They were 13 of the worst seconds in Buffalo Bills history, and there’s nothing anyone in the organization can do to change what happened six months ago in Kansas City.
What’s done is done, and those ignominious moments at Arrowhead Stadium will forever be a part of Bills history, as will the two AFL championships in the mid-1960s, the 2-14 consecutive seasons of the mid-1960s. 1980, and the unprecedented victory of four consecutive AFC championships coupled with the loss of four consecutive Super Bowls in the early 1990s.
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier would love to step back in time and erase those two passes Patrick Mahomes completed to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce against the all-too-soft cover of his defense that set the Chiefs up for an inexplicable field goal that forced extensions.
Same goes for the lost toss and winning TD drive designed by Mahomes that didn’t even allow red hot Josh Allen to touch the ball in OT, an event so shocking the league was moved to change the rules of playoff overtime to ensure each team has the ball at least once.
But history offers no mulligans, and as the Bills prepare to start training camp at St. John Fisher University on Sunday morning, the focus must be on the here and now. they really hope to overcome one of the most mortifying losses. not only in the history of the Bills, but also in the history of the NFL.
“You have to be able to learn from the situation,” Frazier said. “You have to be able to rinse it off and move on. If you don’t, it will carry over to the next season. You need to be locked in on what can help us be the best in 2022, and you need to approach it that way. I think our guys do that. I think we’ve moved on.
Throughout the spring OTAs, it looked like the Bills had put their latest dubbed loss behind them – “13 Seconds” ranking right up there with “Wide Right” and “Music City Miracle.”
General manager Brandon Beane attacked free agency and the draft with vigor in an inspired effort to augment an already strong roster with players who could finally push the Bills to the glory that eluded them throughout the era of Super Bowl.
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Coach Sean McDermott reorganized his coaching staff following the departure of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who in turn coached several Bills coaches with him at the New York Giants.
And Allen, team leader that he is, went to great lengths to remind his teammates that the same goal they always had remains ahead of them in 2022.
“Everyone wants to talk about (13 seconds) and that’s what it is, it happened, there’s no turning back,” Allen said. “We’ve been completely focused on this next season and trying to figure out how to take the next step? How do we win this Super Bowl?
There was a consensus in the NFL stratosphere that if the Bills hadn’t blown it against Kansas City — and let’s face it, they blew it — they might have gone back to Fisher after a two-year hiatus as defending league champion. .
They would have hosted the Bengals in the AFC Championship game and been favored to win, and although the Rams proved to be a worthy champion, they barely beat Cincinnati playing at their home stadium in Los Angeles. .
We’ll never know what might have been because the Bills didn’t finish the job against the Chiefs and now, rather than hosting the Rams in the NFL’s traditional season opener on Sept. 8 as a as champions, they must head west as a visitor to play champions.
“We always talk about it, you go through adversity and various things happen in every season,” Beane said. “In the end, we didn’t succeed. And we talked about it, Sean and I talked about it at length, talked about it with the property and there’s nothing I can say that will fix it. I would love to do it again and Sean would do it too, our players would do it, our coaches. I’ve thought about it a million times. »
One thing bills need to guard against is paying too much attention to what is said about them. Almost everywhere you turn they are considered to have the best team in the league and are betting favorites to win it all.
As such, fan base expectations are skyrocketing as they once did in the days of Marv Levy, Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed. Of course, none of that means anything because they actually have to go out and win games, and they understand that.
“Just because we got as far as we did last year doesn’t mean it has nothing to do with this year,” left tackle Dion Dawkins said. “All those wins from last year are going away. Our record is 0-0.”
Said Allen: “We have the highest expectations of anyone. I know you can watch the media and hear different words after different words, and different thoughts after different thoughts, but we are here for one purpose and that is to win a world championship.
“We try to do everything we can do, and again we don’t put too much pressure on ourselves because we know what to expect. In terms of output and execution, we’re just trying to improve and play the best football we can.
They make the first move on that trip Sunday at Fisher.
“How we deal with distractions, the level of commitment we all have to each other as a team and how this thing comes together will ultimately determine where we go,” McDermott said.