They shrugged off the questions about having to beat the Patriots to take over the AFC East and they avoided diving into the importance of what a win against a team that had tormented them for so long would mean. They didn’t want to get bogged down by the emotions of the game because they knew they needed to have a clear head when they took the field.
But, after the dust had settled, the rain had stopped, and Justin Zimmer had forced a Cam Newton fumble with 31 seconds left in the game to usher in a 24-21 victory, the Bills couldn’t help but share their excitement.
Not only for the team but for the city of Buffalo.
“It gets me emotional, it really does,” McDermott said during his post game interview. “We tried to go through it one day at a time, process, process, process, but we know, we know what this game means to our fan base. This is really special and we wish they (the fan base) could’ve been in the building to experience it. It would’ve been crazy I’m sure and I hope everyone at home enjoyed it.”
It was obviously more than just another win. The Bills hadn’t beaten the Patriots at home since Sept. 25, 2011 and they hadn’t beaten the Patriots at all since Oct. 2, 2016. In fact, Sunday’s win over the Patriots was Sean McDermott’s first since joining the Bills in 2017. He’d gone 0-6 in their first six meetings.
“A lot of work has gone into this and these wins every week, they don’t come easy and that’s a good football team coached by one of the best ever, if not the best ever,” McDermott said. “It was a battle, it was a street fight and we knew it was going to be that way. Our guys just played and they kept playing. I’m just thankful to everyone who has contributed to this.”
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Finally Got One
Since McDermott joined the Bills with Brandon Beane as the general manager, the Patriots have had their number and it hasn’t been close.
The Patriots had scored 23 or more points in five of their last six matchups and they scored an average of 24.8 points per game. The Bills on the other hand only scored 10.6 points per game and their 17 point outburst in their second matchup last season was their highest point total against the Patriots since their second matchup in 2016.
But heading into Sunday, the feeling around the game was completely different. Although they didn’t say it, the Bills seemed confident and focused like they have all season long.
Questions were swirling around the New England Patriots after Cam Newton’s recent play and the flurry of injuries they’d suffered.
Despite the extra noise and the history between the two teams, the Bills buckled down for the win.
‘Man, That Was Fun’
Although the 2020 Patriots are different than years past – they don’t have Tom Brady and they were missing their top receiver in Julian Edelman and their top corner in Stephon Gilmore – a win over the Patriots is an important one and the Bills got the job done in order to move to 6-2 on the season.
“Man, that was fun,” defensive end Jerry Hughes said in his post game press conference. “It was a fun game today and it was fun to go out there and play Buffalo Bills football. Four quarters of smash-mouth football and go out there and do what we did. We understand how important division games are.”
It was a close one though as the Patriots held slight advantages in possession time (30:46 – 29:14) and total yardage (349-339). But when it mattered most the Bills made plays and players stepped up.
Rookie running back Zack Moss scored two touchdowns and ran for 81 yards to go along with Devin Singletary’s 86 yards. Josh Allen managed the windy elements and threw for 154 yards and ran for a touchdown and although the Patriots marched on them at times throughout the day, the Bills defense made key plays when they needed to in order to secure the win.
“You work hard and you try to be consistent through the weeks and that’s important,” McDermott said. “This is an emotional win for our entire city and a lot has gone into this to get us to where we are and there’s still a lot of football left to be played and there are still a lot of things we need to get better at.”