ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — After each game, particularly wins, Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott reminds his players to remain “humble and hungry.”
Left tackle Dion Dawkins was asked about the significance of Buffalo’s 7-2 start to the season — its first since 1993 — and whether it meant anything that the team was able to do something it hadn’t done since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly led the Bills to four straight Super Bowls.
Dawkins, also a team captain, didn’t think so.
“It really doesn’t mean anything. I don’t want to compare ourselves to Jim Kelly’s era, Thurman Thomas, like, those guys are legends,” he said. “We are far from them. They hold the crown. They are the kings. But it just shows we are capable of doing whatever we want to do. We have all of the pieces here. And we just have to continue to do things right on and off the field.
“It’s never perfect. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. But we just have to stay one foot in front of the other and keep climbing and it’ll go well for us if we just keep that mentality up.”
Even McDermott knew the Bills had not just dispatched a replacement-level opponent. The 6-2 Seahawks were the league’s top-scoring offense entering Sunday, and after questions throughout the week as to whether Buffalo could keep up, McDermott’s team felt it had silenced the doubts.
“It’s just another win, I mean, these are hard to come by as I’ve said before,” McDermott said. “I appreciate the way our players played in all three phases, really complementing one another.
“Any win is a great win in the National Football League, but let’s be honest, that’s a really good football team that we played today and so were the Patriots, don’t get me wrong. It’s just this week to take our game where the guys took it. They earned it, they worked their butts off during the week, they were focused.”
That focus was hard to come by for quarterback Josh Allen, whose grandmother died Saturday night, McDermott said.
The Bills coach called Allen a “mentally tough young man” for not only playing Sunday, but turning in a career performance with 415 passing yards and four total touchdowns.
“We talked yesterday before meetings last night, I called Josh and just asked him where he was on it,” McDermott said. “I expressed my sympathy to him, as well as his family, and he said he wanted to play. And you know he just felt like he was gonna have to compartmentalize for the better part of 24 hours to get through the game — and that’s what he did and then he was emotional after the game and, you know, not an easy thing to play through.”
Allen did not comment on his grandmother’s death after the game but pointed to the sky in celebration after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
He did say it was “really exciting” to beat the Seahawks the way the Bills did Sunday, especially as Buffalo prepares to visit another high-powered offense in Arizona next week.
“Sitting here 7-2, we’re excited with what we can do and how we can play,” Allen said. “But we understand seven wins doesn’t get you into the playoffs. We got to continue to find ways to keep stacking weeks and focusing on one week at a time. We know we got a different challenge next week we have to game plan for. Every time you step on the field it’s a little bit different.”