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Buffalo Bills showing their resilience ahead of division-deciding Miami game


WEBWIRE

Seven weeks ago, the Buffalo Bills were far outside of the playoff picture after a 24-22 loss to the Denver Broncos. At 5-5, the Bills sat at 10th in the AFC and their remaining seven games made up perhaps the toughest stretch of their season.

“It’s not ideal,” said Mitch Morse after the loss. “I think now is going to be the real test for this team.”

Six games in, the Bills are 5-1 with their only loss to Philadelphia in overtime. Outside of a heartbreaking 37-34 loss to the Eagles, they’ve aced the test.

After their 27-21 win over the New England Patriots, the Bills now sit at sixth in the conference and have a 95 percent chance of making the playoffs according to The New York Times playoff simulator. With Baltimore beating Miami 56-19 on Sunday, Buffalo has a chance to host at least one playoff game.

If Buffalo beats Miami next Sunday, they will win their fourth consecutive AFC East title and bring playoff football back to Highmark Stadium. The Bills can afford to lose, as their chances fall to just 5 percent if they drop the Miami game, but quarterback Josh Allen knows the weight that next week’s game holds.

“I obviously would love to have a home game in the playoffs,” Allen said after the game. “Would love to get in the playoffs, so that’s first and foremost. [We’re] just doing whatever we can do to give ourselves a chance of getting in.”

According to linebacker Terrel Bernard, head coach Sean McDermott has emphasized the importance of being resilient despite the pressure of being on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.

“Something that we’ve been talking about the past few weeks is just the resilience of the team and, you know, understanding we’re taking it one week at a time,” Bernard said. “We have a lot of things we want to accomplish, but we’re not looking too far ahead and not looking too far behind and staying in our process throughout the week and being prepared for Sundays.”

Being resilient is a familiar attitude among the team, as Micah Hyde noted after the game. The Bills were 7-5 going into their final six games of the 2021 season and rattled off four straight wins to end the season and clinch the AFC East title.

“I don’t want to say I told you so, but we always kept our head high around here and just leaned on each other and here we are,” Hyde said. “This is not the first time that we’ve done this. I mean, we continue to build each other up and push each other to just keep going next week.”

McDermott used the same word, resilient, to describe what he has seen from his players over the last several weeks. In a season that has been full of ups and downs, the Bills have rallied from being on the wrong end of six one-score losses, including two that came in overtime.

“They’ve been very resilient. And just the things that they’ve learned, I think, through the journey that have gotten us to here and then using them week to week to find a way to win games,” McDermott said. “Today we knew wasn’t going to be easy and I thought that their resilient nature was on display in the second half.”

In the playoffs, records no longer matter outside of determining where the game is to be played. All that matters is making it to the following week, an attitude the Bills have been forced to adopt after losing early in the season.

It’s also an attitude that could benefit the Bills come playoff time, as they continue to practice resilience in order to keep their hopes of making a run in the playoffs alive.

“We’ve been in the playoffs the last four or five weeks,” said tight end Dalton Kincaid. “Each game has been the most important game and now that this game is past, next week is the most important game for us.”

By Patrick Warren

Contributing Correspondent

 


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