Opening Comments: Obviously reviewing the film, you know that’s about as painful of a loss as I can remember. We made mistakes. Obviously the tackling jumps out at you and some of the mistakes we made but the other thing that jumps out at me is the effort the team put out and the play of a lot of individuals. A lot of guys just played fantastic. But then to come up short and then the magnitude of the game is painful. Obviously it’s a loss that you lose sleep over and for myself, questioning things and what we should have done different or whatever. I can say this, a hell of a lot easier to do that in hindsight than it is at the moment it happens, but obviously this is the toughest defeat I’ve taken to this point as a Bills coach. They all hurt, but this one especially. So with that I’ll open it up for questions.
Q: You said that there were some things that you went back and questioned. Was punting one of those things that you’re looking back now and second-guessing yourself?
A: Well it’s easy to say that now. I’ve seen maybe one other time on a fourth-and-one inside your own territory that somebody went for it in a situation where the game was on the line. That was (Bill) Belichick and he never got it, lost the game against Indianapolis once but I don’t recall that ever happening. I told our coaches anything inside two yards I’d be ready to go for it even when we were backed up. I told Anthony (Lynn), last two drives of the game the same way. But after we got the stop—and I know it says fourth-and-two. It’s a long two, it’s more than that, but at the time it’s like let’s pin them back. We’ve done a decent job of stopping them at the end there but I thought we’d get the ball back and that’s why I made the decision. Now with that being said, sure it’s easy to say, ‘yeah absolutely we should have gone for it. Maybe we convert, maybe we go down and win.’ But at the time I don’t think it was the appropriate call.
Q: At that point did you know that a tie would eliminate you?
A: What’s that?
Q: Did you know when you made that decision that a tie would eliminate you from playoff contention?
A: Yes. You hate to admit it, but yeah, you’re watching. You see the scoreboard or something but to me, a tie was never, ever a consideration for us. We were going to go for the win and that’s exactly how we were going to play it. But there’s a lot of things that happened in that game and when you look at you give up 200 yards, albeit you give up 60 on a play when there’s 10 guys out there, which is my responsibility, I’m responsible for everything, but everybody’s a professional. You have a job to do. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen and it should never happen and it did happen. And it cost us the game. That’s how I look at it. That play right there contributed mightily in costing us the football game.
Q: Why did it happen?
A: Again, I’m not going to—it’s my responsibility. That’s all I’ll say. It’s my responsibility like everything is 100 percent on that field. Every bit of it is my responsibility and I’ve got broad shoulders and I’ll own up to it and I’ll take it, every bit of it. But I know what happened.
Q: When you say the most ridiculous thing, can you expand on what made it ridiculous?
A: I know what it is, but I’m not going to get into it.
Q: Everything, other than the loss, went the way you needed it to this weekend to stay alive in the playoff hunt, but on your end it didn’t go that way.
A: We talked to our team about it and this sounds nuts but we anticipated that what happened would happen. We did anticipate it and it’s what we thought. I feel terrible. I feel horrible for our players, that they believed in what we told them and then for us to come up short, be down 14 and keep climbing back in there, find a way and things just didn’t go our way. There’s a lot of things when you look at it on film, it’s like man, this sure looks like a pass interference. Twice. But it wasn’t called and then here’s ‘this,’ here’s ‘that.’ You overcome everything and then to lose the way we did, it’s just painful beyond belief.
Q: Just to clarify, you’re not saying it was ridiculous that your player didn’t go on the field, you’re saying that the situation with (Stephon) Gilmore coming back, that was the ridiculous part, right?
A: Well I don’t want to get into the exact—my thing is that we should have had 11 players on the field.
Q: Without getting into specifics or blaming anyone, you have more than 20 coaches on staff. Shouldn’t that information get to you somehow?
A: I get it. The information should have been there, we should have had 11 guys on the field. That’s true. That’s a true statement, 100 percent true statement. One-hundred percent accurate.
Q: Is Stephon still in the concussion protocol?
A: Yep, he’s in there.
Q: Was your understanding that he’d be able to go back on the field? Was that the miscommunication?
A: I’m not going to get into it, guys.
Q: Going back to the punt, was there any thought process that Miami would be okay with a tie? If they got the ball back, they could just sort of sit on it, you know what I mean?
A: No, that wasn’t it. I knew I had a timeout, there’s four minutes and change left, figured we’d pin them deep and we had a good punt, we got the ball where we wanted it and obviously. I wouldn’t have called timeout on the first play but I was going to have it to see exactly how they played it. Thought we’d been doing a decent job on third down getting off the field and like I say, it’s easy to go back and trust me, I’ve gone back and went for it on fourth down 100 times. But I know in my heart at the time that I did it, I thought I was making the right decision.
Q: Did you get an explanation as to why Corey White did not get the timeout before the field goal at the end of regulation?
A: I am not sure.
Q: How much does burn at you that this last game could be your defining moment of your career here in Buffalo?
A: Well I hope it isn’t. If it is, it is something I got to live with.
Q: That can’t be easy for someone as prideful as you?
A: I am telling you right now how difficult it is. You know I had, you know a lot of games in my career I have coached there is one other game that I can I think in my career that is as painful as this one.
Q: Was that maybe one of the AFC Championship losses?
A: No, but it was a playoff game.
Q: You said after the game Tyrod would remain the starting quarterback, do you still stand by that?
A: Well as a coach I just want to win, I think these players deserve it and I think it is, I don’t think it is in the best interest of our team you know not to play Tyrod (Taylor). The way I look at it is this if I sit Tyrod Taylor down okay, and I don’t sit Kyle Williams down it is because Kyle (Williams) you are not as important as Tyrod (Taylor) or this player is not as important as this guy or whatever. I think we just you know I want to win the game that is how I look at it. The next opportunity we have I want to win the game.
Q: So he will start?
A: Hey it’s, I am going to say this, yes Tyrod (Taylor) will start. If there is something that happens and there is something I don’t know, that I am not aware of you know injury wise or whatever that can affect anything. Whether it is Tyrod or anybody else, but to my knowledge Tyrod is fine.
Q: Has anyone encouraged you in the front office to not start Tyrod so you can evaluate the future?
Q: What about that question in regards to other positions?
A: Well no that is what I am saying. Is there a chance to maybe look at a guy I want to look at is Logan Thomas. You know to maybe give him some reps I think so, but I am still going to play Charles Clay. He gives us the best chance to win. But Logan Thomas is a guy I want to see something from.
Q: Was there a thought going into the Miami that there was a chance of maybe solidifying you and the coaching staffs chance of coming back next season?
A: We just want to win the game and try and get in the playoffs. You know that is the only thing we were concerned about. You know our thoughts weren’t on the future. Future is only a whole string of now’s and we are just worried about the present that is all we cared about.
Q: You said the TV audio would back you up on getting the timeout before the field goal where you able to go back?
A: I know what happened. So I am comfortable I know exactly what happened. I know the whole process of it. Not just the last second of it, I know the whole process of it. So you know the only thing I do see on tape is two of our players trying to call timeout, but that is what I see. Because when I am seeing, I haven’t seen the TV copy and I don’t care, I don’t need to see the TV copy because I know what happened. And when I tell you I called timeout, that I wanted a timeout I think that is what I did, I wanted a timeout there. Only reason I wanted the timeout was because I wanted to get a field goal block team on, okay and that was it. We never ran them on. When they ran their guys on we never ran them on. I saw it looked like there was some confusion there that is when I wanted the timeout.
Q: And when you say you know the process it is a given you tell the official I want a timeout before this?
A: But I was not going to do that before. I never told the guy I wanted a timeout before the play. It was third and ten in my recollection I think it was third and ten it might not have been if we go look I don’t know if you guys have a play-by-play it was third and longer and our deal was we had tackled these guys in bounds. Obviously we want to prevent the first down that was the main thing and try and tackle them in bounds. We were able to do both they had no choice they couldn’t spike the ball, they couldn’t go for it, I guess they could have. We knew they were going to mayday the thing they were going to have to bring the kicker on. We got what we want. I don’t think this kicker (Andrew Franks) was super accurate past 45-yards, that he put one out there. In those situations most of the time you are not going to take a timeout because they got to rush it, they are going to have to rush the whole thing. However this case was different, I think it was eight seconds or so when he made the kick, I am not sure how much was left.
Q: 10 seconds when it was snapped.
A: 10 second or something, and probably eight when it went through or something. But either way a lot of times you don’t want to take a timeout there because they are going to have to speed everything up when they put the mayday out there. But the reason I wanted the timeout at that point is because we didn’t have our field goal block team out there and obviously you see us playing safe, it was not like they were going to fake a kick there. You know what I mean it is time to go for it, and that is why I was trying to get the timeout.
Q: There was some pushing and shoving on the Miami sideline, Dolphins players said Jerry Hughes head butted a coach did you see that on the tape or are you aware of that?
A: No I never saw it on tape. I am aware of that being out there, but I never saw it on tape.
Q: So you don’t believe that it happened?
A: Sometimes I’ll be honest when guys start flying around I have been hit before. So I think anything is possible in that situation. Whether he ends up head butting somebody on purpose, I think that would be, that is almost hard to believe.
Q: You mentioned the field goal block team wasn’t out there why weren’t they, where they not ready?
A: Well no, and again its, what happens there I don’t want to get into the whole explanation of things but there was clearly confusion with one of our players running back that is why I wanted the timeout, okay.
Q: You said after the game that your livelihood was riding on it. Did you think going into that game that a victory would give you reasonable assurance of returning next year?
A: Okay, but what was my quote?
Q: “It’s easy to sit up there when your livelihood’s not on it,” referring to the media transcript, “when your livelihood’s not riding on it, saying you should do ‘this’ and ‘this.’”
A: Well no, and that’s exactly right because none of you, your livelihood’s not riding on it. Where mine is. I’m with wins and losses, so whether I have to win this game or whatever, I’m just saying I’m paid for wins and losses. That’s how you get judged as a coach so yeah that’s it, you’ve got to make that decision and you’ve got to do what you think’s appropriate and that’s what I did. I want to win games. Like believe me, I want to win games and it’s not just, ‘well we didn’t get it done’ We don’t convert they get five yards to kick a field goal. Was it more appropriate—it’s easy to sit back and say well yeah. You give up a 60-yard run, you give up some of these other things that, I mean really a 60-yard run was what it was, and assume that that’s going to happen. I’ll never assume that and did it happen in the game? It happened one other time. Their guy circled our defense for forty-something yards. I get it. But you’ve got them pinned back there, I feel pretty good about getting the ball back. That never happened.
Q: As far as the tackling issues, do you think that’s something that’s was an issue all game?
A: We had one, Stephon (Gilmore) tried to get down there. He did get a great job, called an under check, we got exactly what we wanted, the ball in the flat, his target. We probably should have shot lower on these big backs. Robey-Coleman, that wasn’t his man that caught that ball. He came off and was just in a position to throw it to the guy and the guy made a nice run after. But, there’s some of those, yeah, we have to tackle better. I mean, the guy catches a ball, we call a dork screen, he’s got 13 yards to go and he gets it and he caught the ball on the line of scrimmage. Yeah, we have to get the guy on the ground. There’s no question about it. It is hard. We talk about it all the time. It is hard to practice. You’re not even in pads. It’s hard to practice when you’re sitting back there, you can’t get someone hurt on the practice field. If you’re going to lose someone, you better lose them on the game field. That’s it. Was it an issue? Yeah, we never tackled well enough.
Q: Is it fair to judge the wins and losses after just two seasons?
A: Well, I think, the only person that it needs to affect, the only people, are Terry and Kim Pegula. That’s who’s going to make the decision on whether I’m here, whether this person’s here. That’s who makes that decision. So, whatever they think is fair, that’s the only thing that matters. As a coach, that’s why I said I’m going to try to win this game, trust me, I’m going to try and win this game. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t mean anything. To me, it means a lot. I want to win the game and that’s just who I am. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be fair, or isn’t fair, or is fair. It doesn’t matter. It’s, I’m going to do the best job I can, just like always.
Courtesy of the Buffalo Bills