1. Sean McDermott's message to Bills' locker room: 'what doesn't kill you should only make you stronger.'
Emotions were raw in the Bills locker room right after the 42-36 loss to the Chiefs. The Bills were just a few plays short of pulling out the victory and advancing in the playoffs.
With the talent on the Bills' roster, this isn't how they wanted their season to end. After the loss, this was McDermott's message to the team.
"I just said, hey, great effort and I'm proud of all of them," McDermott shared. "These guys came through a lot. They really did and to come out here and have the game come down to pretty much 13 seconds, I think they all feel the same way I do. We're all sick to our stomach and it hurts.
"We work really hard to get here, number one, and I know the fans are disappointed, and I wish I could take that off of them. I wish I could take it off of the team, but we can't, and you know what doesn't kill you should only make you stronger. I think this should make a stronger. It's going to take some time, but it should make us stronger."
2. Josh Allen has a lot of respect for Patrick Mahomes as a quarterback
After the Chiefs had won in overtime, instead of celebrating with his teammates, the first thing Patrick Mahomes did was run to find Josh Allen. These two quarterbacks will be seeing each other for a long time in what might have just become the NFL's newest rivalry.
Allen explained what that gesture by Mahomes meant to him as a competitor, and his thoughts on the field as he soaked it all in.
"Yeah, it was tough to be in that moment," Allen said. "Again, have a lot of respect for Pat. He throws a winning touchdown, and he comes straight over and finds me. To be in that situation and to do that, that was pretty cool of him to do that.
"Obviously, it sucks the way it happened. We wanted to win that game. We had our opportunities. Taking it all in and holding onto that feeling and making sure that we don't feel like this again. Like I said, back-to-back years in the same spot, it's tough to take in but it was part of the game, it's part of the learning process. Again, we've got to use this and figure out how we can be better and how we can accomplish what we want to accomplish."
3. How this Bills' team will grow from the latest defeat
In the Sean McDermott era, this Bills' team has been through a lot of adversity and has learned a lot about themselves along the way. Sunday night was just another example of a learning experience that this team can get better from.
We will see how this team bounces back from having that bad taste stay with them for back-to-back offseasons and what they will learn from it all.
"I think everything that happens in life is a lesson," Jordan Poyer said. "And you either grow from it or you die from it. We got a lot of resilient guys on this football team. A lot of guys have been in the league a long time and some who haven't.
"At the end of the day, we don't come out on top today. And we've got to all learn from it and you got to use that. I know we said that last year, use it going into the offseason. I don't want to say it again this year. But it's something you're going to have to feed off in the offseason and continue to learn from. This one's going to hurt for a little while."
4. Gabriel Davis: 'It's hard to be able to celebrate that when something like that happens'
Gabriel Davis just had his best game as a pro with eight receptions for 201 yards and four touchdowns (all single-game career highs). He also set an NFL record for the most receiving touchdowns in a postseason game with four. But when that comes in a loss like this one, Davis had mixed emotions.
"It's hard to be able to celebrate that when something like that happens," Davis said. "At the end of the day, this is a team game, you want your team to keep going, to keep playing to win the Super Bowl, and move forward. We were looking forward to having the AFC Championship at home too. We didn't get that job done today and it's upsetting."
5. Josh Allen is immensely proud of this Bills team
It's hard to win in the NFL and especially in the playoffs. The Bills on Sunday were 4-4 on fourth down and 3-3 in the red zone but just came up short against the Chiefs.
With all the team endured throughout another unprecedented season, Allen is proud of how his guys battled through it all.
"It takes everybody, takes all 53 or 55 guys on the roster," Allen said. "It takes everybody on our team, from our practice squad to the people in the organization in the building, to our cafeteria, and the people upstairs. And again, I'm proud of how we handled this season, from top-down.
"Working with all the COVID rules early on, and not letting that be used as a distraction. And I'm super proud of our organization for, again, bringing guys that we've brought in. But again, you win some, you lose some, at end of the day, you can't win them all. And we'll learn from this one."
6. No finger-pointing for the Bills
This Bills' team is a band of brothers. They love playing for each other and even when things get tough, nobody's turning on one another. The defense needed to step up with 13 seconds left in regulation, but Mitch Morse wasn't going to put all the blame on them.
"The defense should be proud," Morse said. "We love those guys. So, I'm not here to point anything. To be honest, I find that a little bit … you can't put this on one person or one unit.
"So, for us, we should have put more points on the board. We had a three and out to open up the third quarter after they ran the ball, ran the clock and we only had four plays in the third quarter, I believe. Maybe if we had that opportunity to give our defense a break, it could have been a different game. So, like you said, we're not in the nature of name, or finger-pointing unless it's intrinsically."
7. Chiefs took away Stefon Diggs
The Chiefs did a good job of taking away the Bills' number one weapon, Stefon Diggs. On Sunday, he was limited to three receptions on six targets for seven yards. Even though he didn't have a great performance, his presence allowed for other receivers to get open and make plays.
Sean McDermott commented on his limited opportunities against the Chiefs.
"He's obviously one of our best players and we've got to make sure we're getting him the ball," McDermott said. "But at the end of the day, we scored to take the lead with 13 seconds left so there's a lot we can talk about, but we put ourselves in a position to win the game."
8. Bills' players are devastated that this is the last game played with 2021 team
The Bills knew they had a special group this year, that's a big reason why this loss was so crushing. Even though the core group of guys will return in 2022, it won't be the exact same crew. A few players and coaches will go to other teams and the Bills will bring in some new players.
One thing is certain, the players on this team have so much love and respect for one another.
"I wish you guys could have been in that fourth down, I think it was the first fourth down conversion with a minute and change," Morse said. "It was just a lot of love. Guys saying, they loved each other, 'let's execute, let's do this for each other.' It was Josh at the helm. So, it's a really tight-knit group. A lot of love. The unfortunate thing is we're not going to take the field as a unit, the same unit, and I think that's what's most heartbreaking.
"You're walking off the field and you realize you don't have the roster each and every year, coaches included," Micah Hyde stated. "A lot of us have been together for five years. That might not be the case. It's beyond football. We're really like brothers. … We celebrated, we cried together and we laughed together throughout the years. And once something like that happens, it's a hard way to go out. It's tough."
9. Allen on not getting to touch the ball in overtime
The outcome of the game could have been a lot different if the coin toss in overtime had gone the Bills way. Allen didn't get to touch the ball in overtime, but he understands he can't get too mad at that.
"The rules are what they are," Allen said. "And I can't complain about that. Because if it was the other way around, we'd be celebrating too. So, it is what it is at this point. And we just didn't make enough plays tonight."
10. Kansas City continues to stand in the way of Buffalo's goals
The Bills are 1-3 against the Chiefs in the last two seasons (regular and postseason). The two teams will meet again at least once in 2022 and Buffalo will need to find a way to stop Kansas City.
With Mahomes not going anywhere any time soon, it will be the offseason mission for the team to come up with a plan to slow down this Chiefs team.
"It's the reality of our situation and we've got to continue to work to beat him," McDermott said. "Give him the credit. He made a couple of plays down the stretch and he had a great game as was mentioned earlier. That's what great players do, they make big plays in big moments of big games and he made big plays. But again, I'm proud of the way the guys fought. They battled, so we've got to continue to adjust and work on becoming a better team and then our execution as well."