The Buffalo Bills‘ 31-23 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, November 20 was not pretty, but it was a win nonetheless. Quarterback Josh Allen had an incredibly rough start, missing six of his first 10 passes, throwing for just 27 yards, and not once targeting his No. 1 wide receiver, Stefon Diggs, despite him getting wide open.
During the second quarter, with the Bills down 10-6, a visibly frustrated Diggs had an intimate sideline chat with head coach Sean McDermott, and a video of their emotionl discussion quickly went viral on Twitter.
While several fans believed Diggs was complaining and acting like a diva, his body language told a very different story. A Cover 1 host tweeted, “Look at how Stefon Diggs drops his shoulders & puts his head into Sean McDermott’s shoulder. X’s & O’s matter. Game management matters. And so does being able to connect with your players & truly lead them.”
Their chat proved to be productive as Allen then led an 11-play, 78-yard drive and found Diggs for a 5-yard touchdown before halftime, which turned out to be the only passing score of the game. While the usually explosive quarterback put on an underwhelming performance in the second half, he played clean, smart football and threw zero interceptions. Allen finished against the Browns throwing for 18-of-27 for 197 yards, with Diggs catching four of his five targets for 48 yards.
While those are Diggs’lowest numbers of the season, it was enough to become the first player in Bills’ history to surpass 1,000 yards in just 10 games. Diggs enters Week 12 with 1,033 yards.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott addressed the media on Monday, November 21, and spoke out about his discussion with Diggs. While he didn’t reveal exactly what was said, McDermott described it as a much-needed pep talk for the two-time Pro Bowler.
“Stef is one of our leaders, so I just wanted to offer some encouragement and settle everyone down,” McDermott said, per WGR 550‘s Sal Capaccio, which mirrored what Diggs said about their sideline chat after the game.
“He always has the right words to say,” Diggs said after the game. “My head coach does a great job of keeping everybody level-headed and everybody in the right space to go out there and execute.”
Bills Mafia loved seeing the two interact amid such pressure. One fan tweeted, “That moment really was my favorite from the game yesterday. This team is truly a family. I love it.”
Allen Admitted After the Game, ‘We Don’t Feel Like We Played Well’
The Bills snapped their two-game losing streaks after defeating the Browns and now sit in second place in the AFC East, but the team is a far cry from what they looked like throughout the first six games of the season.
“I feel like we hurt ourselves a lot tonight. In terms of penalties and just kind of little mistakes. So, a lot to clean up. In the film we have right now, we still don’t feel like we played very well but it goes to show you, playing smart football, we scored 31 points but didn’t play up to our standards, Allen said during the postgame press conference.
Allen, who’s usually the team’s leading rusher, stayed in the pocket against the Browns, only rushing three times for seven yards. Instead, running back Devin Singletary rushed 18 times for 86 yards and a touchdown while rookie James Cook recorded 11 carries for 86 yards.
Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey has been heavily criticized for continuously putting the team’s offense squarely on Allen’s shoulders, so it was a nice development to see the team utilizing their backs. Hopefully, in Week 12, Nyheim Hines, who finished the game with five returns for 113 yards, will also start getting some looks on ofense.
The Bills Return to Detroit to Play Lions in Primetime on Thanksgiving
While most people assumed the Bills would remain in Detroit, as there are only four days between their Browns victory and their matchup against the Lions on Thanksgiving, that was not the plan. The team flew back to Buffalo on Sunday night and will return to take on the Lions on Thursday, November 24. The Bills are considered 10-point favorites to win.