Q: Tyrod you’re 4-0 at home now. Would you stamp this as a tough place for opponents to play?

A: I don’t think it’s definitely an easy place to come in and play. Our fans do a great job of creating a hostile environment. The weather isn’t always what opposing teams want it to be, but its stuff that we practice in, day in and day out. We embrace it. Of course we want to defend our turf, it’s something we preach throughout the week and just going into the season. Home games are definitely important to us and we’ve shown that throughout this season thus far.

Q: The 12 play 80 yard drive takes seven minutes off the clock and then stick it in the end zone. Just looking at them on the other side of the line of scrimmage, how much did it crush their spirit when you put that drive together?

A: Those guys fought for it hard the entire game but there definitely were a couple times throughout the drives, especially that one, where you could see they were gassed. That is more so the leadership on our offense, me talking to the O-line and the skill guys and just telling them we have to punch it in and finish with 7. That’s what we were able to do.

Q: Is this the best game you’ve seen the O-line play this year?

A: It’s hard to compare their games. I will say across the board they’ve done a great job of pass pro as well as creating lanes for the running backs as well too. So I tip my hat off to those guys week in and week out because it’s different challenges that they have in front of them and they take those challenges head on and go out and play well.

Q: I know Holmes didn’t play a whole lot today but he helped you out in a couple of situations. Maybe just talk about your touchdown play and then converting a long down distance play along the right side.

A: Andre was definitely pumped up for this one, playing against his former team. As far as the touchdown pass, remember him when we broke the huddle that he told me if I don’t have Shady cause Shady is first on that play. He told me if I don’t have him that he’ll be working in the back of the end zone. I was able to buy some time and he is one of our taller receivers so he is definitely one I can find when I am moving around. He did a great job. Focused, being able to keep two feet in and securing the catch to the ground.

Q: Can you take about the sideline play?

A: In the sideline play as well. There was some communication problems between me and Rick Dennison. Still trying to get that play in but they ended up giving up covers that we were able to take advantage of. I originally wanted to give Logan up the seam of safety squeeze, the corner was sitting outside so we were able to get the ball up the field.

Q: Tyrod, last week it was Deonte (Thompson) and Taiwan Jones, this week it’s Andre and Brandon Tate. How much fun is it for you guys when someone different keeps making the big, game changing plays?

A: It’s awesome. It keeps everyone accountable. Like I said I have tremendous confidence in those guys. They do a great job of preparing throughout the week. All of us on the same page and we need to continue to keep growing as a unit. For sure an offense, and as a receiver, quarterback combo.

Q: What is it like for you as a quarterback watching your defense make this many plays and get the ball back?

A: It’s awesome. Our defense does a great job of getting us the ball back. We know as long as they’re on the field we have the opportunity of getting a short field. They create turnovers week in and week out. It’s our job to compliment them and put the ball in. We’ve been able to do that thus far. Can be better in certain areas for sure, excited to change things that we haven’t capitalized over this year. But it’s great playing with those guys and it’s fun watching them. It’s a bunch of guys going and believing in the process.

Q: Shady said this might be the strongest willed team he’s ever been on. You’ve been on a Super Bowl winning team that probably has a strong will to do that, but where does this team rank maybe on that scale for mental toughness, strong will?

A: It’s definitely up there. Nothing phases this team, I heard Shady up here talking about even the Logan Thomas situation this week. I think just showing his mental toughness and being able to continue to come out and prepare throughout the week and still play on Sunday. I think that just shows, shows you guys, and it shows us as well how this team is built. We support him and this team definitely has a strong will. Nothing that can phase us and I think Coach does a great job of putting us in different situations and also learning from different situations across the league.

Q: Tyrod, you extend plays so often and so well. Throughout the week, how much goes into that, how much talking about, maybe even repping the actual extending of plays and what those guys need to be doing?

A: Don’t really get a chance to rep it. Some of those plays happen. Some of the off schedule plays happen. You can’t really predict those in practice. It’s more so just talking to guys as far as if I get outside the pocket on this play, every route has a rule as far as if it’s a broken down play where to break it off. Guys are doing a great job. We can continue to get better at that area as well too. So far we’ve made some plays as far as moving around, whether it’s me converting for a first down and finding the running backs or receiver working back for me to the ball as well.

Q: How excited were you for Matt Milano to have that fumble return?

A: That’s big. Big for him, big for the team. He hasn’t played in many games in his career but he’s made a great impact in the games he’s played in. Definitely a confidence booster for him. Like I said, just our defense for them to go out there and continue to force turnovers week in and week out is definitely big.

Q: What’s been different in the running game the last two weeks? LeSean’s done pretty well the last couple of weeks.

A: Can’t really pinpoint where what’s going right in it. I will say in the earlier games, we were just one or two people off where something wasn’t executed down to the t. I think as an offensive unit, as an offensive line and running backs, we just dialed in more so in the focus of our execution of the running game. It’s showed throughout the past two weeks.

Q: It was Andre Holmes former team. Did he say anything throughout the week like this is a big one for me?

A: He didn’t say it but I’ve been in that situation and a number of guys have been in that situation in this league. You can just get the feel for it and you can see it in his eyes in pregame. Of course he wants to go out and show those coaches and also the players he played with last year and in previous years that he can come out here and continue to keep competing. I mean this team has a bunch of free agents, a bunch of people that weren’t necessarily drafted to this organization. In the big sense this is a kind of team built around guys that maybe have been turned down from other players and other organizations so he had the opportunity to prove that organization wrong and he did it.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about what you saw on the first touchdown you threw to him? Obviously you bought yourself some time, he was open originally then made it a little tougher for you to hit that throw on the sidelines.

A: I wanted to get it to Shady in the corner of the end zone but he ran into the collision. The linebacker had to step up into the pocket and that’s when I found Andre moving along the backside.


Q: In terms of yards, this is your second best game since you’ve come to Buffalo. Does this reverse some of the troubles you’ve had earlier this season?

A: I think last week was a starting point of us rolling, of us getting going. Since the bye, we’ve been sprinkling different schemes, different runs, stuff that we’ve been successful within the past and this year also. The guys up front, we’ve talked about just letting them dominate the line of scrimmage. You know, giving me some one-on-one opportunities, giving me some lanes, and they did that today. They blocked well on the passing game and they blocked extremely well on the running game.

Q: Can you talk about the 12 play, 80 yard drive? You guys were up, you had a couple field goals, you pushed it deep, but then it seemed like that drive really crushed their spirits.

A: Yeah it did. We talk about just trying to finish the game up. Let’s put plays together, you know, first down, second down. Okay, let’s convert on third downs. Let’s keep it moving. And that’s something we’ve been trying to get better at. We’ve done it before in different games and today we went and did that today. Coach dialed up some good plays for us. Rico [Rick Dennison] did a great job.

Q: When you talk about the mental toughness of this team, there were a couple times where you guys were really behind the sticks, whether is 2nd and 20, 3rd and 20, and you guys come up with the plays to keep the drives alive. Can you just maybe comment on that?

A: Well we don’t want to be in situations like that in the future, but hey, things happen. Guys, they make plays and they have to minimize just the turnovers and the penalties. We don’t want to be in those situations. But if it happens, we have plays for that. If we get behind the sticks, you know 2nd and 13 or 15, we’ve got to convert. I think with the play making ability of Tyrod [Taylor] it makes it a lot easier because he can kind of scramble and get some guys up to throw it or he can normally just throw it or scramble. We have different plays but I think that makes him special. When a 3rd and long situation like you talked about, I think with a guy like him it’s reasonable that he can probably get it.

Q: You guys are 4-0 at home now. Can we stamp this as a tough place to play?

A: I don’t want to stamp anything. I just want to stamp that we work hard, we’re a family. With Logan Thomas battling things out with his family and to just see how the guys rallied around him, you know, we support one another. This is a close family, it really is. And some guys that I might have known for a year or two years, or I might have known them for two weeks or two months, we kind of have that bond. I don’t want to let the guy next to me down. An example like that with Logan just shows you the type of commitment we make to each other. We play together, we fight. Defense is out there fighting for turnovers. Last week, I fumbled at a critical time in the game. Boom, what happens? Defense goes out there, a rookie gets the fumble for me and then we score. So this team just shows you the heart. It’s hard to go against the eye of the tiger, a team that will claw and fight until the end. You know it’s hard to beat a team like that. I think the talent kind of goes out the window, the athletic ability from players goes out the window, and you have that big heart. And here guys bleed and guys want to win. It just shows you the type of coach that Sean [McDermott] is really kind of bringing here.

Q: Is this the strongest willed team you’ve ever been a part of?

A: I can say that. I’ve been around some super talented group of guys, so I won’t say that as far as one of the most talented teams. But as one of the most strong-hearted, fight until the end, I think so.

Q: What sort of impact did trading Marcell [Dareus] on Friday have on this team in the long run?

A: A guy like that is so talented and such a good player that you kind of let the front office deal with it. I think the Sammy [Watkins] trade kind of helped that out because we’ve seen it before, of a player of that magnitude, of that talent level; so it wasn’t like a big blow. You know a lot of guys, we like Marcell, but it’s the business. Things like that happen all the time. I went through it. So, you’ve just got to move on. I think it’s a stepping stone for guys who have opportunity. I mean you’ve got to look at the guys who had chances to play.

Q: You brought up Logan Thomas, and a reporter said that he got the game ball afterwards. What was that –

A: It was big for him. As I said before, as a team we have a special bond. When a player is going through something so serious, we’re going through it also. I feel what he feels and obviously he’s first hand with it but I don’t want to see my brother hurt. We just want to make him feel comfortable because it’s a lot to go out there and still play. You know, you’ve got so many things on your mind, you want this football field to feel like your sanctuary. You’ve just got out there and let loose. So, prayers for him and his family and he knows that we’re behind him, 110%.

Q: [To Tyrod Taylor]

A: That’s a nice suit Tyrod. Hey, give it up for him. He’s always well dressed, right? Not to talk about anybody here but you guys could take some tips. Seriously.

Q: Speaking of emotion lifts, did you get an extra emotion lift with the way the Pegula’s embraced Officer Lehner’s family before the game?

A: Yeah, that was a big time, too. That’s the cool thing about our owners. They are really good people. They want the best for us and this organization and as players, we want the same thing. That kind of definitely boosted us up. Overall, it’s just the highs and lows of the game and things like that, you know, kind of make you want to play this game. Today we played well as a team together, not just the players on the field, but like you said, it’s the organization, it’s the owners and the media, who give us what we need to be a successful team on Sunday.


Opening Statement: Beautiful day in western New York, wasn’t it? We’ll go ahead and open it up to questions.

Q: Well, they had a great start in the passing game and you knew it, but you had a lot of success in the pass defense, and [with] a depleted secondary. Why do you think you guys succeeded the way you did?

A: Well, I thought Leslie Frazier and the defensive staff put a good game plan together. It starts there, and then the players put the time in during the week. We really embrace the ‘next man up’ approach. You saw that with [Matt] Milano making another big play or two [and] Trae Elston making another big play, so it was good team defense, I thought, throughout the game. You know, they do have weapons. This is a tough offense to slow down. You saw that against Kansas City, you’ve seen it basically for a year and a half now, if not more. Good, quality quarterback so I thought we played good team defense overall for four quarters.

Q: Coach, it looked like after the first possession by them, you started having Tre [White] follow [Amari] Cooper a little bit, with the exception of when he lined up in the slot. Can you talk about how he did today?

A: Yeah, he did a good job. That’s a Pro Bowl receiver. Good matchup for Tre and good challenge for any corner in this league. So, there were some things. We made some adjustments. They had success on the first drive, like you said Chris. I thought the takeaways were big in the game, obviously. I think it was 4-0, so that was big, and we got some on special teams as well.

Q: Did Tre communicate to you anything at all about his familiarity with Amari? I know he faced him for two years at school. Does that make a difference in your thinking when you know a guy is not in awe of a player, so to speak?

A: Yeah, I think familiarity certainly helps.

Q: Sean, you’re 5-2 and again, you’re not used to this, but this area always wonders about if this team is for real. There have been starts like this [and] they’ve failed. Why do you think this team, again you don’t know the history, but why do you think this team could be different than anything beyond what we’ve seen here in years past?

A: Yeah, you know, I’m going to talk about this team. I don’t know what’s been here in the past, with all due respect Sal. I just know that we come out every week, the guys work hard, they respect the process and put the time in. When you put the time in and you care about one another [and] you detail your work, you give yourself a chance and that’s what the whole ‘earning the right, earning the right,’ you fill in the blank. For us, it’s about earning the right to have a chance to win on Sundays by doing things the right way on the field and doing things right off the field on Monday through Saturday.

Q: Coach, if I could ask you about Marcell [Dareus], too. We haven’t talked to you since the trade. Just kind of give us your thoughts on what went down there.

A: Yeah, look, I really appreciate all the time and effort that Marcell put into this team, and really, we wish him well. Those things are never easy, especially the timing and everything. The players, I thought, handled it extremely well and came out with the right mindset today to take care of what they needed to take care of. But we wish Marcell nothing but the best.

Q: Coach, what made you feel good on the fourth-and-goal and to go for it there? Just, your thought process?

A: Just confidence in the offensive line; confidence in our quarterback. Really, that’s it.

Q: With respect to the takeaway run, in your time in the league, do you remember a stretch that’s lasted this long? I mean, it’s not just one a week. It’s multiple takeaways per week for a good stretch.

A: Yeah, those tend to come in bunches sometimes and we’re doing a really good job in both special teams and also defensively, and then on the other side of the ball, the respect for the football that we have that we get to the ball and we secure it and cover it up when we need to cover it up. I think that goes a long way, to your point.

Q: How long do you spend teaching your kickers to strip the ball?

A: [laughs] That was a great play, wasn’t it? [Stephen Hauschka] is an athlete. That was a great play. I don’t think we came up with that one, though. But, great play and I wish we would’ve come up with that one too. There’s some things we can do better though, at the same time. This will be a quick turnaround and trying to get ourselves ready for the next game.

Q: Sean, the [Matt] Milano play? How big was that. That seemed to turn the game in your favor with that late-in-the-half turnover touchdown.

A: Yeah, it got some momentum going for us. Got the crowd into the game and this crowd was awesome. It is special to play in Western New York and the guys feel that and they appreciate it, as do I and the staff. These fans were awesome. It’s hard to come in here with an offense like that. That factors in, and when you have that 12th man, man I love it.

Q: Can you talk about Colton Schmidt, especially that one punt that went down at the half-yard line?

A: Big. Huge. I mean, we knew the challenge of their special teams unit. They’re built that way, with 84 [Cordarrelle Patterson] and 30 [Jalen Richard] and what they do. Both [are] dangerous. We were able, the guys took it to heart. That was a big challenge for us, they took it personal, and I thought they set the tone at times with the coverage units. Both Colton [Schmidt] and Stephen [Hauschka] had a phenomenal day, as well as Reid Ferguson. I’ll mention him as well because nothing happens without Reid, as we all know.

Q: Sean, how did the Marcell Dareus trade affect your game plan, given that it happened on a Friday night, regarding how you would use your defensive linemen?

A: You know, these guys are resilient. The look in their eye was, “Coach, we’re getting ready to play a football game on Sunday,” and that’s what they had going on. I appreciate that. They put in so much time during the week that they weren’t going to be denied and that’s the true essence of respecting the process. When you do that, you’re going to give yourself a chance.

Q: That touchdown drive at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth quarter, was that the most confident that Tyrod [Taylor] has been?

A: Well, that’s a question probably for Tyrod, honestly. I thought we moved the ball well when we needed to move it well. I like the adjustments we made. Rick Dennison and the offensive staff, and the communication was great on the sideline with the players coming off the field, sharing with the coaching staff what they were seeing and vice versa, so the adjustments were key and they will continue to be key and that communication will be big for us moving forward. I thought we had some key drives when we needed it and I like how we ran the football late in the game there. That was important.

Q: Sean, right there, two weeks in a row you’ve run the ball much better than you had the previous four weeks. What has changed? What do you think Rick [Dennison] is doing to get the running game going?

A: Well, probably, if I could take my answer from last week and pull it up and I’ll just recite that, that would be my answer again this week, honestly Sal. Not to be disrespectful, I just feel like that’s the honest truth that it’s just about hard work [and] the communication we had over the bye [week]. The coaches do a good job and the players take the game plan and take ownership of it and that’s part of it as well.

Q: The ‘next man up’ mentality, how do you get from point A in preaching that to point B in having the players embrace that?

A: You know, I want to go back to Sal’s question if I could real quick. The offensive line, I thought, did a great job not only in the run game, but also protecting Tyrod. Tyrod made some big-time throws and they gave him time. He stepped up in the pocket, did some good things there, found some open receivers that got separation. You’re going against Khalil Mack, and we all know he can wreck a game, as well as 51 [Bruce] Irvin. Going back to the run game, it wasn’t just the run game for the offensive line, but the pass game also. I’m sorry, Mike.

Q: In terms of preaching the message of the ‘next man up’ mentality to actually having the players embrace it and perform on the field.

A: Yeah, the great thing about it is that these guys, every one of them prepare. There [are] 63 guys on the team. That’s the way we look at it. That’s our approach. You’re watching guys work out even though they’re not going to play. They’re out working out, they’re trying to get better, they’re embracing that growth mindset. When you’re doing that, they know that you’re a play away, potentially, from playing and now they’ve seen guys step up. Brandon Tate, Matt Milano, Trae Elston, Andre Holmes, I mean those names really personify what you just said in terms of the ‘next man up’ mentality and they’re ready. Take Taiwan [Jones] last week. He was ready for his opportunity. Who’s it going to be next week? That’s the exciting part about it.

Q: During the week, you had said that when Ramon Humber was healthy, he was going to start. Matt Milano is not going to make it easy to take him out of the lineup, is he?

A: Matt looked like, at least on the surface, he had a big game. Like I had mentioned before, the great part about Matt is he continues to learn and make big-time jumps in between one outing to another outing. He’s made the most of his opportunity and that’s, you know, I love those hard decisions. Ramon’s a good football player. It’s a good thing for us, a good problem to have, and when you’re developing young players that are getting significant playing time experience, that’s big.

Q: Sean, Brandon Tate made one big play in the game, really, but the bench went nuts for him. How much fun is it for you guys to have a different guy, almost, to cheer for every week?

A: Yeah, that’s cool. That was really cool. You know, I think the officials were worried that there was something else going on in there but it was straight up just pure, raw, guys just happy for Brandon and knowing how big of a play that was too. All effort, we got some key blocks late in the play, just guys finishing plays, just grit in their teeth. It was a lot of fun to watch.

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