The Buffalo Bills did a lot of great things in the 2021 NFL season. They posted a 13-3 regular-season record but ran into Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. Sean McDermott’s squad is looking to exact revenge on the two-time defending AFC champions. Offensive lineman Ryan Bates says the players are itching to get the bad taste out of their mouths.
Ryan Bates opens up on the Bills’ mentality heading into the Divisional Round
The Buffalo Bills haven’t been to the Super Bowl since 1993. They came so close to getting back there in the 2020 season. However, the Kansas City Chiefs stymied Buffalo’s chances with a 38-24 defeat in the AFC Championship Game.
Josh Allen and company could taste the mountaintop but couldn’t get over the hump in 2020. Could it be different this time around? The Bills sure seem to think so.
Starting left guard Ryan Bates suggests the vibe in the locker room is different heading into the Divisional Round tilt against the Chiefs. He recently joined One Bills Live to discuss the mindset for the upcoming matchup.
“Last year definitely left a bad taste in our mouths, as you can imagine,” said Bates. “They have that picture of Stef [Diggs] watching them at the end of the game. Everybody’s excited to get back out there. We’re coming with some attitude. We’re gonna punch them right in the mouth, and we’re not gonna take any crap.”
Bates delivered quite the epic response. Now it’s time to walk the walk. The Bills will undoubtedly enter this game with a massive chip on their shoulders despite beating the Chiefs in the regular season.
Buffalo will look to build on its success from the regular-season win over the Chiefs
The Bills and Chiefs are developing somewhat of a budding rivalry in the AFC. The two teams have met three times in the past two seasons, with this Divisional Round matchup making No. 4.
Head coach Sean McDermott’s crew traveled to Kansas City in Week 5 for a Sunday Night Football clash. It was the first meeting between the two since the AFC Championship Game, and Buffalo was looking to make a statement. That’s exactly what the AFC East champions did.
The Bills dominated the Chiefs from start to finish en route to a convincing 38-20 victory. Josh Allen outdueled Patrick Mahomes. The Wyoming product threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 59 yards and another score.
Leslie Frazier’s defense also came to play. The unit held the explosive Chiefs offense to 392 total yards and forced three Patrick Mahomes turnovers.
Buffalo will be facing a different Kansas City team this time around. Andy Reid’s squad is much better on both sides of the ball. Still, the Bills can take some things from the first meeting and apply them to the playoff rematch.
Buffalo is a strong running team, led by Allen and Devin Singletary. The Chiefs lack a dominant run defense, which could spell trouble for the defending AFC champs. The Bills also boast the league’s top-ranked defense, making for an intriguing matchup against Mahomes and company.
What’s the ceiling for Josh Allen and company?
The Bills have had an up and down 2021 season. They looked like a Super Bowl contender at times. Other times, they looked shaky, including the embarrassing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Buffalo has navigated the ebbs and flows of the season, though. The Bills finished strong and looked fantastic down the stretch. They reeled off four straight victories to close out the season.
Although the AFC East champions looked really good toward the end of the regular season, few expected them to do what they did to the New England Patriots in the Wild Card Round. Buffalo put on a clinic and routed Bill Belichick and company 47-17.
The Patriots looked like a potential Super Bowl contender at one point, but teams started to expose them down the stretch. The Bills just put them out of their misery.
Buffalo dominated New England on both sides of the ball. When this team is firing on all cylinders, it’s a tough out regardless of who it faces. With a top-3 offense and defense, the Bills are a complete and balanced attack.
Ryan Bates said it best. Even though the Bills knocked off the Chiefs in the regular season, they haven’t done it in the postseason. This is a team with something to prove. If Buffalo plays its game, it can beat anyone.
From top to bottom, the Bills are a legitimate threat not only to reach the Super Bowl but win it all.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference