The Buffalo Bills are heading right back to the postseason — and they are doing so as AFC East champions.
The Bills have clinched their first division title since 1995 on the strength of their dominant 48-19 win over the Denver Broncos on Saturday.
Needing a victory along with some defeats from their AFC contemporaries to clinch a playoff berth in Week 14, Buffalo (11-3) had to wait a week longer to punch its playoff ticket after the Baltimore Ravens’ memorable Monday night rally past the Cleveland Browns. However, the Bills could’ve only wrapped up a playoff spot then, and now they got the postseason berth along with a division title 25 years in the making.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott said afterward he received a congratulatory email from Hall of Fame Bills coach Marv Levy.
“I think it’s so cool when the guys are so young can tie into the past,” McDermott said. “They see the banners hanging in our facility from the early ’90s. I should thank the guys who support us from those teams. All those guys live and die with us.”
It’s the Bills’ second consecutive playoff berth and third over the last four seasons under McDermott. The prior two berths were kindled by stellar defensive play, while the 2020 ascent has been led by the dynamic play of quarterback Josh Allen along with his excellent cast of receivers.
It was the connection between Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs that once again powered Buffalo to victory Saturday. Diggs hauled in 11 of his 13 targets for 147 yards and set a franchise record for most receptions in a single season. While Diggs didn’t find the end zone in Denver, Dawson Knox and Jake Kumerow became the 12 and 13th different Bills players to catch a TD this season, and Allen added two other scores on the ground.
Allen finished the day 28-of-40 for 359 yards with four total TDs to punctuate a historic regular season in Western New York.
“Quarterbacks who can play at that level are hard to find,” McDermott said.
In 2017, Buffalo advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 1999 and now in 2020, the Bills erased another long drought.
Having become the face of the franchise in his third season, Allen wasn’t born yet when the Bills won their last division title, but it would seem a new era of Bills success has been born with his arrival.
“We’ll take it one step at a time, this is a step,” McDermott said. “We needed to win the East, we’ve now won the East. We’ll enjoy this then figure out what’s next. A lot of hard work’s gone into this.”