HC Sean McDermott evaluates where Bills need to improve most heading into Week 2

Consulting With The Coaches

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A day after losing to the Jets on Monday Night Football, Bills head coach Sean McDermott had a chance to thoroughly review the film and assess where things went wrong after holding a 13-3 halftime lead.

McDermott pointed out the turnovers in his postgame presser, and he reiterated that during his Tuesday afternoon press conference as the main culprit for the 22-16 defeat. 

“We had three of them in the second half alone and any time you turn the ball over, it’s hard to win,” McDermott said. 

Josh Allen was on the wrong end of all three second-half turnovers, throwing two interceptions and fumbling once. The Bills QB put the blame on himself during his postgame press conference and McDermott noted it was a positive sign of leadership as the team tries to put the loss behind them.

“He’s great with that in terms of taking ownership,” McDermott said Tuesday. “Josh is very upfront about it as you know and he wants to get it corrected.” 

McDermott shared that upon a closer review of Allen’s three interceptions, there wasn’t necessarily one thing that led to the turnovers, though some of the situations were similar. 

“Just overall balls thrown down the field,” McDermott noted. “Sometimes we needed the yards, sometimes we didn’t need yards. Just trying to be smart and play good situationally smart football and just trying to do too much sometimes.”

After wanting to get a better understanding of the Bills’ punt coverage in overtime, McDermott said the film gave him a clearer picture as to how Xavier Gipson returned it 65 yards for the game-winning score.

“Not good enough execution by our coverage team there,” he said. 

“Anytime you kick one down the middle of the field, it’s not a good thing because obviously there’s multiple ways that they could go with it. As I mentioned last night, you’d like to pin them on or near the numbers, or even closer to the sideline. Unfortunately, there were a lot of hands in that, it’s never just one person — could have had a better snap, punt and obviously the coverage as well. So gotta do a better job.”

It’s the first time an NFL game has ended in a punt return for a touchdown since the 2011 season and the first time Sam Martin had a punt run back for a score since joining the Bills in 2022.

No NFL team allowed a higher yards per carry in Week 1 than the Bills defense, which surrendered 6.1 yards per rush. In total, Buffalo gave up 172 yards on the ground.

McDermott said the main issue the Bills had in defending the run against the Jets was poor gap integrity from all levels of the defense. 

Buffalo’s defense will be tasked with slowing down 2022 NFL rushing champ Josh Jacobs in Week 2 when the Raiders come to town for the home opener. McDermott will be stressing ways to shed blocks and get to the ball carrier sooner in the play during practice this week.

“Physicality at the point of attack is important for us,”McDermott said. “Use of our hands to get off blocks and defeat blocks and then tackling overall, I think that’s going to be important as we continue to move throughout the season here.”

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