to sit and watch the offense work)
"It felt different. I haven't had that feeling while I've been here in Buffalo, so it felt great. Just watching the well-oiled machine, the offense. Josh [Allen] making magic happen, rolling out to his opposite side, throwing the ball to [Stefon] Diggs in the back of the end zone. It was fun, we got to watch some really good football by our offense. For us as a defense, we're talking scheme, we're talking ways that we can just keep forcing three-and-outs and just keep watching great football, you know?"
(On how fun it is to be on this team)
"Oh, it's a lot of fun. I mean, I've played a lot of football here in my 11 years, this is probably the most fun I've had. Just watching how our offense plays, watching how our defense flies around. Whenever we get on the field, it's not, 'Oh, woe is me.' We go out there with the intent that we're going to get the ball, cause a turnover or force them into three. I like how well everyone's playing and we're gelling together. Even though we haven't had a lot of time to hang out outside of work, it's great to see everyone putting in that extra work in the building throughout the weekdays and come out here and play like this."
Micah Hyde, S
(On the play of Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs)
"I got a front row seat. I got a free ticket to watch them play and it is impressive. It is like they are playing Madden out there. They are jelling together and it is awesome to see. I have been fortunate to have been on some pretty good teams with some very talented players. I don't want you to think I am comparing Josh [Allen] to Aaron Rodgers, I am not saying that, obviously they are both very talented players. Josh has a long way to go to get to what Aaron has been able to accomplish in this league but watching the 'Arod' [Aaron Rodgers] and 'Jordy' [Jordy Nelson] days and just watching them jell together and how they found each other, that is what it looks like out there and it is very impressive to see."
(On beating the Patriots)
"It is a big win and a big win for the organization and sweeping them in the season. We knew it was going to be a tough battle coming in. Obviously, we took a couple of their punches in the first quarter and in the first half and we were able to sustain our offense very well. We knew coming in that this is still a Bill Belichick-coached football team and it doesn't matter what their record is and it doesn't matter, they will come out fighting. To get the win, this is my first win here and there is a lot of guys in the locker room that it is their first win. It is a big win for our organization."
(On the defensive play)
"I think we have played well the second half. The first half we gave up some big runs and some big plays that is not us. We had to get corrected. Me personally, I felt I could have done better, just talking to everyone towards the end of the game. Everybody thought we could have done better. Obviously only giving up nine points is very good but we left some plays out there."
Quinton Jefferson, DL
(On the Bills playing their best football of the season)
"That is what you need to be doing. Earlier, we had some rough games. We had a lot of new pieces, a lot of new guys, and we were just really figuring out how to play well together. Right now, I feel like we are peaking at the right time. In November and December, that is when you want to play your best ball and I feel like that is what we really have going on. Everyone is just playing unselfish and playing off each other. It is great."
(On the Bills getting to the level they want to be at as the playoffs come up)
"Even today, I do not think we even got a turnover on defense. We have to be out there consistently getting turnovers and giving the ball to our offense. Especially seeing them [Bills offense], they are pretty much unstoppable right now. I feel that that will take the next step, consistently getting those turnovers. Two or three turnovers a week, and even score. Why can't we score? Our offense scores, we can score too. I feel like that would really take us to the next level."
Mitch Morse, C
(On sweeping the season series with the Patriots)
"I think for us it is just taking it one game at a time. Understanding that division games are extremely important no matter who we are playing. When you come into Foxborough and play Bill Belichick's team, you know it is going to be a tough battle. There is still a lot of room to work. We have a short turnaround here before we play an extremely talented, red-hot Miami Dolphins team."
(On if the Bills can enjoy this victory in the moment)
"Yeah, I think when you are executing and scoring points, it is hard to do in this league. It is extremely gratifying to see our hard work put to the test and come out with points. It is so hard to score in this league. Our defense put us in some great situations, I think they played red hot today. They really gave us some advantages in field position. It was a total team win. Yeah, we can enjoy it for now but we understand what we have coming up here soon."
Zack Moss, RB
(On coming into this game knowing a statement could be made)
"We definitely wanted to come out and set the tone from the first play, let them know that we were going to come in here and continue to play hard no matter what is going on playoff-wise. Try to come out here and finish. This is the first time we have swept the Patriots in a very long time. We definitely wanted to make sure we came out here ready and focused to play this game."
(On the Bills outscoring opponents 75-31 in the second half of their past four games)
"I guess everyone just understands the sense of urgency coming out in the second half. You have got to close off games. You have to be one of those teams. The good teams can finish games and dominate the second half. We are trying to do that each and every week. I feel like we have been doing that and this is the right time to be doing that, going into the playoffs. Hopefully we can continue to keep doing that and be a balanced team."
Jordan Poyer, S
(On the significance of this win)
"I mean look, this team has been on the top of the AFC for 25 years. The last time the Bills swept the Patriots was 1999. I've never won in Foxborough, I know a lot of the guys here have never won in Foxborough. So just coming out here with the right mindset, understanding the circumstances and we came to play today. Obviously, started off a little slow on defense but figured it out and we settled down and we made some plays and made some plays happen. We just continue to get better. I wouldn't say it was a statement win or anything like that, but at the same time just continue to get better and understanding our goals and how they're trying to attack us. I thought we did a good job today."
(On how the offense played)
"Man, you can't say enough about how our offense is playing right now. Lot of confidence, playmakers all over the field and it's fun to watch. I'm glad I don't have to prepare against our offense anytime during the season. Josh [Allen] is playing at an extremely high level and we're riding behind him."
(On what this moment feels like)
"It's just another check off the list of getting what we worked all week for and that's a victory. I wouldn't say that this win is bigger than any other win that we've had, it's just the next one. We're continuing to get better and obviously there's some things that we could work on on defense and continue to get better at in order to continue the momentum."