Culture overcomes raw talent as Bills move to 9-3


The Buffalo Bills traveled to Dallas and beat the talented Cowboys, 26-15, moving to a surprising 9-3 record. In what was the biggest challenge of the year so far, taking on “America’s Team” at their home field on Thanksgiving, Buffalo took control of the game and made national media’s pre-game thoughts look silly. It was a statement win for the Bills and their way of building a championship contender, preaching a culture-first mentality.

“You ask for guys to do things and they don’t flinch. ‘Whatever you need me to do, coach.’ That’s the kind of response we get and that’s refreshing. It’s a team put together of guys that care about one another. They’re willing to work hard,” Head Coach Sean McDermott said. “We’re not where we need to be, yet. This is a step and I’m extremely proud of the guys. I thought that Josh Allen had a heck of a game. That fourth-down conversion, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. Just a phenomenal, competitive play. He was smart with the football. We drove the ball and it was a good blend of run and pass.”

(AP Photo/Roger Steinman)

This successful campaign has been the result of a hard-working group of players, who enjoy to be around each other on daily basis, creating a bond that makes their battles on game days more than just normal games for them. They really fight for each other, and it shows when you watch their games. “Man, there’s a bond here that I don’t think can happen in many places just with the way it’s kind of set up. I can explain everything, but we’re always together”, said wide receiver Cole Beasley, after he put on a show with six receptions for 110 yards and one score against his former team. “It’s a different kind of brotherhood here and we’re always together. Our kids are together, the coaches, the players – everything. It’s really a unique and awesome thing that we have here in Buffalo, and I know my family has loved every bit of it. That’s part of why I said I’d play here until the wheels fall off.”

His words are echoed by the entire roster. You consistently see guys deferring the praise to each other when things go right, and defending their teammates and coaching staff in difficult times. They’re acting as a true family — a word that is consistently thrown around in sports but rarely is justified by the team’s actions during a season.

Another example of their strong brotherhood is how Beasley’s teammates took this game in a personal way, despite the WR downplaying any sort of “revenge game” mentality by him. “The guys took care of that, man. I’m extremely proud of Cole and happy for him. He’s worked hard. Obviously, we’re happy to have him on our team. He said that to me before the game and I’m just grateful for him and his mindset as well, because of what he comes from, what he stands for. He’s got a great family that supports him and, like I said, he’s just a piece – one piece – but there’s a lot of other stories in our locker room of guys like Cole that maybe it didn’t work out in one spot but it works out in Buffalo. That’s really the culture we’re trying to build, where guys go to Buffalo, whether it’s right from college or from another team in the NFL and they can become the best version of themselves”, said coach McDermott. Josh Allen, after enjoying another awesome performance with 231 yards and one TD in the air, plus 43 yards and another score on the ground, this time in front of all the nation’s eyes, also had some words about his wide receiver: “Yeah, I mean he’s a baller. Can’t say more than that; dude just loves playing the game of football. He’s just a great guy to be around. Very vibrant guy and to go out there and do what he did there today against his former team. Everybody knows that’s a big thing for him, whether he wants to admit it or not. You know he helped the team win today and did his job”.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Bills have a shot to clinch a playoff spot with a win against the Baltimore Ravens next week, in what should be an electrifying matchup between two strong defenses and two of the most exciting young playmakers in the league, Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen. I’m not sure if Buffalo is the most talented team, but I certainly can trust them playing their hearts out for themselves, their families, their teammates and fans. They’re not a finished product, but they’re headed in the right direction.