Bills clinch playoff berth with victory over Steelers

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Buffalo is back in the postseason for the second time in three seasons.

The Bills punched their ticket to the playoffs with a 17-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night. Buffalo (10-4) also clinched its first 10-win season since 1999 and just its second trip to the postseason since then.

Buffalo isn't so used to making the postseason with such regularity, but with coach Sean McDermott in his third season at the helm, a competitive January is quickly becoming the norm.

"Being here three years, to be in it two out of three years, what a blessing," McDermott told reporters after Sunday's win over Pittsburgh. "Coming to Buffalo three years ago now, a lot of people said, 'Why are you going there? You're not going to be able to get it turned around.'

"We got it turned around, with a lot of work yet to do. We haven't arrived. We've got work to do. But I'm just humbled by it."

Playing in their first "Sunday Night Football" game since 2007 and earning their first such win since 2000, the Bills certainly arrived in Pittsburgh ready to compete with the league's fifth-ranked defense. Buffalo's offense played it safe against the Steelers and committed just two turnovers, while the Bills' defense forced five takeaways against Devlin Hodges and company.

While neither side was explosive on offense, Buffalo scored last (a 14-yard TD reception by Tyler Kroft with 7:55 to go) and made the last stop (back-to-back picks in the end zone by Bills defenders in the last two minutes). That was enough for McDermott's "resilient" bunch.

"Our defense stood up when we had to, and our offense, we made a big play when we had to," McDermott summarized.

Cornerback Tre'Davious White, who snagged two interceptions and tied for the league lead in picks (6), was confident in Buffalo's ability to win in a hostile ennvironment like Pittsburgh.

"It's the resilient group we have. Coach challenges us each and every week and we respond each and every week," White told NBC Sports' Michele Tafoya. "The guys in that locker room, they don't back down from nothing. When your backs are against the wall, we know how to respond.

"Going into any arena and going against any opponent, I feel confident in my guys in my locker room, because I know the preparation we put together and the way we prepare each week."

That next arena will be Gillette Stadium where the division-leading New England Patriots (11-3) await. Buffalo is just a game behind the AFC East stalwarts, and a win over the Pats doesn't ensure the Bills a division title. But there is still a lot at stake for Buffalo, who feel it still has much to prove to the conference's contenders.

"We know we have two more games and two more crucial games that could really dictate the outcome of where we're at and where we're seeded. So it's a good position to be in, but we've got to go attack these next two weeks and it starts with Saturday on a short week," quarterback Josh Allen said. "We've got a tall task ahead of us, and we'll celebrate this one today and get ready for Saturday tomorrow."

A tall task for a tall quarterback and a team playing above expectations, but one from which the Bills won't back down -- in December or January.

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