Skip to main content

Adversity plays a role in the Bills' growth as they prepare to face a familiar foe

Stefon Diggs (14) postgame. Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs, AFC Championship Game, January 24, 2021 at Arrowhead Stadium.
  Photo by Bill Wippert
Stefon Diggs (14) postgame. Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs, AFC Championship Game, January 24, 2021 at Arrowhead Stadium. Photo by Bill Wippert

When the Bills play the Chiefs at Arrowhead on Sunday, it will be one day short of a year since the team lost to them in the 2020 AFC Championship game. That tough loss, while it hurt at the moment, helped the Bills realize where they needed to improve to beat the Chiefs and work towards the goal of winning a Super Bowl. 

Bills' defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has a phrase on the board in his office that states 'if it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you.' It's something that he lives by, and it holds true for the Bills as they prepare for their toughest test of the season.

"When things are smooth and easy, you can get a little complacent at times," Frazier said. "Then you don't always grow when you don't get challenged. I think it's important to be challenged in life. I think it's not a bad thing to have some adversity every now and then or experience difficult times because it forces growth if you handle it the right way."

The Bills roster has the third-most playoff experience on it (202 games) behind only the Buccaneers (242) and the Chiefs (250). In the 2017 and 2019 playoffs, the team experienced the pain of going one and done in the postseason. In 2020, the team learned what winning playoff games felt like and also being so close to the Super Bowl but just falling short. 

This team has the scars of past defeats, but it means that they are battle-tested. They took what they could from the 2020 playoff loss to the Chiefs and went on to beat them on the road in Week 5. That 38-20 win was one of the high points of the regular season for the Bills, with Josh Allen posting his highest quarterback rating of 2021. 

But now it's the playoffs – a whole new season. It's not about stats but all about going 1-0 each week. Sunday's game will be the fourth matchup between the Bills and Chiefs in 15 months. The Bills will have to take what they've learned from their previous matchups if they want to get past the Chiefs and win their first road playoff game since 1992.

"Well with this team, it's like a division game, right?" Daboll said. "This is the second time we'll play them, last year we played them twice. You play your teams in your division and you have a certain familiarity with whether it's play-style or personnel. But you go back, you watch them, and I think it was the fifth week or sixth week, whatever it was. In the beginning part of the season, there's a lot of games from then until now. You spend time evaluating and watching. In this venue, again, it's a competitive game against a really good team. A great atmosphere and a big game, so we're going to need our best."

The Bills will have played them four times in two seasons, but before that, they played the Chiefs just four times from 2013-2017. It shows the growth of this Bills team in a short amount of time and how they have become one of the top teams in the AFC. The Bills will be challenged on Sunday at Arrowhead, but they have the tools to rise to the occasion and continue their playoff run. 

"I just think we got to get back to basics," McDermott shared. "We've got to get back to our focus here and have a good week of preparation. Consistency will be big, and that's really where you got to hit the reset button start all over again. That's what playoff football is all about."

A Fitzmagic sighting in Buffalo

Former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was seen in the stands at the Bills Wild Card game on Saturday. He seemed to be enjoying himself among the fans watching the 47-17 blowout win against the Patriots. 

Fitzpatrick himself knows a few things about beating the Patriots as he is only one of six quarterbacks (D. Flutie, D. Bledsoe, K. Orton, T. Taylor, J. Allen) to lead the Bills to a win over New England in the Belichick era. 

McDermott was happy to see Fitzpatrick back in Orchard Park.

"I did see a picture, and from what I know of Fitz, it's fitting," McDermott said. "And I really appreciate his support, and from what I understand some of his family was with him as well. I think that's just awesome, for a guy that's been here and come back, support the organization like that, and be a part of the environment, I think that's pretty cool."

Fans packed Highmark Stadium for the first time in 26 years during a Bills playoff game. Check out the best photos of Bills Mafia, Legends and more from tonight's historic win.

Bills' injury update

Against the Patriots, pass rusher Mario Addison suffered a shoulder injury. On Monday, Sean McDermott gave some insight on his status for this week. 

"Mario is day to day at this point to see where that leads us through the week," McDermott said. 

Efe Obada is another player that has popped up on the injury report the past few weeks with an ankle injury. Obada has been inactive for the past two games, but Leslie Frazier is hoping to get him back for this important matchup in Kansas City.

"He's kind of day-to-day right now, Frazier said. "So, we'll see how he progresses as the week goes on. Would be great to get him back, but we'll see. Hopefully he'll make it back."