Coach Sean McDermott assesses the key areas for improvement as the Bills prepare for Week 2
A day following their loss to the Jets on Monday Night Football, Bills head coach Sean McDermott thoroughly analyzed the game film to pinpoint areas of concern after squandering a 13-3 halftime lead.
McDermott emphasized turnovers in his postgame press conference and reiterated their impact during his Tuesday afternoon briefing as the primary cause of the 22-16 defeat.
"We had three of them in the second half alone, and anytime you turn the ball over, it's challenging to secure a victory," McDermott stated.
Josh Allen bore the brunt of all three second-half turnovers, with two interceptions and a fumble. In his postgame presser, the Bills QB shouldered the blame, a gesture appreciated by McDermott as a sign of leadership as the team aims to move past the loss.
"He's great at taking ownership," McDermott remarked on Tuesday. "Josh is very candid about it, and he's determined to rectify it."
Upon closer examination of Allen's three interceptions, McDermott noted that there wasn't a single factor leading to the turnovers, although some situations were similar.
"Just overall, throws down the field," McDermott observed. "Sometimes we needed yards, sometimes not. We're striving for smart, situational football, but sometimes trying to do too much."
After reviewing the Bills' punt coverage in overtime, McDermott acknowledged that the film clarified how Xavier Gipson returned it 65 yards for the game-winning score.
"Our coverage team's execution wasn't up to par," he acknowledged. "Kicking one down the middle is not ideal because there are multiple options for the return. Ideally, we want to pin them closer to the sideline. It's not solely one person's fault, as there were issues with the snap, punt, and coverage. We need to improve."
This marked the first NFL game ending in a punt return for a touchdown since 2011 and the first time Sam Martin had a punt run back for a score since joining the Bills in 2022.
The Bills' defense had a challenging start, allowing the highest yards per carry in Week 1, surrendering 6.1 yards per rush and yielding a total of 172 rushing yards.
McDermott identified the primary problem as poor gap integrity across all levels of the defense when defending the run against the Jets.
Buffalo's defense faces the formidable challenge of containing the 2022 NFL rushing champ, Josh Jacobs, when the Raiders visit for the home opener in Week 2. McDermott emphasized the importance of shedding blocks, quicker ball carrier pursuit, physicality at the point of attack, hand use to defeat blocks, and overall tackling improvement in practice this week.
"Physicality at the point of attack is crucial for us," McDermott stressed. "Our ability to use our hands to disengage and tackle effectively will be vital as we progress through the season."