McDermott: Good team win, but a lot to correct

The Bills head coach has a list of items he wants team to improve upon

Sal Capaccio
September 11, 2017 - 9:07 pm

Photo: Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports


Make no mistake. Sean McDermott is pleased with how his team performed Sunday, beating the New York Jets 21-12 to open the 2017 season. But the Buffalo Bills head coach still felt there were plenty of areas to improve upon heading into week two against the 1-0 Carolina Panthers.

“I would start off with missed opportunities in the first half,” McDermott told reporters Monday when asked what those areas included. “When you looked at yardage-wise, at least in the first half, offense vs. defense, we had opportunities to put points on the board in the first half, which we didn’t capitalize on, which we have to and will do going forward.”

The Bills dominated the Jets statistically in the first half. They out-gained them 236-85 overall, already had 110-yards rushing, and had fifteen first downs compared to New York’s four. But an interception in the endzone on their opening drive and a missed field goal in the second quarter kept the Jets within one point at the half, 7-6.

“Then, penalties, changing the field position on special teams,” he said. “We were having a change of possession in one particular situation, with punt return, and we had a costly penalty on us, and that changed field position.”

For the game, the Bills committed a total of six penalties for 50-yards against.  

“Finally, I would say at the top of my mind right now of the long list is 4-minute offense,” the first-year head coach said. “As well as we played at times offensively, I thought we could have finished the game off in a more commanding, if you will, approach offensively, and we didn’t get that done. A long list of things to get better at.”

The Bills took a 21-12 lead with 12:47 remaining in the fourth quarter. They went three-and-out on their next two possessions, gaining a total of seven-yards, then ran only six plays for 20-yards on their next possession, once again having to punt.

Fortunately for the Bills, during that stretch, their defense stepped up and made sure the Jets couldn’t take advantage, forcing two punts and picking off quarterback Josh McCown twice over their final four possessions.

“It was an entire building win,” McDermott said after the game. “Good to win as a team and extremely proud of the players the way they played. It’s never easy to win in this league and they played hard for four quarters. I certainly appreciate that. I also appreciate the fans. Four quarters, hanging in there with us. The intensity, the energy in this building was outstanding. Outstanding. To carry that for four quarters, I can’t thank them enough. It’s great to play at home, and we look forward to seeing them in a couple weeks here.”

Injury update

The Bills came out of their first game relatively well on the injury front. Cornerback E.J. Gaines is the only player who did not finish the game. McDermott said Monday Gaines has a shoulder contusion and was still being evaluated.  

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