Orchard Park, N.Y. — Moments after the Buffalo Bills finished off a 21-12 win over the New York Jets on Sunday, the Bills’ locker room was at ease.
Sean McDermott wasn’t caught slamming his headset on the ground or shouting expletives on television after his first win as a head coach. Nor was he calling out reporters in his postgame press conference like his predecessor.
The players in the locker room looked and sounded like players who expected to beat the Jets, a team seriously devoid of talent and heading toward a disaster of a season. But that didn’t take away from the enthusiasm that comes with getting McDermott his first win, starting 1-0 and sitting in first place of the AFC East.
“He’s really building something special,” Bills guard Richie Incognito said. “There’s a different energy, a whole different team year-to-year.”
It will take more than a win against the Jets to get fans believing McDermott’s process is worth praising. Yes, the Bills outgained the Jets 408-214. They closed out the game with a touchdown and a pair of turnovers late. But this is the Jets we’re talking about.
“There’s no such thing as easy wins in this league,” Incognito insisted. “This is the NFL. That’s a talented squad over there. They have a lot of talent on defense. Some studs who are playing up front. A bunch of first-round picks, some high-priced guys. They bring it. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. We came out here today and took care of business.”
Taking care of business wasn’t exactly a hallmark of the Rex Ryan era. The first game under McDermott didn’t generate much hype leading up to kick off and was somewhat dull throughout the afternoon. It even wrapped up in less than three hours. According to McDermott and his players, everything went as planned.
“Well, it’s only one game,” McDermott said. “We want to win, and we got that done today. We were fortunate to get that done … We played good, solid football as you alluded to. Good, fundamentally sound, aggressive, tough football. That’s what we were looking to do is to create that type of identity.”
What McDermott is explaining almost sounds boring. It also sounds like a refreshing change for players and fans.
“We’re excited,” Incognito said. “It’s the first chapter of the 2017 Bills, coach McDermott and the new staff. We’re excited. We know we have 15 more opportunities to go out and earn as many wins as possible. It is business as usual. We’ve been preparing for this, preparing for the win and it’s exciting. There’s a whole new energy. I’m really excited just taking a step back and looking at what we’re building right now.”
Gallery: Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets in Week 1 of NFL season