The Buffalo Bills put together one of the best seasons in franchise history this year as they racked up 15 wins and punched their ticket to the AFC Championship for the first time since 1994.
It all came to an abrupt end on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs when they lost 38-24. But, in terms of what the Bills have been able to accomplish since head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane took over, this is just the end of the beginning.
With a young core of players that includes cornerback Tre’Davious White, wide receiver Stefon Diggs, left tackle Dion Dawkins and of course an MVP-caliber quarterback in Josh Allen, the Bills are confident this won’t be the last time they reach the AFC Championship. They are confident that their loss on Sunday will only help in the long run.
“We didn’t play good enough to win and it’s going to fuel us,” Allen said during his post-game video conference call on Sunday. “I’ve got no doubt in my mind that we’ll be back. This is a team that fought hard to the end, a team that loves each other. We’re still young and we’re only going to get better. We’re close.”
For the past 25 years, the Bills had been bottom-dwellers of the AFC, only peaking their head into contention every once in a while to prove that they were still around.
But, this year’s team had a different feel to it. They performed on big time stages, they had the highest-scoring offense in the AFC during the regular season, and before behind manhandled by the Chiefs on Sunday, their defense was starting to come together.
Taking on the defending Super Bowl champions for an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl was a measuring stick for the Bills. Now, they know where they stand and what they need to do to improve moving forward.
“To get to where we want to be, that’s the team that we are going to have to go over, we’re going to have to find a way to beat them,” White said during a video conference call. “The pieces that they have, how dynamic their offense is, how good their defense is, that’s the team that if we want to get to where we want to go, that’s the team we have to beat. That’s the standard there.”
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Bills Are Still Proud of What They Were Able to Accomplish
The Bills aren’t satisfied with losing to the Chiefs in the way they did.
As McDermott put it after the game, “sometimes the further you make it, the harder it is to lose,” but that doesn’t take away from what they were able to accomplish this season and according to White, the Bills locker room knows that they’ll be just fine.
“What we did is an amazing thing and it’s something to be proud of,” White said during a video conference call with media on Monday. “It’s a building block and we’re going to get better. We’re a young team so the future is bright for us. If we continue to work hard and believe in ourselves and continue to stick to the growth mindset that coach McDermott always preaches and we stick to the culture that we have here, then we’ll be good for quite some time.”
White, who signed a 4-year, $70 million contract extension this offseason, will be one of the cornerstones for the Bills franchise for the next few years and he recorded 77 tackles between the regular and postseason. He also recorded 14 pass deflections and three interceptions in a season where he almost decided to opt-out.
The Bills Have Come a Long Way
In Rex Ryan’s final year at the helm of the Bills, they recorded an overall record of 7-9 and four of those wins came during a winning-streak in their first six games of the season. Ever since then, McDermott and Beane have completely re-built the roster. Defensive end Jerry Hughes is the only player that was on Buffalo’s original roster from 2016.
But, White, who was McDermott’s first draft choice in the 2017 draft after the Bills traded their No. 10 overall pick to Kansas City for the No. 27 overall pick and a handful of others, has been around since the beginning.
He was there for Buffalo breaking the 17-year playoff drought during his rookie season and he was there for the next season when the Bills went 6-10 with Allen at the helm as a rookie. He’s been in Buffalo for the highs and the lows of the past four years and he’s glad he was able to help them take that next step.
“To see where this organization has come from 2017, to where it is now, is nothing short of amazing,” White said during his video conference call. “I was glad I was able to help Buffalo do that.”
Now, after their first AFC Championship appearance since 1994, along with the progress they’ve made the past four years, there’s only one way the Bills can go.
“We took a step last season, and we took another step this year so there’s only one more place to go,” Beasley said during his video conference call on Monday. “So that’s the goal.”
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