After the Bills’ win (and the Ravens’ loss) Sunday, McDermott said, No one gave this team a chance all year long, and for once, that no-respect ploy was genuine. Being judged in November on whether he was throwing away a playoff berth was not what anyone expected to be a topic around the Bills this year.
But they wrung everything out of LeSean McCoy, overcame the baffling, counterproductive use of Taylor’s strengths, survived without a healthy, reliable set of receivers and patched together enough of a defense to get by most weeks.
That’s not terribly uncommon on wild-card weekend — if either were more consistent, they’d be off this week. But here is a Jaguars team that physically dominated playoff contender Seattle in Week 14, then two weeks later got physically dominated itself by a 10-loss 49ers team. The Bills, meanwhile, in a three-week span earlier, gave up 298 rushing yards to the Saints and lost at home 47-10, then went to Kansas City and smothered Alex Smith’s offense in a 16-10 win. (The game in between, with Nathan Peterman starting … that is and always will be a separate issue.)
Vinnie Iyer: The Falcons have the much better run defense, but the Rams have the more dangerous backfield because of Gurley. The Rams will get into Matt Ryan’s face with Aaron Donald, while the Falcons won’t have the same success winning on the edge against tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein to get to Jared Goff.
The Bills appear to be the biggest Andy Dalton fan outside of Cincinnati.
The Bengals quarterback’s last-minute touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd not only secured a Cincinnati win over the Ravens, but sent the Bills to the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
Understandably, they’re asking what the Ravens do now after falling short too often, but never falling totally off the cliff. The mediocrity has a lot of moving parts, which Harbaugh acknowledged while praising how the players gritted it out this season, through an epic wave of injuries, until literally the last minute of the last game.
I’m disappointed. I’m hurt, because I wanted this team in the playoffs, Harbaugh said after the loss. I wanted this team in the playoffs for the team, the players, because of what they’ve done this year, how far they’ve come, the adversity they’ve overcome, what they’ve dealt with.