Tate’s catch, team celebration gave McDermott “chills”

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Brandon Tate (15) runs with the ball against the Oakland Raiders during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Facing 2nd-and-20 late in the third quarter against the Raiders on Sunday, Tyrod Taylor avoided a sack, reset in the pocket and threw a short pass to Brandon Tate, who provided Head Coach Sean McDermott with a moment he hasn’t had in his two decades of coaching.

Tate caught the ball, spun away from two defenders, made a third miss and not only picked up 24 yards but a pivotal a first down.  McDermott was the first to run down the sideline and meet the receiver — the bench then joined — jumping in and celebrating the big play.

“It gives me chills just thinking about that,” McDermott said reflecting on the play.  “In 20 years I don’t think I’ve ever seen that on the sideline.”

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The Bills went on to score a touchdown to open up a 26-7 lead over Oakland in their eventual 34-14 win on Sunday.

It was certainly a moment worth enjoying, but the first year head coach knows it was a play that won’t define the season.

“I was extremely proud of the players and how they played yesterday,” McDermott added.  “5-2, nobody gives out awards for 5-2, but we have to keep that in mind. They’ve earned everything they’ve gotten so far. I’m happy for them.”

The first year head coach has preached the “process” since he was hired in January. It’s a mentality his players have invested in, too.  As injuries have mounted, the “next man up” mantra has been on full display on Sundays, as well.

Trae Elston, who started in place for Jordan Poyer (knee) against the Raiders, collected his first career interception. Rookie Matt Milano, who started in place of Ramon Humber, turned the tide of the game with a fumble return for a touchdown and forced fumble in the third quarter.

There are no “backups” on the team McDermott said on Monday, adding  “there are linebackers, safeties and wide receivers” that make up the roster.

“When you have that kind of approach, that mindset and you erase the labels, (players are) ready to go and they step up when their number is called.”

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