Bills appear in denial as playoff hopes begin to sink
The Buffalo Bills appear to be in denial identifying their shortcomings and the challenges ahead in staying afloat in the AFC playoff picture. There was coach Sean McDermott suggesting not to give Patriots coach Bill Belichick too much credit in dismissing a question over New England’s run-heavy plan.news.yahoo.com
Spagnuolo defense perfect complement to elite Chiefs offense
FILE - Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo addresses the media during a news conference at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., in this Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, file photo. “That game," Brady said Monday, “is one of my least favorite football memories.”He hopes he can reflect on Sunday with a bit more joy. Brady will once again lead his offense against Spagnuolo's defense, only this time it will be his Tampa Bay Buccaneers facing the defending champion Chiefs in the Super Bowl. It also will be a rematch of a game earlier this season, when once more Spagnuolo kept Brady off balance as Kansas City coasted to a 27-24 victory in Tampa Bay. All traits that Mathieu shares with the entire Chiefs defense.
Chiefs' Mathieu making most of opportunity in Kansas City
Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) returns an interception during the second half of an NFL divisional round football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Kansas City. After helping the Chiefs win their first Super Bowl in five decades last season, Mathieu has followed up with what can only be described as the best season of his career. On a quarter of snaps this season, he's lined up in the deep safety spot. You know that if you feed something to Tyrann, he’s going to get it and he’s going to know why,” Spagnuolo said. “I think any position on the field allows you the chance to make plays,” Mathieu said.
D-coordinators bring head coaching chops to NFL title games
But all are credited with providing a steady helping hand, a sturdy shoulder and a willing ear to their team’s current head coach. PETTINEPettine went 10-22 (.313) as head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2014-15, before joining Matt LaFleur, who was named Packers head coach in 2018 after just two seasons as an offensive coordinator, a year each with the Rams and Titans. Arians brought along Bowles, whom he coached at Temple in the mid-1980s and who had been his defensive coordinator in Arizona from 2013-14. It began with Frazier saying he didn’t want McDermott to make the same mistakes he did as a first-time head coach. It’s a business with a lot of egos, a lot of people concerned with who gets the credit.”SPAGNUOLOSpagnuolo, 61, compiled an 11-41 record (.212) as head coach of the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11 and as interim head coach of the New York Giants in 2017, when he went 1-3.
Big offenses, overlooked defenses in AFC title game
The Kansas City Chiefs won their first NFL title since 1970 when they beat San Francisco in last year's Super Bowl. What we get Sunday is a matchup of dynamic offenses and overlooked defenses, the top two teams in the conference. Kansas City (15-2) has the confidence of a reigning champion and a charisma few NFL teams can match. That could provide an edge over Bills rookie Tyler Bass — except that Bass has been very reliable all season. Buffalo punter Corey Bojorquez and Kansas City rookie Johnny Townsend were two of the most dependable in the AFC.
Chiefs’ Reid, Bills’ McDermott to match wits for AFC title
Funny thing: Even after firing him, Reid suspected deep down that McDermott was destined for big things. McDermott has the long-suffering Buffalo Bills playing in their first AFC championship game since beating Kansas City on Jan. 23, 1994, when they advanced to their fourth straight Super Bowl. They love football in Buffalo and he's really done a nice job with that whole program.”Not surprisingly, the job McDermott has done with the Bills neatly parallels the job Reid has done in Kansas City. Both have surrounded them with playmakers, such as the Bills' Stefon Diggs and the Chiefs' Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. McDermott never harbored any animosity toward Reid when he was fired from the Eagles on Jan. 15, 2011.
Bills among the NFL's 4 defenses peaking in the postseason
Buffalo Bills' Micah Hyde (23) celebrates with teammates after an NFL divisional round football game against the Baltimore Ravens Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Leslie Frazier’s faith in his Bills defense never wavered even at the lowest point of Buffalo’s season. It was mid-November and the Bills were entering their bye week on the heels of a 32-30 defeat at Arizona. In the NFC, the Packers are allowing an average 306 yards offense over their past seven outings. Here comes Patrick Mahomes, should he clear the NFL’s concussion protocol, and the league’s top-ranked offense.
Allen, Jackson set for playoff showdown as Bills host Ravens
FILE - Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) talks with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) following a 24-17 Ravens win in an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., in this Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, file photo. It happened in the 2018 season opener, when the then-raw rookie Bills quarterback was shoved into the Ravens' sideline. Much like Jackson, Allen prefers putting the past behind him and focusing on the next challenge. “We’ve had our backs against the wall since the Pittsburgh game,” Harbaugh said. The Bills limited the Ravens to only 118 yards rushing in last year’s meeting, a 24-17 Ravens win.
Reich remains focused on game with return to Buffalo looming
FILE - Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich stands on the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland, in this Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, file photo. Reich, a former quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, returns to Orchard Park, N.Y. for an NFL wild-card football game against the Bills on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. This week will be different, though, as Reich takes his new team to his old stomping grounds for Saturday's wild-card game. But when Josh McDaniels backed out of his deal to join the Colts, Reich was perfectly positioned to return to another of his favorite cities, Indianapolis. “We’re each our best when we’re ourselves," Colts quarterback Philip Rivers said.
Mahomes leads champion Chiefs to 14-2 mark in stacked AFC
While the Chiefs get another week’s rest, the six other AFC playoff teams get going this weekend. For just the second time since the 1970 league merger, every team in the AFC playoffs has at least 11 wins. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 54, 31-20 over the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 2, 2020, at Miami. Last Lombardi: Super Bowl 43, 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Feb. 1, 2009, at Tampa, Florida. Their pass rush is nearly nonexistent with 19 sacks, the fewest by a playoff team since Denver had 19 in 1979.
Bills beat Broncos 48-19 for first AFC East crown since 1995
DENVER – Donning gray caps that declared them AFC East champions for the first time since 1995, the Buffalo Bills acted like this was old hat. “To be the team and to be the quarterback on the team that does it, obviously feels really good. “But there’s still a lot on the table.”Buffalo coach Sean McDermott said he received a congratulatory email from Marv Levy, the last Bills coach to win the AFC East. He also missed the 51-yard field goal attempt way to the right on Denver’s opening drive. Broncos: visit the Los Angeles Chargers, who they rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat on Nov. 1 with a touchdown as time ran out.
Undefeated Bills, Titans set to face off if testing allows
The NFL's ranks of undefeated teams should thin by one Tuesday night, Oct. 13, 2020, when the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans finally meet in a rescheduled game. (AP Photo/David Berding, File)NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The NFL's ranks of undefeated teams should thin by one Tuesday night when the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans finally meet in a rescheduled game. The NFL first postponed, then rescheduled their Oct. 4 game with Pittsburgh to Oct. 25, and their game with the Bills pushed back two days. “As a team that’s off to a good start, we feel like we’ve got a good thing rolling here and we want to play,” Bills quarterback Josh Allen said. The Bills will be the first team to play the Titans since the NFL closed Tennessee's facility Sept. 29.
NFL requiring coaches, staff near bench to wear masks
The NFL has updated its gameday protocols by requiring every coach and staff member in the bench area to wear a mask and reducing the size of each teams travel party. Owners also will have to follow COVID-19 testing requirements to gain access to the locker room, field or team charter. We have been really fortunate that cases of COVID-19 are very low across the league, Goodell said Tuesday. It is a testament to the plans, but most importantly to the diligence of the players, the teams and their staffs. I believe that we may be having a lot of teams that will start with no fans in the beginning this season, and then evolve to fans, Goodell said.
Bills sign McDermott to multiyear extension
The Buffalo Bills have signed coach Sean McDermott to a multiyear contract extension. A person with direct knowledge told the Associated Press the contract is a four-year extension that runs through the 2025 season. The Bills have finished near the top of the league in most defensive categories in recent seasons; from 2018-19, the Bills allowed the fewest yards in the NFL (296.2 per game). In 2019, Buffalo finished second in points allowed (16.2), third in yards allowed (4,772) and fourth in passing yards allowed (3,123). He is the first Bills coach to receive a contract extension since Dick Jauron in 2008 though Jauron was fired the following year.
Dreadful heat, humidity invade South as misery continues
It was just as sizzling along the Gulf Coast in south Alabama and along the Florida Panhandle. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are prime threats during heat waves, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Spartanburg, South Carolina, the Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills practiced together before a preseason NFL game in Charlotte, North Carolina. Over the weekend, Panthers coach Ron Rivera had some fun with Bills coach Sean McDermott, sending a screenshot of the heat index in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Associated Press writers Diana Heidgerd in Dallas; Rebecca Santana in New Orleans; and Steve Reed in Spartanburg, South Carolina, contributed to this report.chicagotribune.com