Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott often holds back from calling out players specifically, but one insider believes he is subtly laying blame for the late-game meltdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Bills took the lead twice in the final two minutes against the Chiefs — the second time with just 13 seconds remaining — but Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs back both times, tying the game and ultimately winning in overtime. There has been plenty of blame to go around, starting with the defense that allowed Mahomes to race his team down the field for the final field goal, but McDermott has remained largely quiet on the ending.
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McDermott Addresses Heartbreaking Ending
The Bills have faced criticism for the strategy they employed both on special teams starting with the kickoff after Allen’s last touchdown and on defense for the final two plays. Many have suggested that the Bills should have kicked short of the endzone to force a time-consuming return and then should have played a tighter defense to prevent Mahomes from marching the Chiefs into field goal range.
McDermott was asked about their gameplans, but he chose not to lay any specific blame.
“I’m still going to get into specifics on that. It comes down to execution. We didn’t execute,” McDermott said, via NBC Sports’ ProFootball Talk.
There may have been more to the answer than McDermott intended. As Matt Bove of WKBW in Buffalo noted, the Bills coach may have been pointing to his kicker, Tyler Bass, for putting the kickoff in the endzone where the Chiefs were able to get a touchback and advance the ball to the 25-yard line without taking any time off the clock.
“Reading between the lines here but McDermott doubling down on the execution line makes me believe he didn’t want a touchback but also doesn’t want to specifically call anyone out on the play. That’s my read on the situation,” Bove tweeted.
McDermott Sore Over Loss
While he was typically tight-lipped over blame for the final sequence that allowed the Chiefs to tie the game, McDermott was more open about his feelings about the loss. Speaking to Alaina Getzenberg of ESPN, McDermott admitted that the heartbreaking ending has been haunting him since Sunday.
“I watched it on video, and I watched it over and over in my head a million times, in my stomach a million more,” McDermott said. “It’s my livelihood, and I’m super competitive as well. I want the best for our football team and this organization and our fans, quite honestly. So I’ll continue to watch it in my mind and in my gut for years … but when we get to where we’re trying to get to, I believe that’ll make it that much more enjoyable in that moment.”
McDermott and the Bills will have the chance to avenge at least some of the loss, as they will be facing the Chiefs again in the regular season next year. But it will be a different Bills squad, with offensive coordinator Brian Daboll a heavy favorite to land a head coaching job and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier a candidate as well.