NASHVILLE (WIVB) – For the second year in a row, the Bills hit the bye week after a tough, close loss on the road.
Last year, it was the “Hail Murray” game where DeAndre Hopkins caught Kyler Murray’s Hail Mary as time expired over three Bills defenders. This year, it was a loss to the Titans as the Bills couldn’t convert on 4th and inches with 22 seconds left, down by three at the Titans three-yard line.
“Felt good about our chances, had a chance to win the game right there and we didn’t get it done,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said after the game.
All the Titans had to do was take a knee and the game went final after Josh Allen’s quarterback sneak came up just short of the sticks as Sean McDermott chose to go for it on 4th down rather than kick a field goal and head to overtime.
“Josh is usually spot on with those. You’ve seen him have a lot of success in those situations so again give them the credit, they made the play when they had to make one. I felt ‘hey if we’re that far from potentially winning the game right there it was the best thing we could do.’ We hadn’t stopped them on defense for a number of drives there in the second half, really so but again felt like we could go and win the game right there and obviously didn’t get it done,” McDermott explained.
“It just looked like there was some penetration there off our left side and they pinched down so it looked like there was an opportunity but at the end of the day I trust him and I’ll trust him again if we’re in that situation again so I’ll take Josh Allen ten times out of ten,” McDermott said.
“I take a lot of pride in it and I love Coach McDermott for giving me that opportunity and I gotta go out there and prove him right. Sometimes the plays don’t go your way, they get paid on that side of the ball too and they had a good game plan, that’s a really good team,” Josh Allen said after the game.
“That’s what you want, you want your coach to have that belief in you and who better to have the ball in their hands than 17, he’s the best player we’ve got,” Cole Beasley said following the game.
And what McDermott said about the Bills defense not being able to get a stop in the second half is also a huge factor in this decision. The Titans scored on all three of their drives in the second half and scored on six straight possessions going back to the second quarter.
On the play, it seemed like Allen slipped and lost his footing as he was trying to push forward.
“I was just trying to find a window to get in there and quarterback sneaks aren’t the funnest play but any means. I gotta find a way to get a first down there so it happens,” Allen said.
“Didn’t work out in our favor, obviously didn’t have the greatest footing, it happens.”
And even though that’s the play that ultimately ended the game, there were other issues that led to it coming down to that.
“We were 2 of 5 in the red zone, we can’t do that against a team like this so a lot of should of, could of, would of’s but at the end of the day 4-2 into the bye week,” Allen explained.
The play before it was also very close. On 3rd and 6 Josh Allen scrambled to his left and tried to jump for the first down but the officials ruled it short and that’s why the Bills were faced with the decision they were, although there were some questions about that play and why there wasn’t even a measurement of the spot.
“The signal was first down, they signaled first down then they changed it from what I was told after the game,” McDermott said.
At the end of the day, it’s obviously all about the result. If the play would have worked and Allen converted on 4th down, everyone would be happy. If they would have kicked the field goal and then lost in overtime it would be questioned why they didn’t choose to go for it.
“We’re this far [McDermott held up his hands close together] from winning the game and I owe that to my players. I believe in my players, I believe in our quarterback so I trust my guys. Obviously we didn’t get it done in this case but I trust my players,” McDermott said.
So now the Bills have a while to think about this last second loss, just like they did a year ago.
“Nobody’s mad at anybody for any calls, you know it just comes down to we gotta execute better than they do and we didn’t,” Beasley said.
Up next, the Bills host the Dolphins after the bye week on Halloween.