Jan 17, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid speaks to players during the first half in the AFC Divisional Round playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

AFC Notebook: Andy Reid and Sean McDermott share long history

The opposing coaches in the AFC Championship game spoke glowingly of each other when they got the chance Wednesday.

Coach-speak, perhaps? Maybe, but the connection between the Buffalo Bills’ Sean McDermott and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Andy Reid dates back to a lengthy period in Philadelphia, from 1999-2010. McDermott eventually rose to become defensive coordinator under Reid.

“Andy will be a Hall of Fame coach here in the future down the road,” McDermott said. “I’ve learned, and I’ve said this time and time again, I’ve learned a lot from Andy Reid in my time with him in Philadelphia.”

Reid went as far as to trace McDermott’s exploits as a high school wrestler and later a standout safety at William & Mary, emphasizing his protege’s intelligence and toughness. He also proclaimed that McDermott should be named the NFL’s Coach of the Year for guiding the Bills to the brink of their first Super Bowl appearance since the 1993 season.

“He’s taken a franchise there, both he and his general manager have put this thing together with some bold moves and production here now, so I think he’s done tremendous,” Reid said. “What a great thing for the NFL and for Buffalo.”

–When television cameras caught Kansas City standout wide receiver Tyreek Hill shoving his position coach, Greg Lewis, during the Chiefs’ divisional round victory, it appeared a sideline altercation might be brewing.

“That’s me and my personality,” Hill said. “A lot of people see me as being a hothead on the sideline or a diva, but it was nothing like that. Just me being fired up and just trying to give the guys energy.”

His dependability showed against Cleveland when Reid called a stunning fourth-down pass in which backup quarterback Chad Henne rolled right and lobbed the ball to Hill to seal the 22-17 outcome.

–Buffalo veteran Cole Beasley downplayed his two targets against Baltimore, which resulted in no receptions in the divisional round. He caught 82 passes for 967 yards in the regular season.

Beasley even mentioned that he kidded with Stefon Diggs, who caught eight passes for 106 yards after leading the NFL with 166 targets in 2020.

“A lot of people don’t understand that you can make an impact in the game without catching the ball,” Beasley said. “They have to worry about me underneath either way.”

–Everyone remembers the option keeper that left Patrick Mahomes wobbly and still in concussion protocol. A look at the next two snaps, however, is worthwhile.

In his start, Darrel Williams gained 12 yards on fourth down and then 16 yards to put Kansas City in field goal range. Then, Williams inexplicably watched from the sideline as the drive stalled and Harrison Butker missed a 33-yard field goal.

The Chiefs could retain injured rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle), while Williams should also be fresh after gaining 78 yards on 13 rushes against Cleveland. The Chiefs rushed for 245 yards in the first meeting against Buffalo.

“If they take away the deep stuff, we’ve just got to take underneath routes and take our chances in the run game,” Mecole Hardman said. “As far as Clyde, I just tell him everything’s faster in the playoffs but still go out and play your game.”

–The absence of Matt Milano could be considered one reason Kansas City was so successful running on Buffalo in their regular-season matchup, especially since Reid labeled the Bills linebacker as “the quarterback of that (defensive) group.”

Milano’s presence helps reinforce aggressive tendencies that have helped the Bills torment opponents while winning seven of their last eight games by double digits.

“He does a great job of doing his one-eleventh and that’s important,” McDermott said. “Matt’s a great young man and it’s been fun watching him grow. He does his job at a high level.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 13, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula (left), head coach Sean McDermott, owner Kim Pegula and general manager Doug Whaley (with football) after a press conference at AdPro Sports Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Bills extend coach McDermott’s contract

Sean McDermott has led the Buffalo Bills to two playoff appearances in his first three seasons as head coach, and on Wednesday, the organization rewarded him with a multi-year contract extension.

Terms and the length of contract were not announced, but NFL Network reported it is a four-year extension. McDermott had two years remaining on his deal, so he is now under contract for six years through 2025.

“Sean’s leadership on and off the field has been nothing but genuine and transparent, qualities we appreciate as owners,” Kim Pegula, who owns the team with her husband, Terry, said in a statement. “He is the same great person to us, the players and everyone across all our organizations. We will never forget how impressed we were during his first interview. Sean’s attention to detail was apparent back then and his process driven approach has brought great stability to our organization.

“We are happy to extend his contract and keep him in Western New York for many years to come.”

McDermott, 46, has a 25-23 record in the regular season with the Bills.

Under McDermott, the Bills lost wild-card playoff games following the 2017 and ’19 seasons — the franchise’s first postseason appearances since 1999. On Jan. 4, they lost a heartbreaker to the Houston Texans, who fought back from a 16-0 deficit — including an eight-point deficit to start the fourth quarter — to win in overtime, 22-19.

Led by quarterback Josh Allen and a stingy defense, the Bills are expected to have a chance to end the the New England Patriots’ run of 11 straight AFC East championships this season.

–Field Level Media