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'Get through it and march on' | Bills aim to use loss as motivation after the bye week

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Mario Addison and Derrick Henry postgame from Buffalo Bills vs Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium, October 18, 2021. Photo by Ben Green

A loss going into the bye week is never ideal, but this resilient Bills team has shown that they can use the loss as motivation on the other side as the season progresses.

The players and coaches will have that bad taste in their mouth from this game for an extra week. It will also give them more time to work on some of the areas the team struggled in Monday night before their next matchup at home against Miami on Halloween. 

Sean McDermott said after the game that he was so proud of the fight that he saw from his guys, but he knows they didn't execute well enough at times to get the victory on the road. 

"Now we've got a week to sit on this one and learn from it and come back stronger," McDermott stated. "So that's the goal every week, and that'll be the goal next week."

Re-watching the film after a game like this isn't easy for the team, but it's necessary. The players understand that it's going to be tough, and they will be very critical of themselves for not playing up to the standard they know they can. On Monday night, the Bills offense went 7-13 (54%) on third down and the offensive line allowed 3.0 sacks. Center Mitch Morse knows that the team will be pros about it heading into the bye week.

"I think it's a double-edged sword," Morse said. … "We get extra time to work on what we need to work on. At the same time, that bad taste is going to be our mouth a little bit longer than we'd like. … But we'll get through it and march on. This team is resilient."

Scroll to see the best photos from Buffalo's game against Tennessee on Monday Night Football.

Three hundred and thirty eight days ago, the Bills lost in dramatic fashion in Arizona just ahead of their Week 11 bye. They came out after the bye and won their next eight games. (incl. two postseason games) This season, the Bills have proven that they can put away teams when firing on all cylinders. The loss will cause the team the be laser-focused on the mistakes made Monday night and make sure they get correct down the stretch – just like last season. 

"I think it's very similar feelings, the way we lost both games," Josh Allen explained. "Typically, you don't carry anything over from year-to-year, but we do have that type of experience going back to last year. Coming out of the bye week really hungry, really ready, and we got to go and do that again."

Even though Allen couldn't pick up one yard on fourth down, his teammates and coach McDermott would give him the ball in that situation 10 times out of 10. They have full confidence in the 25-year-old quarterback, and he finished the game 35 of 47 for 353 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The team finished the game with a 40 percent red zone touchdown efficiency which is one of the lowest of the season. Allen discussed his thoughts on the offensive struggles after the game.

"We're just not executing how we should," Allen said. "Shooting ourselves in the foot a couple of times with penalties. I gotta be better for us in the red zone so it's no secret, 2-of-5 against a team like this, it's not gonna win you a football game. If we go 3-of-5 we win that game."

Moving forward, the Bills will have a bye this week followed by two home and two away games before Thanksgiving. While the team didn't win the game, Buffalo showed it could move the ball, outgaining the Titans with 417 total net yards compared to 362. The Bills will take the good and the bad and grow from it and McDermott believes this experience will help in the long term. 

"I'm always going to believe in my players and our football team, and my coaches," McDermott said. "We'll learn from this and try to move forward and get better because of this. That's what you do. It's a season of ups and downs, so it's the team that stays together the longest that's going to give itself the best chance at the end."

Jordan Poyer and the defense have full faith teammates and coaches

Right before the end of the first quarter, Jordan Poyer snagged his second interception of the season and 15th as a member of the Bills. Poyer still regrets not being able to do more. After the game, he took the blame for Derrick Henry's 76-yard touchdown run. He said that he's got to make that play. Poyer is confident in himself and his teammates that they will come back stronger from this loss.

"We trust our team, we trust our coaches, we trust 17. I'm with coach 10 out of 10 times and he wants to go for that," Poyer said. "We win as a team, and we lose as a team. At the end of the day, coach made that call, and we were all riding with him. We just came up with a little short."

McDermott knows the areas that need to be fixed heading into the bye week

This Bills team is 4-2, which is the same record they had after six weeks last season. The Bills coaching staff will take this extra week to find out their weak spots and strengthen them. After the game, McDermott explained some of the areas this team needs to improve in heading into the bye.

"It was an intense football game back and forth like we expected," McDermott said. "But the red zone, the turnover, the difference of points right there, that's potentially a different game. But I'm not gonna play the woulda, shoulda, coulda. We got to learn from that and get better. And then we've got to fix some things on defense as well, and the penalties overall, we can't kill ourselves with penalties like that."

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