From Sammy Watkins to Marcell Dareus to Robert Woods, the Buffalo Bills let several players walk this year, leading many to speculate that the franchise was punting the 2017 season.
While that may have been a common refrain outside of the locker room, it wasn’t a common sentiment inside of it.
“No, I wouldn’t say we felt that way at all,” Bills safety Jordan Poyer said on Tiki and Tierney. “I think the guys that we did decide to keep are the right type of guys and (had) the right mindset throughout the whole season. When things were going up, when things were going down, we just kind of stayed on the same wave and fought with each other and fought back. It’s been fun with those guys. It’s real family-oriented. We’re always hanging out off the field. It’s real cool to be a part of this organization. Some of these guys, I’ll be friends with for a very long time, so it’s a very cool atmosphere to be around.”
The Bills started the season 5-2 before losing three straight games in November to the Jets, Saints, and Chargers – by a combined 80 points, no less. At 5-5, Buffalo, it seemed, had run out of magic.
Nope. The magic was just beginning.
The Bills responded with a 16-10 win in Kansas City in Week 12, which Poyer believes was the turning point of the season.
“Nobody gave up, nobody quit on the team, nobody was pointing fingers – nobody was doing any of that kind of stuff,” Poyer said. “I’ve been on teams where it’s been like that. Just to see that from the guys, from our leaders in the locker room, it makes it fun. Nobody wants to lose three in a row, especially in the middle of the season, but we found a way to bounce back and now we’re in the playoffs.”
The Bills won four of their last six games, including a 22-16 win in Miami on Sunday. To make the playoffs, though, they needed the Bengals to beat the Ravens in Baltimore.
Andy Dalton found Tyler Boyd on 4th-and-12, and the rest is history.
“That really was a special moment for everybody,” said Poyer, who recorded an interception in Buffalo’s final three games and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month. “It’s something that you can’t really explain. Obviously we knew they had to come back on defense and play, but it was an unreal experience, an unreal feeling, and I’m just relax happy for everybody in the organization and all the Bills fans in Buffalo.”
The Bills (9-7) play the Jaguars (10-6) in Jacksonville this Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET. If victorious, Buffalo would get a rematch with AFC East rival New England in the divisional round. The Bills went 0-2 against the Patriots this season – and were outscored 60-19 in the process.
“We’d love another shot,” Poyer said. “But in order to get that shot, (Sunday) has got to be our best game ever.”