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