BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Two days after the Buffalo Bills were knocked out of the postseason by the Kansas City Chiefs, coach Sean McDermott reflected on what work his team has left to do before it's ready to beat the two-time defending AFC champions.
Sunday night's 38-24 loss was the Bills' second loss to Kansas City this season, with them also falling 26-17 in Week 6. The Chiefs controlled a majority of the AFC Championship Game, and McDermott admitted after the game that Kansas City will be Buffalo's "measuring stick" heading into the offseason.
"There is still a gap in terms of where we are and where they are. It's not just one answer that solves that problem," McDermott said. "We all have to, starting with me, we all have to continue asking ourselves the hard questions of the what-ifs and the whys and the hows. We as a staff have to get better and improve, we have to improve our roster, we have to improve our operation and what we do."
The Bills went 13-3 and won the AFC East this season for the first time since 1995, then won their first playoff games since the turn of the century, beating the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens in the wild-card and divisional rounds, respectively.
It was the best of McDermott's four seasons with the Bills, three of which have resulted in playoff berths after the franchise spent 17 straight seasons without one.
But it still didn't match his former mentor, Andy Reid, who led the Chiefs to a 14-2 record in his eighth season with the team.
"They're in Year 8, and we're in Year 4," McDermott said. "But that's a little bit of a feel for how long they've been building their program and where we are. There's a lot that we've improved on in terms of what's gotten us to where we are."
McDermott said that it's too early to pinpoint exactly which areas the Bills need to improve this offseason but that he and his staff are already working on finding those areas. He did say that Buffalo needs to run the ball better after finishing 20th in the NFL in rushing this season, also that it "absolutely" needs to improve defensively. After finishing the 2018 and 2019 season as the league's second- and third-best defense in terms of yards allowed per game, the Bills dipped to 14th in 2020.
There will also likely be an emphasis on adding more overall team speed -- especially after witnessing what the Chiefs were able to do Sunday night. Kansas City had plays of 50 and 71 yards against the Bills, which did not go unnoticed by McDermott.
"I think the speed element showed up on the field the other night," he said. "I don't think it takes a coach to realize that. Speed and size, that's what this game is -- speed, size and physicality."
One area the Bills won't have to worry much about this offseason is at quarterback, where Josh Allen looks like one of the league's brightest young stars. Allen set single-season franchise records in every major passing category and was selected to his first Pro Bowl this season.
Allen said he believes he has proved that the Bills made the right decision to trade up to select him in the 2018 draft, and McDermott said Allen's development is a reflection of the franchise's current standing.
"It's certainly a benchmark or landmark to where we've gotten beyond now, right," he said. "I think that speaks well for the future of this organization moving forward. There's not a lot of teams that can answer that question and say 'yes, we have our quarterback,' and I can tell you, and you've watched it, Josh Allen is a very good quarterback and one we can win with for years to come."