Heading into Sunday's matchup between the Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens, there were questions about the Bills' recent inability to win close games, dating back to last season. But Bills kicker Tyler Bass turned that narrative around on the game's final play when he kicked a 21-yard field goal as time expired to win the game 23-20.
Bills QB Josh Allen led the game-winning drive with the game tied in the final four minutes following a Jordan Poyer interception. The Bills got inside the Ravens 5-yard line in the final seconds to set up Bass' field goal. It's the team's first win by one possession since 11/1/20 against New England.
"It's situational football. It's what coach McDermott preaches to us," Allen said. "Defense leads to offense and offense puts us in positions to win games, a couple of huge kicks by Tyler Bass. Those are games that you love winning. It's just a hard-fought battle both ways. Winning on the last play of the game is always fun and just proud of our guys for how they played."
RB Devin Singletary acknowledged that the team practices those final-play situations leading up to any game. That preparation ultimately allowed them to stay composed when it came down to the final plays against the Ravens that secured the victory.
"We kept preaching to each other, 'Let's be us, take it play and play, and let's try to execute,'" Singletary said. "When we were able to execute, you can see the energy in the game. To come out on the winning side, it feels great, and it shows that we are continuing to grow."
Following the team's first road win on a game's final play since 2014, center Mitch Morse and wide receiver Stefon Diggs had a conversation in the locker room about how the game unfolded. Morse acknowledged that after being a part of this team for four years now, there's been consistency in some close games going their way and some not going their way.
"He (Morse) said it was good to feel like we've been there before," Diggs said. "We've been down before, and we've rallied back before. We didn't shun, we weren't shy, we weren't nervous. We went in chin up, chest out, and we went in with confidence that we were going to win the game."
But that narrative of struggling to successfully close on those games remained mostly outside noise for the Bills.
"It did seem like that last year, we'd end up with those games and on the short end of the stick," Morse said. "We're very proud of this one. There's a lot to learn from a lot for all parties involved. It'll be a great learning tool, but we're very proud to have this win."
At one point in the first half when it wasn't quite a close game yet, the Bills were down 20-3. But they didn't let that 17-point deficit get the best of them. They found a way to flip the scoreboard in their favor throughout the second half, with the help of an Isaiah McKenzie TD late in the first half to initiate the comeback.
"It's big in a way simply just because of how it started and how it ended," OL Dion Dawkins said. "We could've given up. It was 20-3 before half time and then we put all the other stuff behind us. We told ourselves that we did this, we're out here beating ourselves. So, when we put a ball to the side, we put it on us to capitalize."
Heading into the second half, the message throughout the locker room was "just be us." Allen acknowledged that mindset, along with the heart and grit in the Bills' locker room, allowed his team to come back from that 17-point deficit and find a way to win in the final seconds of the game.
"I'll tell you what, it would be very difficult if we didn't have the guys in the locker room that we did," Allen said. "Guys that just love each other, want to play for each other, aren't going to stress in frantic situations."
But the team knew that the comeback wasn't solidified until that final kick by Bass. Dawkins felt that the game was going to come down to the fourth quarter and even if his team didn't win all four quarters, all that mattered was that they were winning when the clock hit zero.
"Conditioning, who's going to push that extra mile in the fourth quarter, and every game, I think it's going to be a fourth-quarter game," Dawkins said. "Teams are going to continue to play as hard. We're going to keep putting one foot in front of another to get the thing done."
Sunday marked the Bills' largest comeback win since 2011 and it wouldn't have been possible without the all-around team effort that was put forth from start to finish. Head coach Sean McDermott credited his players and the coaching staff for staying with the game and making necessary adjustments after going down in the first half.
"The players executed and made the plays we needed to make, and put together a big drive at the end," McDermott said. "Big stop by the defense and put together a winning drive at the end. I thought about the way that it was executed, especially the final 20 yards there. I thought was high-level stuff there and good to see. Good to get a win on the road in a tough situation and a tough environment."
"It's a combination of the defense doing their job, the offense, and even special teams," TE Dawson Knox added. "You want to treat each play like it has a life of its own, not harping on the past, not looking too far ahead. You want to dominate one play at a time and start to crawl back. The defense pitched a shutout in the second half. When they do that, it's fun to be out there on offense."
Check out the Bills celebration photos from the sideline and locker room following the 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens.