The Buffalo Bills weren’t supposed to be watching this weekend’s conference championship game from home. They were the consensus favorite to win the AFC. But after Sean McDermott was admittedly out-coached by Zac Taylor and his staff, and Josh Allen was out-played by Joe Burrow, the Bills’ season is over.
With Josh Allen in his prime but Buffalo unable to reach their Super Bowl aspirations for yet another season, what’s next for the Bills?
Are Stefon Diggs’ frustrations no big deal, or something more?
The short answer to both of those questions is yes and yes.
Sunday’s loss to the Bengals did not go over well with star wide receiver Stefon Diggs. On the broadcast and on the sidelines, Diggs was shown with his arms extended, looking at Allen sitting on the bench as snow fell and Buffalo’s season ticked away.
After the game, Diggs wasted no time. He was seen bolting from the Bills locker room with all of his possessions before some of the coaching staff made it up the tunnel. According to The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia, Diggs was stopped by practice squad running back Duke Johnson near the exit. Diggs went back to the Bills’ locker room but exited again shortly after.
Diggs took to Twitter to vent on Monday:
Sean McDermott said he had no problem with Diggs’ fiery reactions. Teammate Cold Beasley backed Diggs’ response as well:
“If he was happy about the situation, we wouldn’t want the guy on the team,” Beasley said. “He’s right in the way he reacted.”
At this point, it’s unlikely to think that Diggs’ emotions spilling out will signal the end of his time in Buffalo. However, the Bills need to pay attention to the bigger picture here. The standards are high for the Bills, and they fell well short.
Buffalo did nothing last offseason to add to the wide receiver room, one highlighted by Diggs. Gabe Davis was inconsistent this season, and outside of Diggs and Davis, the Bills have Khalil Shakir, John Brown, and Isaiah McKenzie. That’s not going to cut it.
Diggs is right to be frustrated.
Is Ken Dorsey the right man for the job?
With Brian Daboll departed, the Bills promoted Ken Dorsey to offensive coordinator. Dorsey spent a season as the passing game coordinator under Daboll with the writing on the wall that Daboll would be gone. Before that, Dorsey was the Bills’ quarterbacks coach for two seasons.
So, for Dorsey to have that much time with Josh Allen and that much time under Brian Daboll, his season left plenty to be desired.
Yes, the Bills ranked No. 2 in the NFL in yardage per game this season (397.6). But, no, that’s not a ringing endorsement of Dorsey. Not when you have Josh Allen under center. The Bills offense lacked the unpredictability that it had when Daboll was there. Dorsey’s offense felt like it was never getting the full potential out of the talent.
We talked about it before this season. The Bills’ offense looked disjointed at times despite winning 13 games. At one point, the question was asked: “is Josh Allen regressing?“
That’s unacceptable. If Buffalo was building toward something, maybe they consider Dorsey getting more time. But the Bills are supposed to play in the Super Bowl in a few weeks, not golfing. So it might be wise to consider whether they would be better off with someone else running the offense next season.
What happened in the trenches?
Buffalo was supposed to be able to beat the Bengals. Their defensive line was supposed to overwhelm a decimated Bengals offensive line. But, as we know, that didn’t happen.
Losing start pass rusher and mega-free agent signing Von Miller wasn’t ideal. Still, the Bills were counting on second-year defensive end Greg Rousseau and a pair of second-rounders in A.J. Epenesa and Boogie Basham to make a difference.
Instead, Epenesa and Basham were out-snapped by veteran Shaq Lawson. Sean McDermott also gave snaps to practice squad player Kingsley Johnathan.
Cincinnati was able to manhandle the Bills up front on both sides of the ball. Unfortunately, the Bills offensive line was just as bad as the defensive line. Buffalo made no additions to their offensive line last season, and it showed in their biggest game as Cincinnati’s defensive front looked overwhelmingly better.
The Bills will have questions to answer in the trenches this offseason if they hope to live up to their lofty expectations next season.