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'This is a great opportunity for us' | On a short week, the Bills are turning the page quickly to Thursday night

FTLR Wk. 8

After losing 29-25 to the Patriots, the Buffalo Bills are swiftly turning the page as they have a short week before facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football.

Head coach Sean McDermott spoke to the media before practice Tuesday about the challenges and benefits of a short week.

"The first 24 hours are tough going into a short week because you're short on rest but I think at the end of the day, it's how you approach it," McDermott said. "It's a mental challenge and you got to look at it like, this is a great opportunity for us and we approach it with great energy and we look forward to playing at home where we've played well this year and in front of our fans."

Josh Allen is statistically one of the best quarterbacks in the league when playing on Thursday night. The Bills quarterback is 5-0 on TNF while averaging over 252 passing yards, 2.4 touchdowns and 1 interception per game.

"The system that we have in place allows us to still have some pretty complex calls," Allen said after practice Tuesday. "We got some smart and tough guys on this offense that, you know, we feel like we can play multiple positions. So we keep it as simple as possible and just kind of run base stuff and feel like we have a pretty good plan in."

Allen said that Thursday's game could serve as a chance for the Bills to improve upon some of their shortcomings in Sunday's loss to the Patriots.

"We're very aware that we haven't played up to our standard and our potential the last couple of weeks and we're looking to fix that," Allen said. "So any opportunity that we get to play this game, you know, we're going to jump at it."

The Buccaneers red zone defense has been one of the best in the NFL this season, allowing touchdowns on just 22.2 percent of offensive red zone drives, the best rate in the league. Buffalo holds the second-highest red zone touchdown rate in the league at over 71 percent.

Against the Patriots, the Buffalo offense made it into the Patriots red zone twice, scoring two touchdowns, a field goal and one missed field goal.

"Make no mistake, it's a tough Tampa Bay defense and team coming in here on Thursday night, so we got to be ready for whatever they throw at us," Allen said.

On the defensive side, the Bills defensive line will face an offensive line that has allowed Baker Mayfield to be sacked only eight times this season, fewer than 29 other quarterbacks in the NFL.

"Their o-line is phenomenal. They're well-coached, they do a great job and they've got good personnel there. I think they're first in the league at not giving up sacks, so that'll be a big challenge for us," McDermott said.

Left tackle Tristan Wirfs is graded as Pro Football Focus' fourth-best tackle in the league, and has consistently been among the best at his position since being drafted in 2020.

"He's probably the best left tackle in the league now. I think it all starts with him," said edge rusher Von Miller on the Bucs' ability to avoid sacks. "Then there's Baker Mayfield, it's hard to tackle the guy, it really is."

Drafted first overall by the Cleveland Browns, Mayfield entered the NFL at the same time as Allen. Mayfield spent four years in Cleveland before hopping from Carolina to Los Angeles to Tampa Bay. He has eight touchdown passes and four interceptions this season.

McDermott said that he had scouted Mayfield, as the Bills were also looking for a quarterback in the 2018 Draft, trading up to select Allen at seventh overall.

"Enjoyed the time we spent with him. Obviously, he went first overall and he's had a great career in college and plays with a lot of energy and seems like a good leader," McDermott said.

Mayfield's only game against the Bills was in 2019, with the Browns edging out the Bills in a 19-16 win. Mayfield threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns in the win.

Celebrating identity

In both the Patriots game last week and the upcoming Thursday Night Football matchup, players across the league are representing their cultural origins by wearing international flag decals on their helmets. Bills defensive end Kinglsey Jonathan (Nigeria), safety Taylor Rapp (China), offensive tackle Germain Ifedi (Nigeria) and tight end Dalton Kincaid (Canada) all participated Week 7 and will once again represent their heritage.

"It means a lot to me, representing my family, where I'm from, what I believe in, the country that gave birth to me. It's a big part of my identity," Jonathan said.

Scroll to see photos from the Buffalo Bills Week 8 Practice as the team prepares to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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