At one point this season, the Buffalo Bills were 4-1 and fresh off of a beatdown of the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5, and all signs pointed to them having potentially turned the corner in 2021. They've since lost four of their last seven games, including to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and only two weeks after being boat raced by the Indianapolis Colts, they've now lost their second AFC matchup in a row -- this time to Bill Belichick and the visiting New England Patriots at Highmark Stadium on Monday.
It was a game that featured gale force winds and all that came with them -- from knuckle curve field goals to an outright refusal from Belichick to let rookie first-round pick Mac Jones throw the ball. Even with Jones finishing with only two completions on three attempts for 19 yards and no touchdowns, Buffalo's Sean McDermott still couldn't find a way to grab a win.
But while he's taking his medicine for the loss, he wants everyone to dial down the 2021 coronation of Belichick.
"Let's not give more credit than we need to give credit to Bill Belichick in this one," McDermott told media after the 14-10 loss, via NESN.com. "Whether it was Bill or anybody else, they beat us, right? But you sit here and you tell me when we start with an average starting field position of the 40-yard line and he starts with the 23-yard line -- I'm rounding up in both cases -- and we were 1 for 4 in the red zone and they were 0 for 1 in the red zone? You give me that ahead of time, I'd say I like my chances. I like my chances.
"I don't think, with all due respect, it's not a Bill Belichick-type thing. It's what are you doing with the opportunities you got? What are you doing with the opportunities you got? We turned the ball over on the plus-30-something yard line. Sloppy football.
"Sloppy football. I'm very comfortable in that situation."
The Bills were able to take advantage of one of the biggest mistakes of the game, made when Belichick asked N'Keal Harry to return a punt that ended in a muff off of his helmet and into the hands of Buffalo, which then scored shortly after on a strike from Josh Allen to wide receiver Gabriel Davis; but that was the one and only touchdown the Bills would get. And, to McDermott's point, the Bills won several statistical categories on Monday night -- e.g., third-down conversion rate, number of offensive plays, fewer penalties, number of first downs -- and none of it mattered in the end.
Things don't get any easier this coming week as the Bills travel to take on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with another matchup against Belichick and the Patriots looming on Dec. 26, so the sooner they can cure whatever infected their mojo in Week 6 and beyond, the better. Currently sitting at 7-5 on the year and falling further behind a surging Patriots team, it's either go time for Buffalo, or go home time.