Bills Coaches Won't get Into Details on Epic Fourth Down Failure

Lots of things went wrong, including the call itself, on play that set Steelers up for go-ahead TD, but Sean McDermott and Brian Daboll won't identify them.
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The buzz around the Buffalo Bills more than 24 hours after their season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers still is all about the spectacular failure of the fourth-down play that proved to be the turning point.

What exactly happened? Who failed to do what?

That will just have to be up for everyone to determine via video review, because nobody is giving details.

Not the players. Not the coaches.

Head coach Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll did talk about the failed play — a backward pass to Matt Breida, who was immediately dropped for a 7-yard loss — extensively in separate news conferences on Monday, but without revealing anything.

Coaches can be like that. They're not going to point to things like left tackle Dion Dawkins completely whiffing on his man before falling down, or fullback Reggie Gilliam seemingly playing with cement shoes and not being able to pick up cornerback Cam Sutton, who blew the whole thing up.

Especially in Buffalo.

Proof positive that, well, nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.

"They did a good job," Daboll said of the Steelers. "We motioned 19 [WR Isaiah McKenzie] across and [Sutton] stayed and, you know, they got us. We were trying to be aggressive there, and certainly you'd like to have all those calls back that don't quite work out, the way you hoped, but we were trying to be aggressive."

Sutton followed McKenzie in motion but eventually stopped at the right edge while McKenzie continued on behind quarterback Josh Allen, who probably should have killed the play when he saw that.

So there were all kinds of failures, but no official confirmation.

Daboll was asked about it every which way, and every time he responded with obvious generalities.

"We've been working on those [gadget] plays since the beginning of OTAs and training camp," Daboll added later. "And we thought at that point in time that it was the right call."

All McDermott would say about it was: "I thought just overall we've got to give ourselves a chance to get the first down, and we didn't give ourselves a chance to get the first down. And that's probably the most disappointing thing about it."

Well, other than failing to break it down.

But suffice to say that it's doubtful they will turn back to that page in the book anytime in the next 100 years.

Nick Fierro is the publisher of Bills Central. Check out the latest Bills news at and follow Fierro on Twitter at @NickFierro. Email to