Finding their "Winning Mindset"
Everybody in Buffalo wants the answer to one question: How are the Bills going to finally get 'over the hump'?
When it came to answering that question on Tuesday afternoon, McDermott seemed to have a recurring thought: That it wouldn't take one thing in particular, but that the team needs to tap into their "winning mindset" when it comes to making the game's winning plays.
"When you look back to our first AFC Championship game, our first playoff meeting with Kansas City, it wasn't close... and now [the games are] close. We have to find ways to make those plays, we have to find ways to [put the players] in position to make those plays... There's no magic to it, but I believe it starts with having that winner's mindset."- Sean McDermott
But how long is it going to take for McDermott to instill that in his team?
Maybe the Bills already have the right mindset, but if that's the case, they haven't seemed to use it during the biggest moments of their season. The team has struggled to close out playoff games against the Chiefs on multiple occasions after failing to execute at all three phases of the game.
The past two meetings with the Chiefs have provided a fourth quarter moment where every side of the ball has struggled to execute when it mattered the most, including the special teams unit.
On Sunday, Bills kicker Tyler Bass failed to complete a 44-yard field goal that would have tied the game with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. As a result, the Bills offense which scored 17 points in the first half only scored seven points in the second half, at home. And of course, during the Bills 2021 playoff matchup against the Chiefs, McDermott's defense blew a 3-point lead with only 13 fateful seconds remaining on the clock.
In between those two games, the Bills were blown out by the Cincinnati Bengals during the 2022 divisional playoff round at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park.
While McDermott didn't explicitly say that finding the right mindset is the number one thing that's going to take the Bills to the next level, he certainly referenced it during a number of his answers to the media. After seven seasons as head coach of the Bills, you would hope that he'd already have instilled that mindset within his team.
When a team fails to execute once or twice, it's likely a mistake by the players. But when they fail to execute time and time again, that falls back on the shoulders of their head coach and it's his job to right the ship. With Allen at quarterback, the Bills Super Bowl window will be open for a long time, but with certain other players aging, McDermott is running out of time, and perhaps, after another playoff blunder on Sunday night, he should have already met his demise as the Bills head coach.
It seems as if no one can answer why the Bills haven't gotten over the hump quite yet, but as head coach of the team, it's McDermott's job to find that answer and he'll have to act fast before his team suffers another heartbreaking defeat in next year's playoffs.