McDermott: 'We didn't give ourselves a chance to win the game'

The Bills dropped their season opener on Sunday to Steelers, 23-16
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A day after the Buffalo Bills suffered a 23-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2021 regular season opener for both teams, head coach Sean McDermott said he and his coaching staff have to do a better job of giving their team a chance to win the football game.

“The game usually comes down to a few plays, a handful of plays here or there, and they all happened in a stretch of X amount of minutes it felt like, and the momentum changed drastically,” McDermott told reporters via Zoom during his weekly Monday press conference.

“There’s a saying that goes, 'before you win, you’ve got to prevent yourself from losing.' In those situations, I didn’t think we gave ourselves a legitimate chance to win the game. That’s something we’ve got to do better this week. And when you get a punt blocked against you for a touchdown, statistically that’s hard to win, in those games. Then we don’t give ourselves a real legit chance on that fourth down to gain the first down. You go back and say, 'hey, we’ve got to do a better job there as a coaching staff.'"

The fourth down call he’s referring to was particularly being scrutinized by fans and the media on Monday. Leading 10-6 and facing a 4th-and-1 early in the fourth quarter, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll called a fake quarterback sneak and backward pass to running back Matt Breida that wound up losing seven yards.

The Steelers took over on downs, and eventually scored the go-ahead touchdown later that drive. They’d never lose the lead again.

“We’ve got to give ourselves a chance to get the first down, and we didn’t give ourselves a chance to get the first down,” McDermott said of that play. “That’s probably the most disappointing thing about it.”

You can listen to McDermott's entire conference call with the media below:

Podcast Episode
Bills Football
09-13 Sean McDermott