The Bills picked up their biggest win of the season on Sunday despite a report of inner turmoil and a controversial remark previously made by Sean McDermott that emerged during the week.
To mark their 20-17 win over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, the Bills opted to give the game ball to their head coach.
In a clip shared by the team on social media shortly after the game, McDermott alluded to the report when he addressed the team.
“That’s a hell of a win, man,” McDermott said. “Resilient, resilient damn football team right here. I’m so damn proud of you guys.”
McDermott was briefly interrupted by a pair of players, who both said “We’ve got your back” as the coach nodded and smiled.
“Just all three phases, man. We knew it was going to be tough,” McDermott later said. “You guys — resilient, man, resilient. We’re going to need that, we’re going to need that going forward. So proud of you guys. All the distractions this week, you guys did not flinch — coaches, players, staff. I’m so proud of you guys, man.”
Bills general manager Brandon Beane jumped in to issue McDermott the game ball right after.
“We’ve got this man’s back. Tough f—ing week,” Beane said before he and McDermott shared an embrace.
In the report by independent journalist Tyler Dunne, multiple players and coaches who have worked under McDermott during his seven-year tenure in Buffalo critiqued the Bills head coach. The biggest takeaway, though, was a remark McDermott made during a team meeting in 2019, reportedly telling the team that they needed to work together like the terrorists who committed the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
McDermott apologized for the 2019 incident in an unplanned press conference on Thursday.
“Not only was 9/11 a horrific event in our country’s history, but a day that I lost a good family friend,” McDermott said.
“As I mentioned to the team then that I regretted and apologized for me not doing a good enough job of communicating my point, I’m going to do the same with the team today,” he added. “So if there’s anyone new, they understand how important that is to me and my family because it’s an important event, a horrific event in our history.”
When he spoke to reporters again a day later, McDermott said the fallout from the report had been “hurtful, calling it “an attack on my character.”
“I know who I am,” McDermott told reporters on Friday. “I know how I try to do things. Am I without flaw? No, I’m not without flaw and I say that humbly. I believe we try and do things right here. It doesn’t mean that everything we do is right, people are going to have their own opinions. I believe we’ve won a lot of games here since we’ve arrived and I’m confident in that. I’m confident in this football team. People are going to have their opinions, I can’t control that.”
Sunday’s win over the now 8-5 Chiefs improved their record to 7-6, keeping pace in the hunt for one of the wild card spots in the AFC playoff picture.
Despite the underwhelming season, The Athletic reported that the Bills are unlikely to fire McDermott earlier in December.
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