Sean McDermott didn’t handle his team’s loss to the Patriots well. The Bills’ head coach was reluctant to give Bill Belichick credit for the Patriots’ defensive game plan, instead casting blame on his team’s inability to convert in the red zone — passively ripping offensive coordinator Brian Daboll in the process. But Daboll isn’t the only person about whom McDermott spoke candidly.
When asked about why he sat his top two kick returners, McDermott pointed to N’Keal Harry’s fumble, which led to the Bills’ only touchdown.
“Yeah, the same reason that they turned it over, the same reason they turned it over on their punt return team, I wasn’t willing to do that," McDermott said. "I wanted to put a guy back there that I trusted that was going to make good decisions with the ball.”
Well, one of those returners read McDermott’s comments early Tuesday, and expressed his surprise on Twitter. Isaiah McKenzie tweeted just one word: “damn.”
McDermott’s decision to bench McKenzie and Marquez Stevenson wasn’t without reason. The two players muffed kicks in Buffalo’s previous two games. Still, there was a better way for McDermott to explain McKenzie’s and Stevenson’s benching. He didn’t have to tell reporters he doesn’t trust them with the ball.
But McDermott apparently wasn’t in the mood for diplomacy. He was also blunt in his assessment of Daboll’s performance. “Well, I didn’t think honestly we took advantage of opportunities tonight,” McDermott said. “I really didn’t. I mean, the ball’s at the 40 yard line. You know? We’re one for four in the red zone. So we’ve got to figure that part of it out.”
McDermott’s dismissive attitude seemingly trickled down to his players as well, with safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde expressing offense when asked if they were embarrassed to allow so many rushing yards to the Patriots, who only threw the ball three times.
Sniping aside, the Bills played the Patriots close. If Josh Allen converted one of his two passes inside the 20 late in the fourth, the Bills would’ve probably walked out of Orchard Park victorious. But McDermott seemed rattled after the game. He’s now 2-7 in his career against the Patriots, with both wins coming last season.
Perhaps McDermott senses the Bills’ AFC East dominance will only wind up up lasting for one COVID year.