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Heartbreak leads to grit: What the Bills learned from an up and down season

After upsets by the Steelers and Jaguars, to name a few, then getting clobbered by the Colts, the Bills learned some hard lessons throughout the regular season.
Credit: AP
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws a touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Bills losing to Jacksonville (3-14) this season tells you exactly what kind of low Buffalo's playoff-bound team has been capable of this year, but they still have a home AFC Wild Card game to show for their 11-6 record.

Last year, the Bills were heading into the postseason at 13-3. It was much smoother sailing.

"Last year... the whole season was a different scenario, like we were on all season long," Offensive Lineman, Dion Dawkins said after Sunday's regular-season finale win over the New York Jets at Highmark Stadium, where the Bills clinched the AFC East title for the second straight year. 

The Bills' three regular seasons losses in 2020 were reasonable, to Kansas City, Tennessee, and of course, the "Hail Murray" loss to Arizona.

Dawkins said the Bills have preferred the grittier path to the playoffs this season.

"This season we were on highs and lows.. it was just a rollercoaster," Dawkins said. "It feels great to get it the grittier way."

After upsets by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars, to name a few, then getting clobbered by the Indianapolis Colts, who did not make the postseason, the Bills learned some hard lessons throughout the regular season.

After back-to-back losses to New England and Tampa Bay, Buffalo started to find its way.

"For us, I feel like we're heading in with the right mindset. We had our ebbs and flows all season," Bills receiver Stefon Diggs said.

"We've been through the good and the bad, coming out on the back end, trying to get hot late, trending in the right direction, and we did that. So now we gotta take the next step and be consistent."

Now, the Bills need to remain consistent and pick up their fifth straight win, hosting New England in their third matchup together this season, Saturday night in an AFC Wild Card matchup.

There's no more bouncing back this time of year.

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