BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — "I'm so thankful," coach Sean McDermott said. "I'm so happy for the fans."
For the first time in 25 years, the Buffalo Bills are AFC East Champions.
"Buffalo has been waiting for this for 25 years," tackle Dion Dawkins reiterated after the game. It's just special. It's just an unexplainable feeling."
"This team here, we're on a mission," cornerback Tre'Davious White added. "I can feel it."
After General Manager Brandon Beane called it a goal before the season began, the players can't deny how good it feels to get their AFC East clinching-win. Even when some, like wide receiver Cole Beasley, had no idea that possibility was on the table before Saturday's game kicked off.
"To be honest, I had no idea if we won, we would clinch tonight," Cole Beasley laughed. "I don't know how I was out of the loop."
But while the feeling of clinching their first Division title since 1995 is satisfying, and they'll host a playoff game for the first time since 1996, they're not even close to being done. There's now a bigger goal in mind.
"It's a family," Dion Dawkins called his team. "A family that stays together will win, cherish, and conquer it all. This was just step one."
"I think it means a lot," quarterback Josh Allen said about the win. "At the same time, our shirts say one - not done. Everything's in front of us and it gives us a shot."
The Bills have won the AFC East many times before, but they've never been able to win a Super Bowl. This team is hoping to turn that around, and it involves well more than half the current roster who weren't even alive the last time the Bills made a trip to the big game.
"They say millennials don't really tie themselves to tradition or the past, but man this is a blessing from God," McDermott said. "I think it's so cool when the guys who are so young can tie into the past. They see the banners hanging in our facility every day. It's one thing as a coach to coach your current team, but I think we have a responsibility to do things the right way for the guys who started this years ago."
Based on the play of the offense and defense so far this December, the Bills look like a Super Bowl contender. They're playing some of their best ball, but while the last few games have gone their way, they say there's still a lot they need to work on and clean up.
"We've got two games left, including a primetime [game] on Monday night this week," safety Jordan Poyer said. "We're gonna enjoy this victory but it's a 24-hour rule."
"We've got to get better at not shooting ourselves in the foot. As much as we move the ball, we have to find ways to stop the penalties and put the ball in the end zone," Allen added. "We left a lot out there, and we'll learn from it. We have two games we have to go finish."
The Bills travel to New England next Monday and will host the Miami Dolphins in their regular season finale.