The Bills beat the Indianapolis Colts last Saturday 27 – 24 and in doing so, won their first playoff game since 1995. They also broke a streak of five consecutive playoff losses. About 7000 Bills Mafia were able to witness the game in person and tens of thousands worldwide. Fans celebrated with champagne, ran through the streets with flags and some were seen overcome emotionally with tears of elation. In past years, even last season, winning in the wildcard playoff round would have been enough to beconsidered an undoubtedly successful season. Not today.
Kicking in the Playoff Door
Buffalo didn’t need any help getting into the post season this year. There were no mathematical possibilities to be calculated down the stretch. Fans and players didn’t have to wait around, pinning their hopes on and cheer for other teams in order to sneak into the after party. Buffalo steamrolled the opposition because they were in their way. The Bills won nine of their last ten games to end the regular season and the last six in a row. They clinched the AFC east title in week 15 by hanging 48 points on the Broncos. Two weeks later they bested that by throwing up 56 points against a Miami Dolphins team who were fighting for their playoff lives. Accomplishing that using mostly backups for the entire 2nd half.
Humble and Hungry
We’ve heard head coach McDermott use this phrase many times over the season at press conferences and in locker room speeches. We don’t hear him say “trust the process” any longer. The process worked. It’s here. We are witnessing it with every victory the Bills rack up this year. The talk is now about a win being great but only a step that required completion. Acknowledge the accomplishment and be proud but leave it behind and move forward. For this team has told us that hats and T-shirts are nice but they are hungry for Superbowl rings. They politely say thank you, then focus on what’s next.
Rabid and dedicated Bills fans have believed in their team for decades no matter who was wearing the uniform. This year the NFL football world is looking and paying attention. It started out as whispers and waiting for an inevitable collapse. Now, pundits and analysts have used “elite”, “dominant” and “MVP” to describe the team and its players. Lately, there’s an expectation for the Bills to win every week because they’re a better team than who they face every week. The Bills aren’t happy to be here. They haven’t come to pause, look around, take in the moment and be grateful. They came because that’s what must be done to continue their quest. The Baltimore Ravens will travel to Buffalo for the divisional round playoff match up on Saturday night. The Bills view them as the next object standing in their way to the next step.