ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Sitting glumly at a desk contained in the Payments’ observe facility on Monday, quarterback Josh Allen had problem coming to grips with how a lot his group completed and overcame, solely to wind up no nearer to the Tremendous Bowl.
Extra troubling for Allen and the Payments — a day after they were throttled 27-10 by the Cincinnati Bengals within the divisional spherical of the playoffs — is the prospect that they took a step again.
“Recency bias from this final recreation, I do know everyone’s going to lose their minds, however we did loads of good issues this 12 months,” Allen mentioned.
But after Buffalo matched a franchise document with 13 wins, gained a 3rd consecutive AFC East title and completed a half-game behind top-seeded Kansas Metropolis, Allen nonetheless completed the season with a sense of being, as he put it, “sick to my abdomen.”
“It (stinks) feeling such as you’re shut and never with the ability to accomplish it,” he added. “It’s been the final three years with a really comparable feeling. We’ve bought to proceed to push ahead and discover a technique to recover from this hump.”
It may effectively be humps, plural, now for Buffalo.
The Payments made it to the AFC championship recreation after the 2020 season, dropping at Kansas Metropolis. Final 12 months, they fell once more on the street to the Chiefs, this time within the divisional spherical. Now, Buffalo finds itself overtaken by Joe Burrow and the Bengals within the AFC’s pecking order.
In contrast to a 12 months in the past, when Allen went toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes and Buffalo squandered a three-point lead within the last seconds of a gripping 42-36 time beyond regulation loss, the Payments let the Bengals take a 14-0 lead within the first quarter and responded meekly.
The Bengals uncovered Buffalo’s many weaknesses. Amongst them: an a injury-depleted defensive entrance lacking Von Miller, a younger and banged-up secondary and an offense overly reliant on Allen and Stefon Diggs.
“I’m a giant believer in who you’re within the final recreation of the season, by way of what you noticed on the sector. And that’s what you need to handle. And so clearly, we weren’t ok yesterday,” coach Sean McDermott mentioned, whereas acknowledging the hole between the Payments and the AFC’s elite has narrowed in a convention stocked with quarterback expertise.
“That’s additionally why and the explanation why we should proceed to develop, and we have now to reply that query of can we compete at that degree,” McDermott mentioned. “Can we deal with these quarterbacks? And who should we have now to assist us do this?”
The Payments might want to retool whereas having little wage cap area and a roster that options 21 gamers eligible to change into unrestricted free brokers. That group consists of center linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, beginning security Jordan Poyer and working again Devin Singletary.
Singletary was so surprised by Buffalo’s loss that he mentioned he’s given no thought to his future.
“To be trustworthy, I didn’t assume the season was going to be over, so I believed I nonetheless had time to consider it,” the fourth-year participant mentioned.
Offensive lineman Rodger Saffold acknowledged the Payments have been emotionally spent following a season wherein their schedule was twice disrupted by winter storms and their recreation at Cincinnati on Jan. 2 was canceled when security Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and needed to be resuscitated on the sector.
“We’ve not been capable of take a breath because the Damar state of affairs, and it has been actually weighing heavy on lots of people,” Saffold mentioned, noting that it lastly caught as much as the group on Sunday. “It was virtually like being in quicksand, just like the more durable that you just fought, the deeper that you just sank.”
Hamlin was healthy enough to attend the sport and go to the locker room on Sunday.
NOT DIGGING IT
Operating again Duke Johnson took it upon himself to chase down a annoyed Diggs, who bolted from the locker room instantly following the loss and earlier than McDermott had an opportunity to handle the group. Johnson persuaded Diggs to return.
“I feel Diggs wants extra credit score than I do as a result of Diggs didn’t should hearken to me,” Johnson mentioned.
“He’s annoyed like all of us are,” McDermott mentioned. “He was in in the present day. He and I spoke, and I’ll depart it at that.”
Diggs didn’t make himself accessible to the media. However, he tweeted: “Need me to be okay with our degree of play when it’s lower than the usual? Nah.”
Allen mentioned he is not going to require surgical procedure after spraining a ligament in his throwing elbow throughout a 20-17 loss on the New York Jets on Nov. 6. The damage initially altered his throwing movement. Allen mentioned he felt absolutely recovered a number of weeks in the past.
Defensive sort out Jordan Poyer mentioned he’ll require surgical procedure to restore a torn rotator cuff, which led to him lacking two video games in December. With no threat to irritate the damage, Phillips performed in Buffalo’s last three video games.
Security Micah Hyde mentioned he would have been cleared to play this weekend if the Payments had superior. Hyde returned to observe two weeks in the past after being sidelined since Week 3, when he had surgical procedure to restore a herniated disk.
Fueling Hyde’s want to return was the chance to line up with Poyer within the secondary for at the least yet one more recreation. Hyde and Poyer bonded upon signing with Buffalo on the identical day in free company in 2017.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL