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Following the game, Bills players and coaches echoed a similar sentiment to one we heard last year when the team’s season ended in the Wild Card round against the Texans. That this loss and the pain the accompanies it, will only fuel them going forward.
“It’s not fun falling one game short of the Super Bowl,” Bills QB Josh Allen said via Zoom after the game. “It’s gonna fuel us. I’ve got no doubt in my mind that we will be back. This is a team that fought hard till the end. A team that loves each other. We’re still young and we’re only gonna get better. We’re close.”
It wasn’t a feeling used by young kids on the block, either. Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes, the longest-tenured player on the team, also spoke to using the loss as a means to propel this team in the offseason.
“This is a tough one to swallow, just because, you know, we got to where… we were so close,” Hughes said. “Climbing that mountain and to be so close and then to get knocked down sucks, but we got a great group of guys in the locker room and I know we’re gonna have a tremendous offseason where guys are gonna feel this feeling and know what it takes to get back here… We’re gonna remember this feeling in the offseason and it’ll be something that carries us through.”
Bills head coach Sean McDermott, who had some questionable decisions throughout the loss, spoke to what a moment like this can mean for a franchise moving forward.
“Give credit where credits due,” McDermott said via video conference. “They played a really good game… this is a learning experience for us. That’s how you have to look at it. We had a great season and came up a little bit short tonight and that’s a great football team on the other side. It stings to get this far… sometimes the further you go, the harder it is to lose. Again, it’s a learning experience for us as an organization and we’ve obviously got to get back to work.”
When asked specifically what the Bills can take away from this loss to improve going forward, McDermott spoke to his own experience having lost in the postseason back in Carolina and Philadelphia.
“Certainly wanted to win, but what you take from this as an organization of how you handle the week, how you handle the potential division of the next step, the speed and intensity of this game, in particular on somebody else’s field, home field… so all that, just having been here before myself, we as an organization, players, staff, coaches, all of us collectively, can learn a lot from this… At the end of the day, this is our measuring stick.”
While there are certainly no consolation wins on this stage, this Bills team should be awfully proud of what they accomplished. Ending many postseason droughts, shattering records and being one step away from the Super Bowl is nothing to hang your head about.
Couple that with the fact they did this all in a year when fans, perhaps more than ever, needed a distraction given all that is going on in the world.
Losses, especially of this magnitude are never easy to swallow, but if last year’s playoff exit is any indication of what Josh Allen and this Bills team are capable of doing in the face of defeat… the NFL better lookout for the 2021 Buffalo Bills. They’ll be back.
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