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Consulting With The Coaches

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Bills head coach Sean McDermott says team's goals are 'still within our reach' going into the bye week


Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott took questions from the media Monday evening as the Bills head into their bye week and have five games remaining in the regular season.

McDermott spoke about the late game situations in Philadelphia, what improvements he's seen from the offense and injury updates for Week 14, among other topics.

Here's what stood out from the press conference:

"Find a way to close it out"

The Bills hold the league's fourth-best point differential in the league but still find themselves on the outside looking in on the playoff race. One of those reasons is because the Bills have let a fourth quarter lead slip away on four different occasions this season, including Sunday in Philadelphia.

"No one's more frustrated than I am. I can promise you that," McDermott said. "We're working hard at figuring it out. We've played well, I would say, defensively in the majority of our games this year, and we get into these one-score situations down the end of the game and we got to find a way to close it out. And there's a lot of things that go into that in trying to close a game out, right? So those are the things that we're studying moving forward."

He also pointed out that the hope going forward is that the offense can continue to have strong showings like they did against the Eagles.

"And then offensively, we've got to not be in those one-score games. We've got to pull ahead or play better earlier in the game," he explained. "But again it's what we're trying to do to get solved and move forward as a football team."

Following Sunday's OT defeat, McDermott said that "hindsight is 20/20" when discussing Buffalo's timeout usage at the end of regulation. After having more time on Monday to analyze the way the game played out, the HC offered insight on why the team kneeled out the clock to end regulation.

He referenced last year's Thanksgiving game in Detroit, saying that situation and the one in Philadelphia are different.

"I think with yesterday's decision of with 20 seconds left and only one time out, we had a similar situation in Detroit last season, three timeouts, and 22-23 seconds. And with those timeouts and also a static dome environment where I felt like it was good for throwing the football. Last night was a different situation with the rain and only one timeout," he said.

Having only one timeout, combined with the Eagles' strong pass rush led McDermott to believe the Bills had a better chance to win in overtime. Looking back on that decision, McDermott shared that he was still fully confident in the offense at that moment.

"Believe me, I'm rolling that back a million times in my mind and hopefully we're in that situation again. But full confidence in the offense. Just felt like at that point in time with the rain the way it was, their pass rush being as good as they are, I felt like it was the best thing for us," he said.

"Still within our reach"

The team met Monday before going on their bye week and McDermott shared that his message to the players was that their goals for the season are still within reach. At 6-6, the Bills are still in the thick of the playoff race, even though they aren't one of the top 7 seeds at the moment.

"We know we'd rather have a better record than what we have," he said. "But we are who we are and the encouraging thing is all the goals that we set for ourselves are still within our reach."

The bye is a chance to reset and recover for a challenging stretch run. The Bills are 6-0 in the McDermott era off their bye week.

"Get away, get a break, you know, it's a later bye than all of us are used to and kind of get away from football a little bit, take care of yourself so when you come back you're ready to roll and you know, obviously we have some adjustments we need to make," he shared.

One of the positives he took away from the Eagles game was that the offense scored over 30 points for the second week in a row. 

"I just think we're moving the ball better than we were before and a little bit more consistently than we were before," he said. "I think the defensive takeaways have helped, but that's when you talk about playing team ball and I think that's important."

Injury updates on two defensive players

CB Dane Jackson (concussion) and S Taylor Rapp (neck) missed Sunday's game with injuries. McDermott shared that Jackson is still in concussion protocol going into the bye week and Rapp is still working through his neck injury, so their status for Week 14 at Kansas City won't be clearer until the team returns to practice next week.

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