"Very humbling" to reach playoffs again
The Buffalo Bills reached a franchise milestone over the weekend against the Dolphins, securing a playoff berth for the fourth consecutive season. It's just the third streak in Bills history of reaching the AFC playoffs for four-plus seasons in a row.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott is now one of two active NFL coaches to lead their teams to the playoffs in four straight seasons, alongside Chiefs HC Andy Reid.
McDermott spoke about what it means to help lead the Bills organization to that feat.
"Very humbling. Just coming here, moving my family here years ago, Terry and Kim giving me and my family an opportunity to do this for the first time," McDermott said. "Really just a product of great people, really. Great people around our organization. I'm one piece of it really."
Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has been a part of the playoff runs in the previous three seasons and — though he's appreciative of clinching another berth — he knows there's still much more the team plans on achieving this year.
"It's so hard to sit back and reflect because you go from playing that game on a Saturday to coming in on a Monday in preparation for another Saturday game," Frazier said. "We're all proud of the fact we made the playoffs again. But there's more. So I don't think any of us has sat around and thought a whole lot about that achievement, although it's quite an achievement."
Dorsey: Two game plans created due to potential weather
During the TV broadcast on Saturday, NFL Network sideline reporter Laura Omkin dropped an interesting nugget that Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey developed two separate game plans for the Dolphins game.
One game plan for minimal weather/snow impact and another for if the weather got more severe and forced the Bills to adapt. Dorsey discussed what those alterations were.
"If there was snow accumulating on the ground, certain cuts with the receivers and tight ends we didn't want to make, in fear of going down and throwing the ball to a DB or something like that," he explained.
Fortunately, Dorsey did not have to dip into the alerted game plan as the snow held off for the first three quarters. And when snow did start to come down in the fourth quarter, it wasn't strong enough to force the Bills to do anything differently.
"Even at the end there when the snow was accumulating, it wasn't enough to affect the footing," Dorsey said.
It's a strategy that isn't uncommon for weather-impacted games, and it's something the Dorsey and the Bills may adapt for this week against Chicago with freezing cold temps, strong wind gusts expected along with potential snow.
"It'll be kind of similar to this week. We'll do the same thing just so we're not putting ourselves in tough situations," he shared. "We always try and make sure we've got those contingency plans."
One advantage the Bills do have is Josh Allen's ability to battle through any weather elements and still be able to keep the offense at a high level. It was a skillset the staff relied on once again late in the game as the star QB led the Bills on two scoring drives in the fourth quarter: a 7-play, 75-yard drive for a TD plus two-point conversion followed by a 15-play, 86-yard drive for a game-winning field goal.
"Whether it's windy, rainy snow, whatever it might be. I think that's a big advantage for us to be able to do those different things that keep us balanced instead of forcing us into a one-dimensional game," Dorsey said of Allen.
Slowing down Justin Fields
Bears second-year quarterback Justin Fields is in the midst of a historic season as a rusher as he became just the third QB in NFL history to run for over 1,000 yards in a single season.
"A 1,000-yard rusher at quarterback, that doesn't happen very often," Leslie Frazier said.
Fields told local Chicago media this week that while his goal is to push for the single-season record this year (1,206 set by Lamar Jackson in 2019), the Bears QB doesn't want to make it an every-year habit going forward. That reason being he plans on further developing as a passer, something Frazier and the Bills have already started to notice.
"He's extremely dangerous," Frazier said. "And he's got a good arm as well... He's not just a one-dimensional quarterback."
But when Fields does choose to run or have designed runs called for him, he's arguably been the best in the league at it. He's 7th among all NFL players in rushing yards and he's done so in just 143 carries. The other six players (all running backs) have all eclipsed the 200-carry mark.
A dynamic player like Fields has opened up running lanes for Chicago's backfield and as a result, the Bears have the top-ranked rushing offense (186.9 yards per game) — 22 yards better per game than the next closest team.
The Bears' explosiveness on the ground could cause issues for a Bills defense that just allowed the Dolphins to run for 188 yards. Frazier likened the Bears' use of Fields and the running attack to Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
As a result, the Bills could rely on similar concepts used to slow down Baltimore in Buffalo's 23-20 Week 4 victory.
"I think you have to look back a little bit and see some of the things we did against Lamar," Frazier said. "They're similar in a lot of ways. You do reflect a little on some of the things you've done in the past."
Check out the best practice photos as the Bills prepare for Saturday's game against the Chicago Bears.