ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It's been a buzzword from the beginning, but Bills head coach Sean McDermott feels culture has fueled the Bills success this season.
"To have a talented football team is one thing," McDermott said. "To have a team that plays well together is another thing. Whether that team is highly talented or not, I think that in the great teams that I've been around, the Super Bowl teams, some of those were talented, yes. More than that they had great chemistry and the culture leads to great chemistry."
It's not wrong to say this Bills team's overachieved this season based on the roster moves made earlier in the year— notably, shipping out the likes of Sammy Watkins, Ronald Darby, and Marcell Dareus. They've done so with a self-proclaimed group of "misfits" playing for one another.
"A mindset can beat talent, sometimes," Bills linebacker Preston Brown said. "There's some talented guys across this league, but we have a lot of guys who aren't the most talented, but they play hard each and every play and it builds around the team. You can lean up against a guy that you know's going to fight every snap no matter what."
"You're in the fourth quarter and you look at your brother in the eye and are like 'let's go' and you know he's doing the same for you," said Bills safety Jordan Poyer. "There's other teams that you can't do that with. You might not know that guy over there and you look at him and it's just like 'dang, he's kind of dead.' But I know I can look at Micah. I know I can look at Preston. I know I can look at Lorenzo in the fourth quarter, maybe when I'm tired and it gives me motivation like man, let's do this."
While the Bills haven't made the playoffs in 17 years, this roster has a handful of guys who've not only been there, but reached it's biggest stage. Again, the talent may not equal that of those Super Bowl teams, but the feel on and off the field is similar.
"There's a lot of carry over in hard work, trust the process and just going about your business," said fullback Patrick DiMarco. "The group here's gotten tight really quick, just in a year, so I'm excited to see how the team grows in the future and finish the season off the right way."
We'll see if the right way leads to the playoffs.