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"That next man mindset is real" | Bills prevail through another adversity-filled game, win on Thanksgiving

FromTheLockerRoom

What a week it was for the Buffalo Bills.

One Buffalo snowstorm, two plane trips to Detroit in five days, and back-to-back wins in Motor City in that span. After overcoming those obstacles and more — and going to 8-3 on the season with a 28-25 Thanksgiving Day victory over the Detroit Lions— the Bills' victory was a well-earned one.


More adversity to overcome

Following the team's victory, head coach Sean McDermott told his players to never forget the lessons they learned from Thursday's game — a game that presented more adversity to a team that has faced it since the first week of the season.It was one that brought no shortage of emotions out of Bills players with moments in the game filled with both frustration and rejoices.

"No matter how you win, you gotta find a way to win, and I think our guys have shown that they know how to do that," McDermott said. "Incredibly resilient, down to the last play, basically."

Anybody watching the first Thanksgiving game of the day was riding an emotional roller coaster as the Bills fought their way to victory. And when the field wasn't tilting in their favor, a voice on the Bills sideline instilled belief in his teammates and helped keep their heads up.

"I tried to tell the guys everything in the past is the past," WR Stefon Diggs said. "We didn't get off to the best start, but you keep rolling with the punches. Things aren't gonna be perfect; I'm riding with my guy (Josh Allen). We just had to try to get on the same page, every week is different. So reinventing yourself but you got the same mindset and going into that game and we wanted to execute at a high level. Things didn't happen perfectly but we figured it out."

Check out the photos from the on-field and locker room celebrations following Thursday's win against the Lions.

Even with the activation of CB Tre'Davious White ahead of kickoff, the Bills were still down a few players heading into Thursday afternoon, including starters DE Greg Rousseau, C Mitch Morse and LB Tremaine Edmunds, among others. That list grew in the second quarter when LB Von Miller was ruled out of the game after suffering a knee injury. But the next-man-up mindset sparked the defense to make up for Miller's absence on the field, which isn't an easy task.

"That next man mindset is real," Diggs said. "I hate to preach it, sound like a broken record, but guys came in and guys playing at a high level. We just preach it to everybody to do the job. You don't need to do more than your job and you do your 1/11, we'll find a way, we'll find a way."

Challenges started brewing even before Miller's injury. Detroit got out to a 7-0 lead on the Bills, forcing the team to play from behind once again.

"Guys are resilient, the ups and downs of an NFL game, that's a good team playing very well, playing good football right now," Allen said. "But again, guys just continuing to grind, guys going down and stepping up finding a way. I'm proud of our guys for doing that."

And after working through a hectic week yet rewarding week, the team ultimately found a way. To reward his hard-fought team, McDermott gave his players a well-deserved victory Friday following the win.

"You don't want to take a step back, but at the same time, we're gonna enjoy this victory," safety Jordan Poyer said. "We're gonna enjoy the flight home with our teammates and our families tonight. We got a big game next week, Thursday night football again in New England, so we got to be ready to play."

Bass for the win

After a nail biter in Detroit and a 28-25 victory over the Lions, the Bills are thankful they have kicker Tyler Bass on their side.

With seconds left in the game, Bass was called upon to attempt a 45-yard field goal after missing an extra point on the previous drive.

"Just kind of hit it a little high and unfortunately, we missed it," Bass said of his miss. "But that kick doesn't define your next kick."

Bass said he was thankful for his teammates' support afterwards, which helped him get dialed back in in case head coach Sean McDermott called on him again.

"The more experience I have, the more times I kick and the more situations I've been through, I'm able to kind of get back to my baseline and kind of reset," Bass shared. "I have Reid Ferguson who is an amazing snapper. I have Sam Martin, a great, phenomenal holder. I have them I can lean on, trust in and that helps me get to where I need to be."

The kicker started to get ready for that next opportunity when the Bills got the ball back with a tie game and :23 seconds remaining.

"(I) try to divorce myself from what's going on and focus on my process," Bass said of watching the offense take the field. "But when I see them have the ball, I expect them to get into range. And sure enough, we did, and we were able to go out and execute."

Allen fired a 36-yard pass to Stefon Diggs to get the drive started off right and Diggs called a timeout immediately to stop the clock. Two Allen rushes later, the Bills had it within a 45-yard distance. The kicker would not be denied and gave the Bills the three points they needed to win the game.

"I was able to go out and do my 1/11th and help my team win," Bass said of the game winner. "It's a good feeling when you put in all that work, and it shows on the field."

Quarterback Josh Allen understands how intense of a moment it was for Bass, and was elated to see the kick go through the uprights.

"I don't think you understand how big it is for a guy to do that in this league, for him just to feel that rollercoaster of emotions to go step up and build up for our team and nail it," Allen said.

Bass was 2 for 2 on field goal attempts on the day, including a make from 47 yards out to give the Bills a 17-14 lead heading into halftime.

McDermott said he had a ton of trust in Bass when he stepped up for the game-winning attempt after an uncharacteristic miss.

"You're going to have some of those," McDermott said. "But to be able to let a player reset after making a mistake and come out, that's how you earn trust when you do that, right? When you can give a player that second chance right there. I didn't have to mess with him.

"I knew he's so mentally tough, and he showed it again today."

The kicker has been quite mentally tough in back-to-back games at Ford Field. Bass was one of the biggest reasons why the Bills beat the Browns thanks to making all six field goal attempts, including one from 56 yards out. The game-winner on Thanksgiving gives the Bills a two-game win streak and something everybody can be thankful for.

Check out the photos from the on-field and locker room celebrations following Thursday's win against the Lions.

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