Sean McDermott explains questionable field goals that doomed Bills in AFC championship game

Sean McDermott
(Getty Images)

Some Bills fans want to put Sean McDermott through a table this morning.

It wasn't as much the performance of Josh Allen and the offense or McDermott's defense that took center stage in the blame game, but rather McDermott's decision to kick a pair of less-than-gutsy field goals in the loss that many are left questioning this morning — the first, a 3-pointer just before the half that tightened the gap to 21-12, and the second, a third-quarter kick to bring the score to 24-15.

The Buffalo head coach explained after the game his decision to not go for it:

I thought about going for it on both occasions. Maybe if I had to do it over again, I would have went for maybe one of them. But the one before the half, I wanted to get points. We were having trouble coming up with points, and I wanted to at least have something to show for it going into the half, especially knowing they were getting the ball after half. I'll look back at that and reevaluate that, especially the one after half there, and as an entire team, we'll learn from the experience.

MORE: Matt LaFleur made an error similar to Sean McDermott's

To make matters worse, both field goals were chip shot tries: The first was an attempt from the 8-yard line (27-yard attempt) and the second was netted from the 2-yard line (20-yard attempt). Both tries were easily in "go for it" territory.

McDermott's decision to kick the pre-halftime field goal was met with criticism from all over, with some labeling the Bills coach a "coward" for the kick. Patrick Mahomes and the world's greatest offense were getting the ball to start the second half, meaning maybe there should have been a bit of increased urgency to keep pace from Buffalo's perspective. 

The Chiefs would score a field goal of their own on their first drive of the second half.

Questionable kicking calls have been the MO of NFL head coaches during the 2021 NFL playoff season, with McDermott the new posterboy for conservative play after the AFC championship game. The 38-24 score didn't adequately reflect how much of lopsided affair it was. Earlier in the day, Packers head coach Mike LaFleur got roasted for his decision to kick a field goal with the NFC championship game hanging in the balance vs. the Buccaneers.

In any case, the Chiefs are advancing to the Super Bowl and the Bills aren't, and McDermott played directly into that result.

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