The Buffalo Bills (2-5) are in a free-fall.
The offense is ranked dead last in scoring (averaging a league-worst 11.6 points per game), including an abysmal effort during Sunday’s 37-5 clunker vs. the Indianapolis Colts. Buffalo failed to score a point in the first half, the third time in the last four games the Bills have entered the break with zero points on the board. The Bills also committed five turnovers Sunday (three Derek Anderson interceptions, one Anderson fumble, plus a costly fumble by Charles Clay that permanently swung momentum towards the Colts).
The defense was gouged for 219 rushing yards on 30 carries (an average of 7.3 yards per rush).
In other words, nothing is working for head coach Sean McDermott, who saw his career record in Western New York fall to 11-12 after suffering his eighth loss (in 23 career games) by 20 or more points.
Up next? A “showdown” with the first-place New England Patriots (5-2), the antithesis of the Bills in almost every possible way.
This will be Buffalo’s first home Monday Night Football game in nearly a decade, and during Monday’s session with reporters, McDermott opened up about the significance of Monday Night Football, the atmosphere around the city and the stadium leading up to kickoff, and more.
“I remember growing up, I couldn’t wait to get home from school on Mondays because of Monday Night Football. The theme song of it was pretty cool,” McDermott said. “I used to try to sneak the fact that I was really supposed to be sleeping, and I was keeping one eye on the TV for as long as I could, as a young guy you know? To me, it’s part of an American tradition, Monday Night Football. It brings a lot of energy and excitement to a town.”
The last time the Bills hosted a Monday Night Football game, Buffalo welcomed the Cleveland Browns to then-Ralph Wilson Stadium on Nov. 17, 2008, a game the Bills lost 29-27 when Rian Lindell missed a 47-yard field goal.
Most of these current Bills were either in high school or college the last time Buffalo was on prime-time for Monday Night Football, and only six current Bills (Lorenzo Alexander, Derek Anderson, Stephen Hauschka, Ramon Humber, LeSean McCoy, and Kyle Williams) were even in the league the last time Buffalo hosted Monday Night Football.
Williams played in that loss to the Browns, amassing five total tackles. He is the only current Bill to experience a home Monday Night Football game.
McDermott was asked how important it is for his team to go out and perform on the national stage, and to put the most recent embarrassing loss behind them.
“It’s that, but it’s also balancing for some of our young guys,” McDermott said. “First time on Monday Night Football and then you add the equation of the opponent and some of the personnel, with respect to the quarterback, and Tom (Brady), that they go out and execute. It’s really an opportunity for us to continue to grow, and execute.”
The game is sold out and, despite Buffalo’s struggles, the atmosphere should be electric at New Era Field, in spite of the Bills opening as a 13-point home underdog. Will McDermott allow himself a second to soak in the raucous scene from Buffalo’s first home Monday Night Football game in 10 years?
“I think there is a fine line there, a balance. I’ve got a young football team on my hands, on our hands, the biggest thing is that we treat it as a normal game, with all due respect to the opponent and having it home. It’s great that we’re going to have a home game, number one, playing in front of our fans,” McDermott said. “We have to continue to grow and be able to execute in a situation like this. I’ve found that if you get too high then you lose yourself in the moment, and we can’t do that. This will be a little bit of a challenge for us and some of our young players, but it’s got to be one that they’re looking forward to.”