Bills fought through ‘necessary growing pains’ on the way to winning the division title


Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Bills general manager Brandon Beane made it clear what the goal was this season: win the AFC East.

He stressed the importance of hosting a playoff game and even said he won’t consider this franchise back on track until they win the division. Message received. Goal accomplished.

“I’m just so thankful and I’m so happy for the fans, honestly man I’m just so happy for the fans. It’s just such a cool place to be a part of because of the work ethic of the people and the character of the people in Buffalo, around Buffalo, Western New York,” McDermott said after the game.

It’s another check off the to do list for the Bills under Beane and head coach Sean McDermott as they beat the Broncos 48-19 and in doing so, clinched the AFC East for the first time in 25 years.

“I love seeing Bills flags wave out in people’s yards and I’m hoping there’s a lot more people buying Bills flags tonight to give them as Christmas gifts,” McDermott laughed.

It’s normal after any monumental moment to reflect on what got you there and McDermott was able to do a little bit of that after the game.

“Anything you try and do that’s worth doing you gotta work hard at it and there’s been some good moments and there’s been some times where I know people have questioned things,” McDermott said.

That was especially true at the end of 2018 when they missed the playoffs and finished 6-10 that year and McDermott referenced that.

“We were asked a lot about what we were doing and how we were doing it. A lot of that was necessary growing pains and just really appreciate the way people believed in us and believed in our message,” McDermott said.

In the beginning of the “McBeane” era, there were some rocky times. They had to make some unpopular decisions and get ride of some unfavorable contracts by getting rid of some big time names like Marcell Dareus, Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby. The word “tank” was even thrown around during those times.

Then they made the playoffs in year one back in 2017 and ended the Bills postseason drought. But they just got in as a miracle 4th down touchdown by Andy Dalton and the Bengals helped them clinch a postseason berth.

The year after, they finished the season 6-10 and missed the playoffs. And of course last year they made it again but fell to the Texans in the Wild Card Round. But this year, the Bills won’t just be happy to make it. The next thing to check off the list is winning a playoff game.

And they’re literally wearing that message on their chest. The AFC East champion shirts say “Won Not Done”.

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