BILLS COACH SEAN McDERMOTT
Opening Statement: Alright. Hopefully everybody’s dried out a little bit here. I’m going to get it started with just, again, appreciation with the fans sticking it out to support us through this type of weather. Buffalo weather, right? Good to get a win at home. Again, appreciation and a thanks, big time thanks, to all the people that contributed to getting this stadium ready to play. I’m sure it was a big challenge and then also the grounds crew for keeping the field playable in this type of weather. The staff did a good job adjusting throughout the game to the conditions, the conditions that were out there. The players remained mentally tough throughout four quarters and an overtime period when things kind of went back and forth a little bit there in the fourth quarter. Overall, a good win. We’ll open it up to questions.
Q: Have you ever been a part of something like that?
A: In terms of the weather? I really haven’t. Twenty-some years around the NFL, I really haven’t. I’ve been in part of some wind and some rain [games]. We had, I think we had all but sun today. We had some lightning, some thunder and a lot of snow and win. But again, I thought the guys really stuck it out and adjusted the game plan throughout the day. The weather changed. This wasn’t the weather we quite expected last night when we went to bed and woke up. We were able to adjust pretty quickly here.
Q: The decision to punt in overtime seemed a little questionable. What were you thinking at that time?
A: Well, field position. That was big in this game with the conditions the way they were. I felt confident in our defense, [that] if we were able to pin them deep that we would get off the field and get the ball back, which we were able to do.
Q: LeSean [McCoy]’s greatest game in his career was in a storm like this. Did he say anything before the game like ‘this is my kind of weather’?
A: Well, he is from Harrisburg area so that bodes well. He’s a [Pennsylvania] guy. I remember watching that game, actually, on film a few years ago so I was just waiting for him to rip one off and he did. It was good to see.
Q: Does that field though, Sean, make it almost impossible to play offense? It looked like you guys really couldn’t do much of anything.
A: Yeah, we did some good things. The hardest part is probably calling a game in those types of situations because you want to be able to, and you’re so used to certain down and distances throwing the football and you’ve got to kind of make sure we play a good, smart game as opposed to ‘okay, let’s go get the first down.’ Rather, [it was] ‘let’s make sure we’ve got field position.’ You had the wind going one direction pretty significantly and then it would stop and go the other direction. I thought the coordinators, all three of them, did a great job of just really managing the game from that standpoint; and then as you mentioned, LeSean, his day was big for us.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the offensive line creating holes for LeSean and keeping forward progress?
A: That was huge. Yes, that’s huge. I mean, to be able to run the ball we were able to run it, we did get some chunks in there and then we just stayed after it, stayed after it [and] stayed after it. That’s really where the game was won, [is] up front. Even on Joe [Webb]’s long pass to Deonte [Thompson] there, that was a big time play in these types of conditions and Joe was able to have time in the pocket to get it done so, well done [by the offensive line].
Q: Where are Nate [Peterman] and Kelvin [Benjamin] at this point?
A: Basically, Nate is in the concussion protocol right now. Kelvin is still under evaluation right now.
Q: When you look back on this, I mean, Joe Webb pulls this game out for you. I mean, Joe Webb, right? A special teams guy that you brought in during week four or whatever. Kind of an amazing win for you, Sean.
A: I give credit to Brandon Beane and his staff. Obviously, I was there in Carolina with Joe so I knew Joe a little bit there. Overall, a great win. A lot of hands involved in this win and, as you heard me mention earlier with just getting this place ready to play. The fans, what more could you say? These guys came out here, sleeping overnight in this type of weather the night before and sticking with us through four quarters and then overtime which was awesome. As you mentioned, Joe Webb, we’re down to our third quarterback and what a gutsy performance. Had some key first down conversions with his feet and then had a couple with his arm as well. Big-time performance.
Q: How impressed were you by what Peterman was able to do, as limited as it was, especially the throws to Benjamin at the end of the first half?
A: Yeah, I thought he executed well. I thought Rick [Dennison] called a good game as far as that goes and we got the ball to Kelvin in matchup situations there, which was big for us before half. There wasn’t a whole lot of the ball moving prior to that on their side or our side. I thought that was key to score before half and that type of drive, that type of execution in those types of conditions was pretty impressive.
Q: Would you consider that pretty improbable, that you went 80 yards in that moment? That seemed pretty improbable at the time.
A: Right. I mean, again, a two-minute situation in those types of conditions really isn’t two-minute, or is it ‘hey, let’s run the ball, let’s see what we can get’ and then go from there based on the new situation we found ourselves in.
Q: Coach, I know it’s collective defensively but [Matt] Milano seemed to keep popping up on an awful lot of plays today just getting to places in a hurry to make stops.
A: I thought Matt did and then he and Ramon [Humber] combined for some really good play from our linebacking position. The communication, the way we had to communicate, the way we were challenged just with the communication, was big also and Preston Brown does a really good job of that along with our safeties, but it all starts up front. We play well up front [and] you’re going to give yourself more than not a chance to win. Our defensive line, I thought, did a good job as well.
Q: On the two-point conversion, Coach, it just looked like there was some indecision on the officials’ part. Did you have any conversations with officials close to you to kind of prompt them to take a look at that?
A: No, I thought they made the right call. It was two plays in a row that they ran the same type of play and I thought they did a good job.
Q: With weather conditions like this, were there times when you actually could not see the entire field?
A: From where I was standing? Yeah, it was hard. I remember coming in before or after pregame warm-ups and looking back just to get a feel for what our receivers would be looking into going a certain direction there and the visibility was hard. [It] was tough. Just playing field position, trying to play the wind, I felt like that was important. We were out here early, our players were out there early today because we talked about it all week making sure that we understood the conditions as best we could.
Q: The lower bowl was almost full. That was surprising to us. What did you think of that?
A: I thought it was awes– I mean, when I could see across the field to the other side of the stadium, it was about midway through the second quarter when it died down slightly for a small point in time there and I could actually then see the crowd there across from me, which was awesome.
Opening Statement: Now listen to this story [about the Vikings vs. Eagles game in 2010]. If we win a game, we get a bye for playoffs, right? So, Brett Favre’s out with another guy out, right? Adrian Peterson’s out, and this was when Adrian Peterson was Adrian Peterson. The backup running back was out. Did Percy play? Percy Harvin? So it was him and Percy. So, I had never heard of Joe Webb, you know what I mean? So I was like, ‘yo this is going to be an easy game.’Look, because we always put a lot of points up. I was going to get my yards. Mike Vick was going to do his thing. Man, this dude [Webb] was killing us. Read options, fake passes running, throws bombs, beat us. So when Joe [Webb] came to camp, I said, ‘Joe, look, do the same stuff you did when you beat us, nothing else.’
Q: LeSean, how much did you – you admit it, you’re a feature guy since you’ve been here. When you see [Nathan Peterman], when you see Kelvin [Benjamin] go out in the second half, do you almost say to yourself, I got to get this done for this team?
A: Well, we like to put a lot of pressure on the guys up front. You have to get them going. I kind of asked them, what do you guys want to do? What type of runs do you want? Got the middle, to the sides, try to correct them and make them right. So, it’s in the run game all together, collectively we had to get it done. This is the weather. I know you knew it was going to be one of the games you’ve got to run the ball and pound it on both sides. We ran the ball well. On the other side, I mean, their first two drives, they just ran it. I’ve played in one of these games before, same situation, we just ran the ball the whole time.
Q: You broke the Eagles rushing record that day, right?
A: Is that right? I am the leader over there, yes I am.
Q: What is it about the snow? I mean, I know you had to run the ball, but still, does it bring out the best in you?
A: Being a Pennsylvania kid, I’ve played in the snow before, which is crazy because I never had a lot of snow games in high school. But at Pittsburgh, I played in maybe one snow game and then the one in Philadelphia. I don’t know, I still can cut and run like if there was no snow. I slip here and there. There were some cuts that I missed today that I slipped on. For the most part, I was running, I was cutting, I was stopping, you know, where other guys were slipping. Maybe I know I’m going to get the ball a lot so I try to just play that extra good, if that makes sense?
Q: Did you feel like you had to gear down at all because you got to keep your feet under you when there is that much measurable snow, right? Or did you just not have an issue with it.
A: I didn’t have an issue with it at all. I was trying to tell the other backs, don’t try to slow down and settle yourself to cut. Cut hard. I think the harder you cut, you plant in ground [and] you can get up field. When you’re slowing down and try to cut, you’re liable to slip. Now, I’m not no expert at it, I just run how I feel and that’s what I did today.
Q: You’ve played in some snow games, as you’ve mentioned. How did the visibility in this game throw the offense off?
A: To be honest, this game was a lot harder than the Philadelphia game where I had the 200 yards. I think the biggest reason for that was that the snow never stopped and the wind never stopped. In the first half of the Philly game, it was crazy, but it stopped at halftime. We could run the ball a lot better. Where in this game, it continued to snow and snow and snow. I think this is probably the best one, or the worst one.
Q: What can you say about the mental toughness of this team, and learned how this game this game kind of unfolded? You guys get punched in the mouth with under a minute to play and go into overtime. Maybe just walk me through the mental toughness this team had to illustrate today.
A: Well, I think just this with this game, you never can predict the weather. You can predict going out there and playing hard, fighting hard, competing, but the weather is something you can’t control. For us, just come out there and play hard the whole game. Once they kind of scored, I mean it was tough, but then we regrouped, we got together. We went down and scored in overtime. Joe had to come in there, [which was] a big role for him, asked to take care of the team, manage the team, be a leader and did a great job ofthat. DT [Deonte Thompson] outside fixing a go route, we really needed it at the time. The guys up front blocked really well, and I got a chance to bounce it outside and score. Just all together, from the defense to the offense to special teams – and they don’t get as much credit as they should get, the special teams. I mean, these conditions, the weather, punting, kickoff and the guys that play hard for snaps, yeah that’s tough. All together, the mental toughness was extremely great today.
Q: How important is it to be able to get through a game like that when you have Nate [Peterman] as your backup quarterback starting the game? Then he gets hurt and you don’t have Tyrod [Taylor] and then to have your guy here [Joe Webb]?
A: No, you’re right. In practice, you go through certain reps with a certain quarterback. So, when I’m with Tyrod, we have a totally different vibe and chemistry than Nate. We really do; and then, when Nate comes in, it changes. Me and him have our own personal chemistry. I know what he likes to do. Small things, though. When he drops back to hand me the ball, I know where I should look for the hole because of how he drops back. He’s a lot faster back there than Tyrod handing me the ball. So little things like that you need to know. Man, Joe never had too many opportunities like that. So, I think that was the biggest thing for him, is for him to get the mental reps. Not physically, but the mental reps and come in the game, asked the play to win the game. He goes in, and he does it. So, everything like that, I mean it just shows you the heart and the type of attitude we have on this team.
Q: What did you make of Nathan and how he came back after his first start since what happen in Los Angeles and how he can handle his own?
A: Like I said before, that situation, he had to come in there and play in kind of a must-win situation. It was hard for him because if he didn’t do good, ‘oh they were playing the rookie.’ and if he did good, he was like ‘oh he’s just the next savior.’ So it was a hard situation for him, but we’ve watched him in practice since camp. I mean, he’s talented. He has a bright future. I can’t tell if it’s right now, but I can tell you that he’s going to play in this league for a long time. He has a good arm [and] he’s smart. He’s very smart. I mean he went to Pittsburgh so, I mean you’re not surprised. But no, he’s a heck of a player, he really is. We’ll watch him, he rips through the starting defense all the time, and that’s a tough group. He has a bright future so I’m not really surprised he came out and handled himself. The one thing I like about him, it might be a good thing, is that he’s really confident. Even throwing five interceptions, which was really bad, the next day and that next week, [he was] confident, play back. He came in with that same attitude and he looked good. He plays with heart.
Q: What happened on that play, where you tweaked something, came up and obviously had to get checked out?
A: I kind of just bent it back, aggravated it a little bit. We’ll go check with the docs and see what’s going on with it. I’m still walking, so that’s a good sign.
Q: What was it like out there for you playing in this type of snow?
A: I was like a kid, man. I was having fun with it, just embracing it. It was very windy, but at the same time, we had to go out there and get the win, and we did.
Q: What did you see in the second quarter, your 21-yard catch and then the next play, the touchdown catch? Walk us through those two plays.
A: They were just simple plays, man on the high side, single-high safety. We just had to take the shots and we did. Q: Have you and Nathan [Peterman] been working on passes like that this past week, establishing that chemistry? A: Oh, definitely, definitely; that’s all week, and it showed. It was good, though, it was good.
Q: How much politicking did you have to do with the officials there (on the two point conversion play)?
A: I didn’t do much. They don’t listen to me. They are discussing it and I try and run up to talk, and they are like ‘get away, get away.’ I tried to throw my two cents in there and I don’t know if they listen to me or not.
Q: I mean it looked like though that it was a legit penalty.
A: I felt like the first one was too, but like I said, I made an attempt to get around it which kind of hurt me because it didn’t look as bad as the second one. The second one he screened me and I just stood there and they talked about it and decided on the flag.
Q: Were you hoping there was a flag on the second one?
A: I was hoping there was a flag on the first one. Never want to give up a touchdown. If you get beat that’s one thing, but those pick plays just are, as a defensive player, to me it’s cheating. It’s like, come on man, but it’s the game of football. They ran a good play on the first one and it wasn’t called, so they tried to come back again and they didn’t get away with the second one.
Q: What were those emotional swings like in the huddle?
A: It was crazy. The whole drive man. It was four down territory and we knew they were going to go for it on fourth down. We were just stopping them, stopping them, stopping them on third down and that fourth down and I think they might have had three of them on that drive, they were just converting on it. It’s difficult. Offense did a great job of backing them and making them back up in overtime, and we got the three and out. They punt the ball back to us and the offense was able to go out there and make some plays. That’s good football for us.
Q: What was the call, the run call?
A: Run right behind Richie.
Q: Richie when you have a long game like this, in overtime, and all the crappy weather? When you come away with a win does it make it that much more sweet, especially knowing the outcome that this has for your season?
A: Yeah it does. It keeps us alive. It keeps us in it for another week. We’ve got three more games to go and we are still in it.
Q: How much fun was that Richie, what was it like?
A: That was not fun. Not fun to not have any footing and not being able to move around. That’s a long day.
Q: To be able to come out with a win, how does that feel?
A: It feels great to come out with that win. We were up the touchdown for most of the game and they go down to score to tie it up and we have to come back and win in overtime. Gutsy win. Really proud of the guys that we stuck together.
Q: What was your reaction to [Deonte] Thompson’s long catch, and then the LeSean [McCoy] run?
A: I about ran on the field on both of them. I did on LeSean’s run for sure and Deonte I about ran over to him when he was on the other side of the field that was one hell of a play. Call it play of the year, call it whatever you want, I mean that was a huge play. To concentrate with a defender in his face and to get the PI [Pass Interference] call. The mission is to come down with that ball, it was a big play for us.
Q: Were you aware that a tie is almost, in your position, like a loss? Or is that something that’s not really in your mind? Who’s thinking about overtime, but when you’re in it realizing a tie almost kills you?
A: I didn’t want a tie. Nobody wants to tie. At the time we weren’t really thinking about if we tie this game what are we going to do in the future. We had a job to do at the moment and we took care of what we had to take care of and we came out with a win.
Q: Was it fun playing in that?
A: It was fun. It was the first time I’ve ever played in heavy snow. It was fun and we had a good time out there. It’s always more fun when you win obviously, but we had a great time out there and it was a good team win for us.
Q: Can you believe how many people made it through the game and stayed in the stands?
A: Unbelievable. Are fans are unbelievable you know to come out there in 20 degrees or minus 20 degree weather, whatever is was, 20 degree? But them being out there and supporting us, it’s huge.
Q: Walk us through the play and the catch?
A: We came in the huddle, I had been telling Joe Webb ‘I got him man, put some air under it and throw it up’. We called the play, and we made it happen.
Q: What was it like – including that play – to play under these conditions?
A: It was my first time I’ve never played in that much snow. I’m from Belle Glade, Florida - we don’t see this kind of snow. But it was fun actually - I’m not going to lie, it was fun. This is a game you dreamed about as a kid, playing in snowy games, running around, playing football, having fun, so it definitely was a fun day.
Q: You had a really clean catch with your hands, it looks like you really grabbed, picked it. Were your hands cold?
A: I was cold, wet, everything. But I get paid to make that catch, so it’s what I have to do.
Q: How did you adjust, along with other players, how you ran your routes [and] everything because of the conditions?
A: It was tough, we kept saying it was like we were at the beach, because the snow was so high, so every time we were stepping, we were sinking. It was tough to run routes, it really was tough.
Q: Did anyone change their cleats or whatever? Did anyone try anything?
A: We tried. We changed gloves, changed shoes and stuff. The snow was so thick, we were sinking in every time we stepped. It was pretty much like sand, uneven surface, so it was kind of hard to keep your balance.
Q: Did you wake up today expecting to be standing here right now?
A: This is the last place I thought I’d be standing but it feels good.
Q: How did it feel to have your second chance? You threw that interception in the fourth quarter and it almost slipped away from you and then you went into overtime. How did that feel?
A: It felt good. In this league, you don’t get second chances a lot. For me to have that second chance, it was a blessing. The team rallied around. Great job by the defense getting the offense the ball back and we just executed. [LeSean McCoy] made a great run at the end.
Q: How much did you guys have to adjust the speed at which you ran with so much snow, measurable snow, under foot? It almost looked like everyone had to gear things down because you would wipe out all by yourself.
A: Yeah you really had to keep your legs up under you. You couldn’t really open up your stride because when you open your stride that’s when you lose footing. That was a great job and some guys, we walked in the snow all week. It snowed earlier in the week so we were able to kind trek our footing a little bit.
Q: On the pass to Deonte [Thompson] there, it looked like you were trying to meet him inside but then at the end of the play he adjusted a totally spun around and caught it outside. Can you walk us through the play and the job Deonte did today?
A: Great job by DT, being this guy. I think it was man coverage. I went at took a peak at the wind, took a peak at the flash seeing which way it was blowing. I tried to make my adjustment then but great job by DT tracking the ball down.
Q: What can you say about LeSean, especially after Nathan [Peterman] and Kelvin [Benjamin] both were out of the game? Really, it’s on him at that point.
A: Yeah, great job by Shady. He’s been in this position before it’s nothing new to him. Great job by putting the team on his back and ending the game.
Q: What were you saying to the guys in the huddle there on that last possession when the defense got it stopped and got you the ball back?
A: I told them, we have to end it right here. We might not have a chance again. I think it’s a tight game at the end when the time expires, so great job by the [offensive] line, blocking, creating that hole for Shady. It was a great team win.
Q: This team seems to be a team that has embraced being the underdog, has guys that have been casted away. You personally have changed positions, changed teams. To get this chance, to get this team this big win, to stay in the playoff hunt, what was the message, reactions in the locker room, kind of sum up the emotions of this win.
A: It was a great team win. It was a much needed win for us. Just to boost our confidence, build momentum, to show these guys we can do this. A lot of guys haven’t made the playoffs on the bills team. Me, Kelvin, [Mike] Tolbert, we went to the playoffs in Carolina. Even Coach McDermott has been to the playoffs. We know what it takes. It was a great win by the Bills and we are going to continue to work.
Q: Are you ready to potentially adjust your mental focus this week to be even higher on the depth chart, even quarterback perhaps?
A: We’ll see. We’ll see what Coach McDermott has in store. We’ll see what’s going on with Tyrod [Taylor] and Nate. I will always be ready if my number’s called. If that be the case, then I’m prepared for it.
Q: Have you kept your mind fresh, like a quarterback, through most of the season here to stay ready? How do you approach it?
A: Yeah I always have to keep my mind fresh at quarterback. Like they say, you are one play away. Especially this week being one play away unfortunately that’s what happens. That’s the way I always prepare. No matter if I am playing special teams or receiving.
Q: What is your comfort level at, at the position, when you get thrown in? It was such a weird situation to get thrown in with the weather, and everything else for you to jump in there.
A: I work with the guys throughout the week. Not only throughout the week but throughout the season. I know what different guys can do just by watching them on film or watching them at practice. It might be new for me to jump in with the offense but guys work together. We work so hard throughout the week. This win is a big win. We are going to enjoy it while we can.
Q: Deonte said that you guys talked before the play and if he was going to play at press he was going to do one thing and if he was playing off you would do another. Was there any communication pre-snap or did you just know you both were on the same page when you threw it out there?
A: Yeah once I saw DT, once I saw him running I knew was going to run the passes. Yes we did talk about things in the huddle. That was one of the adjustments that we had and it worked out perfect.
Q: Was Logan [Thomas] your backup? At the end of the game, was that where you guys were at for quarterback?
A: I think so. I think someone said we have to be ready just in case Logan has to go in. I said ‘oh I better make sure I stay on the field.’
Q: Who is Logan’s backup?
A: I have no idea. So that was great job by everyone being prepared, being ready no matter what happens.
Q: Did you have a feeling Shady was about to pop one there?
A: I did have a feeling. Shady’s always good for popping one. That was a great time for him to pop one and end the game. The way he ended the game, words can’t explain.
Q: Does it make it all that much better that you came away in a long game, miserable weather like this, and you guys are celebrating a win as opposed to going through those conditions and the other?
A: Yeah, that’s what you play the game for, to get a win. What happened last week, came out, finished the second. But today, we got back in that win column. It’s a great momentum builder, to play another division game against Miami.
Q: You’ve been pretty critical of yourself over this year, how can you judge your performance today?
A: I only had what – I just had tackles, I didn’t have any interceptions, I didn’t cause a turnover or anything. I was okay, it was okay.
Q: I think I know the answer, but how much fun was this for you to play out there today?
A: It was fun. Then, to come out on the winning end is a plus.
Q: What got you dancing? What started that?
A: Just trying to keep my teammates involved in the game, keep the whole defense pumped up; and just taking pride in not letting these guys get a lot of yards and big chunk plays.
Q: What was it like to play in snow? That’s the first time, I’m assuming, you’ve played in snow or anything like that?
A: It was exciting, but I don’t like it. I can’t break on the football [how] I like [to], and being able to get out and run fast. I don’t like it.
You know what, before I answer a question, I want to say that our fans and the people here are the toughest damn people in the world. They’re why I’ve been here so long, and the reason I enjoy being here so much. They deserve as much credit as anybody, and I love being here [and] I love playing for those guys. It’s amazing, it’s awesome.
Q: Were you surprised at how full the lower bowl was?
A: I don’t know why I’m ever surprised, honestly. Go ahead with your questions.
Q: The atmosphere of the game, I guess we can talk about the fans. The atmosphere, people sticking around through an entire overtime where there’s only 14 total points in a game like that, what did that mean to you as a player?
A: Like I said, I’ve been here a long time, and [they’ve] never failed to lift my spirits, get me going, and surprise me, honestly. Obviously, a lot of things did go wrong, could go wrong, but to pull it out in basically a quagmire, this is a good thing.
Q: When you see LeSean [McCoy] hit that hole, what was your reaction as you were watching him go?
A: I’m literally, I’m standing there with a couple of guys and I said ‘you know, Shady’s going to break one and run it in because I don’t know if my heart can take a field goal try in this,’ and literally two plays later he did. As soon as I saw him break it with no flags, I literally wheeled and ran straight inside. They would have had to come drag me out of here if they told me it didn’t count.
Q: Have you played in a game like that before?
A: Yeah, we played in Cleveland a number of years ago. That was really bad.