Mitch Morse sat down to speak with the media following the Buffalo Bills' second-highest scoring performance in team history, and his first thought was what they could have done better.
The Bills rested several starters on Sunday – some for the entire game, others for the second half – and still came away with a 56-26 victory over a Miami Dolphins team that was fighting for its playoff life. It was their 13th win of the season, tied for most in franchise history. The scoring outburst brought the Bills' season total to 501, a team record.
"There's still a lot of meat on the bone but it was nice to get some work done," Morse said.
It was yet another example of the team's buy-in to head coach Sean McDermott's "humble and hungry" mantra. The core philosophies are echoed week in and week out: treat every opponent the same, take no win for granted, maintain a growth mindset.
The unwillingness to sit on success has its roots in the Bills' last playoff experience, according to left tackle Dion Dawkins. The Bills led the Houston Texans 16-0 before falling in overtime, and it's drove them ever since. It certainly wasn't going to stop on the week before the playoffs.
"Well, we have a feeling that we don't want to feel every again," Dawkins said. "It just gave us the experience and it just gave us that feel that this is not how we want to end our season. That fire and that burn that (we) felt from losing, it's still in us. And we still feel it. That's why guys are so hard on themselves, because we have to be the best at all times and we know if we're not, things like what happened in Houston can happen. We're fighting for that never to happen."
Here are more of the top quotes following Buffalo's decisive win over Miami.
"This all means nothing"
Josh Allen passed for 224 yards with three touchdowns and one interception before ceding the offense to Matt Barkley after halftime. He broke Drew Bledsoe's franchise record for passing yards in a single season, finishing with 4,544.
It put a bow on what, by statistical measures, has been the greatest regular season by a Bills quarterback in history. In addition to passing yards, Allen set team records in passing touchdowns, total touchdowns, completions, and completion percentage.
All that being said, the quarterback had his sights squarely set on what's ahead.
"Having a home playoff game, we'll find out who we play tonight and whether it will be Saturday or Sunday, but we got to go in there and do our job," he said. "Go out do what we set out to do before the season. This all means nothing. It gave us a chance that we wanted. Now we gotta go take it."
"We play to kill"
The Bills finished the regular season with six straight wins and swept the AFC East for the first time in team history. Dawkins was asked what that meant going into the playoffs.
"It just shows that this is a different Buffalo Bills football team," he said. "We don't have to get in on anybody's back, on anybody's pigtail, on anybody's blessing. This is all our doing. And it feels good to kick that front door out and sweep the East.
"… The Dolphins came out and they played hard. But the Buffalo Bills played a little bit harder. We're a different team. We play to kill. And the Dolphins are still a great team. It's just that the Buffalo Bills got the better hand of them on this Sunday evening."
"You've got to be a dog"
Dean Marlowe played the second half at safety and recorded two of Buffalo's three interceptions on the day. Afterward, he was asked about what the margin of victory against a team that had so much to play for said about the Bills.
"It says that we're humble and hungry," he said. "We've got great guys on this team from offense, defense and special teams. We always want more. I know sometimes that can not be a good thing, but playing football, you've got to be dog, you've got to be hungry, you've got to be humble also because the football gods won't take care of you if you think you're ** doesn't stink.
"But other than that, to us, it was the next game. And now we know we want another one and it goes on from there."