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For the Bills, no Pain, no Gain Heading Into Playoff Rematch With Chiefs

The team is hungry after last season's loss in AFC Championship Game.

Sean McDermott was multi-tasking right in front of all those in cyberspace who were invited to his Zoom press conference on Wednesday morning, wolfing down some pre-practice chow while answering questions about his team's upcoming playoff clash with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The fifth-year Bills coach minded his manners, though. He did not talk with his mouth full.

Appropriately, one of the questions was about food, specifically eating chocolate cake, which McDermott's mentor and current Chiefs coach Andy Reid this week equated with winning the Super Bowl. Reid said his appetite is still going strong after just one Lombardi Trophy.

So one can imagine McDermott's hunger. He's been to two Super Bowls without a win.

The difference, though, could be in their cravings.

Reid, who has remained close to his body form as an offensive lineman at Brigham Young, was quite believable when talking about chocolate cake. McDermott, who has remained close to his body form as a 171-pound wrestler in high school, was not nearly as convincing after struggling to come up with a comfort food he could compare to a Super Bowl victory: a chocolate milkshake.

Even if he was being honest, you can bet it would be to chase a double portion of asparagus or some such.

Nevertheless, McDermott's the Bills' hunger is real and intensified by the near-misses — three losses by a combined 24 points — that ended their previous three trips to the postseason, the last one falling one excruciating game short of the Super Bowl to the same opponent they'll face Sunday.

McDermott calls the setbacks "scar tissue," which may not be the worst thing in the world, to hear him tell it.

"You don't like scar tissue at the time," he said, "but as you go through it, if you handle it the right way, it can help you down the road. So we'll just see how this week goes."

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To a man, the players who were with the Bills for last season's loss in the conference championship game have used it as healthy motivation.

"I think a lot of guys had that loss in their mind all offseason," safety Jordan Poyer said. "Really kind of fired them up through the offseason to kind of get that energy going into the season. ... Nobody wants to go home yet. Great opportunity against that same opponent. But ... yeah, the loss definitely stuck with a lot of us over the offseason, coming into the season leading up to now."

That the Bills beat the Chiefs three months ago in the regular season won't mean much in this rematch, McDermott hinted between gulps of food.

"We've just got to keep knocking at the door," McDermott said. "And they're  a really, really good football team that's obviously been world champions of late and went back last season. So we're a good football team, I believe, and we've just got to keep knocking."

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs sensed along with the rest of the team after the win over the Chiefs that they would be tasked with doing it again this month.

"The Chiefs are a hell of a team," he said. "They got all the talent in the world, they're playing at a high level, they've been to the Super Bowl twice, they got a hell of a quarterback, hell of a [good] receivers, good defense. They're a good team."

What it portends for Sunday night should make for good TV following a week in which McDermott offered a glimpse into just how busy they've been in getting ready.

So don't mind him if he grabs a quick bite while doing something else. Time is extremely limited these days, even coming off a Saturday night game that gives the Bills an extra day to prepare.

They just want to maximize those precious extra hours.

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