The Buffalo Bills finally got Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Buffalo for Sunday's NFL Divisional Round game, but it was the same old result as Mahomes beat Josh Allen and the Bills 27-24 to end Buffalo's season yet again. The franchise still hasn't been back to the Super Bowl since losing four straight in the early 1990s. Might ownership actually decide to move on from head coach Sean McDermott despite all his regular-season success? SportsLine offers odds on his future.
Back when the Bills were struggling at 6-6 and far from a sure thing to even make the playoffs, it The Athletic reported that there was "zero" chance Bills owner Terry Pegula would fire McDermott at any point this season. Well, the season is over, but both McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane signed extensions with Buffalo last June, tying them to the Bills organization through the 2027 season. McDermott's Bills have lasted until the AFC Championship Game once, the Divisional Round three times and lost in the Wild Card Round twice in their six playoff runs under him.
McDermott is a stellar 73-41 in the regular season and has won three straight AFC East titles. But his Bills are 5-6 in the playoffs and 0-3 against Kansas City. If you can't get past Patrick Mahomes, you aren't winning the AFC title. Just ask quarterbacks like Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger about facing Tom Brady and the Patriots in the playoffs most years.
McDermott is under some fire by Bills fans today for a bizarre fake punt call on fourth-and-5 from Buffalo's own 30. Damar Hamlin got the ball and was stuffed for 2 yards on the failed fake. The call didn't didn't end up being costly because the Chiefs failed to score on the ensuing drive thanks to a Mecole Hardman fumble into the end zone, but the logic of the move was still questionable. McDermott is in charge of the Buffalo defense and the Chiefs averaged a whopping 7.7 yards per play and scored on their first five non-kneel possessions.
To be fair to McDermott, his defense was not close to full strength with All-Pro linebacker Matt Milano, two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Tre'Davious White and starting defensive tackle Jordan Phillips all on injured reserve.
"We were within a whisker of tying that game and maybe even taking the lead there against the defending world champs," McDermott said. "It starts with me. I take full responsibility. ... We didn't do enough to win the game. … We've got to continue to work at it. That's where it starts. We'll turn over every leaf this offseason and I'm fully confident in this football team [and] fully confident in our staff."
Allen said postgame that he doesn't believe the Bills need "a big change" to advance, and the quarterback's voice obviously carries major weight.
One could argue the team's Super Bowl window closes a bit further with every playoff loss. Buffalo enters the 2024 offseason well over the projected salary cap. Key players such as receiver Gabe Davis, safety Micah Hyde and defensive ends Leonard Floyd and A.J. Epenesa, among others, are free agents. Top wide receiver Stefon Diggs seems very unhappy in Buffalo and could force a trade.
If McDermott became available, he'd certainly have little trouble getting another head coaching job. He was a former defensive coordinator with Carolina and the Panthers' top job is open.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Will Sean McDermott be the Bills' coach for Week 1 of the 2024 season?
- Yes -220
- No +170
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