The Buffalo Bills did not expect to go out like this.
Hailed as preseason Super Bowl favorites, they were outplayed from the opening kick of a 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at home on Sunday. Frustrations boiled over on the sideline and reportedly in the locker room after the game.
Buffalo's last best best chance failed when a fourth-and-6 pass from Josh Allen to Gabe Davis fell incomplete in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter. All-Pro receiver Stefon Diggs apparently thought that Allen should have looked his way on the play. He gave Allen an earful when they reached the sideline. Allen kept his head down, apparently uninterested in engaging with Diggs' pleas.
The Bills didn't score again in the 17-point loss. After the game, Diggs "darted out of the locker room with all his stuff," before Bills coaches had returned from the field, according to The Athletic's Joe Buscaglia. He was coaxed to return by running back Duke Johnson, but left for good a few minutes later, according to the report.
Diggs was not available to speak with media for obvious reasons. Head coach Sean McDermott instead addressed Diggs' displeasure while speaking with reporters.
"What makes him good is what you saw," McDermott said. "He's very competitive, like we all are. We work extremely hard at these jobs to be the best that we can possibly be. And it hurts.
"I wouldn't want a guy that doesn't hurt. He put it all on the line out there, we put it all on the line. And tonight it wasn't good enough. That's the part that stings."
Allen chalked it up to Diggs being a "fiery competitor."
"He's a fiery competitor," Allen said of Diggs. "He wants the ball. Whatever it was that we couldn't get him the ball tonight, we're gonna have to learn from."
Allen had one of the worst games of his season, throwing for 265 yards with an interception and no passing touchdowns. Diggs managed just four catches for 35 yards. And now Buffalo's season is over.
Every playoff loss hurts. The Bills' loss surely stung that much more given their preseason expectations.