Bills not content with first AFC East title in 25 years
ORCHARD PARK, NY (AP) - Defensive end Jerry Hughes was so caught up in the euphoria of the Bills' 25-year-old Premier League title that the longest-serving player on the team missed what was on the front of the championship T-shirts was printed on it.
Hughes took a sip of Gatorade after a 48:19 win over Denver on Saturday, looked down at his chest, and was immediately impressed when he read, "WON NOT DONE."
"Coach is a brilliant thinker," said Hughes, referring to Sean McDermott. "We have already reached this milestone and it is already one step ahead and preparing us for the next opponent." So is this team. That's why we can achieve such great things. "
The Bills (11-3) have won seven out of eight to break New England's NFL record of 11 years in the division. They have an exterior shot of second place in the conference by owning the tiebreaker over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
However, qualifying for the playoffs is no longer measured as a measure of success in Buffalo. Instead, it's just one step for a team that has succeeded in their last two playoff games after wildcard losses to Jacksonville (January 2017) and Houston last winter.
"We have a lot more to do," said Hughes in his 11th NFL season and eighth in Buffalo.
This is Buffalo's most comprehensive talent collection since at least 1999 in a season that ended in the loss of the wildcard playoffs Music City Miracle in Tennessee.
16:15 after Steve Christie's 41-yard field goal with a 16-second lead, the Bills allowed the Titans to score on Kevin Dyson's 75-yard return, which was set up by a lateral from Frank Wychek.
What followed was the split from Buffalo's Super Bowl teams, with the Bills releasing what would become Hall of Famers Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed about six weeks later. And it sparked a 17-year playoff drought that ended in 2017.
Buffalo's 11 wins this season are their highest since 1999. The team has not won 12 since 1993. It has not won a playoff game since a 37:22 win over Miami in the wildcard round on December 30, 1995.
Led by quarterback Josh Allen, the offense produced franchise record pace across numerous categories.
His 4,000 yards past is already second on the team list, 359 fewer than Drew Bledsoe's 2002 record. Buffalo's 407 points are 51 fewer than the 1991 season record.
Buffalo's defense has turned the corner from early season fighting.
The last eight games allowed an average of 333 yards per game, 54 fewer than the first six. And the unit suddenly created insults, scoring consecutive touchdowns after Hughes made a mistake of 21 yards against Denver.
"We're going to enjoy this evening tonight," said Hughes. "But we know the job isn't done."
An offense that caused 29 initial losses to Denver and extended its franchise record streak from 20 or more initial losses to 13 consecutive games.
WHAT NEEDS HELP?
Penalties for the red zone. Buffalo was tagged on three straight snaps from the first to the fifth gate to the first gate of the 30th. Allen saved everyone by beating rookie Jake Kumerow in second place for a 22-yard TD pass. The bills were penalized six times for 50 yards within the Broncos 20.
The running-back tandem of Devin Singletary and rookie Zack Moss was combined to just 21 carry and a touchdown for 149 yards. Buffalo ran over 150 meters for the third time this season.
Left security guard Ike Boettger was marked twice for holding in the Broncos 20.
McDermott said the test results were "not overly worrying" when referring to WR Stefon Diggs, who suffered a foot injury in the fourth quarter. ... WR / Returner Andre Roberts did not return due to a back injury. OL Daryl Williams had a groin injury.
30 - Allen's TDs pass, three minutes before the record set by Hall of Famer Jim Kelly in 1991.
The Bills enjoy an eight-day hiatus before playing Monday Night Football in New England. Buffalo defeated the Patriots on November 1st at 24:21.
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