'It was special' | How the Bills offense rallied around Brian Daboll vs. Washington

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Brian Daboll and Stefon Diggs (14) Buffalo Bills vs Washington Football Team at Highmark Stadium, September 26, 2021. Photo by Bill Wippert

Brian Daboll said his grandmother was never one to sugarcoat things, so neither did he.

The Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator began discussing Sunday's 43-21 win over the Washington Football Team as he does most weeks, by crediting his players. He lauded them for their competitiveness, their preparation, and their execution.

Finally, he talked about what it all meant.  

"Look, I'm not going to sugarcoat it," he said. "It was special to me."

Quarterback Josh Allen and left tackle Dion Dawkins dedicated the victory to Daboll, whose grandmother, Ruth Kirsten, died Wednesday. Allen said he embraced Daboll in the locker room after the game, reciprocating the love he received from his offensive coordinator after he lost his own grandmother prior to a November game against Seattle last season.

"Relationships that you build with the people that you work with every day, I mean, that's real life," Daboll said. "And that's important. And that's important to me.

"You know, I got a ton of respect for those guys in the locker room. Not just them, the assistant coaches that I work with, being there for them, for their families, their children. And it goes both ways. I think that's special if you can create that. But it's got to be real and authentic. That's certainly how I felt."

Daboll summed up that sentiment in a quote, one that has been attributed to both Theodore Roosevelt and Hall-of-Fame hockey coach Pat Quinn: "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." It's an attitude he's carried throughout his career.

"My heart aches for him, and I think our guys on offense would say the same thing," Allen said Sunday. "He cares so much about football and cares so much about being the best version of himself for us to put ourselves in situations to be successful. He takes everything very personal about this game.

"That's why we love him. You know, he's an extremely fiery competitor. And when you see a guy hurting, you know, guys rally around that and they want to try to help ease that pain and ease that tension."

Daboll paid tribute to Kirsten during his session with the media on Monday, describing the woman who helped raise him as a loving, family-oriented caretaker who told it how it was. She was his first phone call after games, often favoring tough love over pity.

"It was a couple curse words in there and, 'Pick your head up and do better,'" Daboll said of those calls after losses. "That's kind of what she was. So, big hole in my heart just like I know a lot of people out there who have holes in their heart when they lose people. But great memories of her and I love her to death."

Kirsten was married to Daboll's grandfather, Christian, for 68 years. They still lived in the same West Seneca home where Daboll and his mother lived after moving from Ontario when Daboll was a toddler. Daboll described his grandparents as "grinders" who made him the man he is today.

"She's a strong woman," he said. "All of us are raised by certain people and I certainly wouldn't be here without her."

Here are more notes to wrap up Week 3.

Milano takes on vocal role

Linebacker Matt Milano had another busy game Sunday, recording two tackles for loss, one pass deflection and one fumble recovery. He now has six tackles for loss this season, tied with Denver's Von Miller for the NFL lead.

Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said Milano has also taken on a more vocal role for the defense after signing a four-year contract extension, echoing calls from defensive captain Tremaine Edmunds to members of the defensive line.

"Matt seems to be playing with so much more confidence," Frazier said. "You can see it in his urgency, the way he's practicing, the way he's playing. He's much more vocal than he's ever been. There's just another whole level to his play."

Practice makes perfect for Knox

Dawson Knox hauled in four receptions for 49 yards against Washington, including an acrobatic catch in the end zone for his second touchdown of the season. The third-year tight end is averaging 35.7 yards per game, up from 24.0 last season.

"That doesn't surprise me what he did on that play," Daboll said. "It was a heck of a catch, but I've seen that throughout training camp here. And I think those are the things that give you confidence."

Poyer considered day to day

Safety Jordan Poyer sustained an ankle injury late in Sunday's game. He is considered day to day, head coach Sean McDermott said.

"We'll just continue to monitor it as it goes here," McDermott said.

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