Brian Daboll was among the short list of people who knew of the pain Josh Allen was feeling when the quarterback took the field against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
After losing his grandmother, Patricia Allen, unexpectedly on Saturday, Josh spoke with Daboll and head coach Sean McDermott and informed them of his intention to play. After that, he compartmentalized his emotions long enough to command the Bills to a 44-34 victory.
The quarterback and the offensive coordinator shared a moment afterward that was indicative of the types of relationships that exist in the Buffalo Bills locker room.
"When he came in off the field and into the locker room, he kind of fell into my arms a little bit," Daboll said Monday. "A lot of emotion there, particularly for him, but for me also.
"When you love somebody and something happens like that, it's tough. And to see it happen to somebody that you really care about as a player, that's tough. But that's why his teammates love him, too. All-day competitive. All-day tough. They'd do anything for him."
Allen's selfless, authentic nature was reciprocated by teammates and fans alike after news of his loss went public postgame. The quarterback was showered with his love as he broke down the huddle in the locker room. Members of Bills Mafia, meanwhile, mobilized to honor his grandmother's legacy.
By Tuesday morning, donations made to John R. Oishei Children's Hospital in memory of Patricia Allen had surpassed $200,000. Fans donated in increments of $17, a nod to the quarterback's number.
Why is it that people gravitate to Allen? According to Daboll, it goes beyond arm talent.
"He's real," the offensive coordinator said. "He doesn't try to pretend to be something that he's not. He has a way of connecting to people from really all over. And he lays it on the line. He's a good listener. He's demanding of himself. … This dude is Buffalo. He's got a chip on his shoulder."
Daboll is uniquely qualified to make that statement. He grew up in West Seneca, went to high school at St. Francis and played college ball in Rochester. He is convinced Allen would fit into any one of those places, which is why the extent of the fans' generosity came as no surprise.
"It's Buffalo, man," he said. "It's people taking care of people. People taking care of their own people. And people having each other's back. Certainly, they've got Josh's back. He and I talk a lot about being from around here and the type of people that are from around here, the type of communities.
"I know he's from out there in California. You just pick him up and put him right here, put him in West Seneca, South Buffalo, the Northtowns, wherever you want to be, he'll fit right in. That's him. He's just a genuine, genuine person. And I know he appreciates a great deal the support that he gets from this community, this fanbase, Bills Mafia. I know he's very thankful for that. And we're thankful for him."
Now, onto more notes from Week 9.
The Bills continue to diversify on offense
Daboll reiterates often that the offensive game plan changes weekly according to the Bills' opponent and what the coaching staff feels gives them the best chance to win. If nothing else, the last two weeks prove the Bills are capable of going about it in more ways than one.
Buffalo earned its victory over New England last week largely on the ground, with running backs Zack Moss and Devin Singletary each setting season highs with 80-plus rushing yards apiece. The focus shifted to the air against a Seattle team allowing a league-high average of 358.7 pass yards per game.
The Bills passed on their first eight plays Sunday, seven of which were completions. They only handed the ball off 12 times, and seven of those came during the fourth quarter.
According to ESPN's Bill Barnwell, the Bills were the most pass-happy team in a first half dating back to 2008 (when ESPN began collecting play-by-play data) with 28 passes and three runs.
"As we sat down and looked at it, that was something we were going to try to do that game," Daboll said. "Again, it's fine, but the players executed it. …
"Just go back to the New England game, too, it's the same thing. Credit the offensive line for moving the line of scrimmage and the backs running. It's easy to call plays when your players are executing well. And they've done that."
Allen said the two performances spoke to the selflessness of individual players.
"We're willing to do whatever it takes to win a football game," he said. "We've got a lot of selfless guys here. We have guys up front who don't care if we run or pass. We've got receivers that are willing to block in the run game, which sometimes you don't get that.
"Our guys are selfless and just want to win football games. We just want to do whatever it takes to win."
A "band of brothers" on the offensive line
Sunday brought a series of losses to the offensive line, which began the game without center Mitch Morse (concussion). Cody Ford (ankle), Brian Winters (knee), and Daryl Williams each left the game with injuries, though Winters and Williams returned.
McDermott complimented the line for its resiliency in the face of those injuries and offered an observation regarding the players who filled in, a group that included Ike Boettger, Ryan Bates, and Ty Nsekhe.
"I just love yesterday when some of those guys unfortunately did go down, their replacement who was jogging on the field was coming to check on them first as opposed to, you know, just being a competitor," McDermott said.
"You go out there, you're buckin' up, 'Hey it's my chance, I'm gonna get in that huddle.' But they had the wherewithal to go over and [show] love for their teammates and check on their teammate first that was hurt, and I think that says a lot about the guys."
In addition to Ford, cornerback Tre'Davious White sustained an ankle injury late in the fourth quarter Sunday and did not return.
"To the best of my knowledge so far, most of the injuries that occurred yesterday are day-to-day type injuries so nothing new, really overall on the injury front," McDermott said.