The NFL has come under fire from conservatives for taking a stand against nationalism, but this is not the first time sports have had to face down criticism. Sports history is littered with moments that test players’ allegiances and when it comes to patriotism, some fans will take any chance they get.

‘We’re Not Gonna Take Any Crap’

In the 2021 NFL season, the Buffalo Bills accomplished a lot. They were 13-3 throughout the regular season, but in the AFC Championship Game, they were defeated by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Sean McDermott’s team is out for vengeance against the reigning AFC champions. Players are desperate to get the terrible taste out of their mouths, according to offensive guard Ryan Bates.

Ryan Bates discusses the Bills’ approach as they prepare for the Divisional Round.

Bills offensive linemen Ryan Bates and Dion Dawkins in the tunnel before a game

Bills offensive linemen Ryan Bates and Dion Dawkins in the tunnel before a game The Buffalo Bills’ Ryan Bates and Dion Dawkins walk the field before their game against the Indianapolis Colts | Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

Since 1993, the Buffalo Bills haven’t gone to the Super Bowl. They were on the verge of returning in the 2020 season. Buffalo’s ambitions were thwarted in the AFC Championship Game when the Kansas City Chiefs defeated them 38-24.

In 2020, Josh Allen and his team could taste the summit but couldn’t get over the hump. Could things be different this time? The Bills certainly appear to believe so.

Starting left guard Ryan Bates said there is a new mood in the locker room coming into the Chiefs’ Divisional Round matchup. He just spoke on One Bills Live to talk about his attitude heading into the upcoming battle.

“As you can understand, last year left a terrible taste in our mouths,” Bates added. “At the conclusion of the game, they have that image of Stef [Diggs] watching them.” Everyone is looking forward to getting back out there. We’re coming with a bit of a swagger. We’re going to hit them in the face, and we’re not going to accept it.”

Bates responded with a huge retort. Now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Despite topping the Chiefs in the regular season, the Bills will surely come into this game with a huge chip on their shoulders.

Buffalo will seek to build on their victory against the Chiefs throughout the regular season.

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In the AFC, the Bills and Chiefs are establishing a burgeoning rivalry. In the last two seasons, the two clubs have faced three times, with this Divisional Round clash being the fourth.

In Week 5, head coach Sean McDermott’s team went to Kansas City for a Sunday Night Football matchup. Buffalo was aiming to make a statement in the first meeting between the two teams since the AFC Championship Game. The AFC East champs did precisely that.

The Bills dominated the Chiefs from start to end, winning by a score of 38-20. Patrick Mahomes was beaten by Josh Allen. He threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns as a Wyoming product. He also ran for 59 yards and a touchdown.

Leslie Frazier’s defense came into play as well. The defense limited the Chiefs’ dynamic attack to 392 total yards and forced three turnovers from Patrick Mahomes.

This time, Buffalo will be up against a different Kansas City club. On both sides of the ball, Andy Reid’s team is much superior. Even so, the Bills can use some of what they learned in the first encounter to the postseason rematch.

Buffalo has a powerful rushing game, with Allen and Devin Singletary leading the way. The Chiefs don’t have a strong run defense, which might cause problems for the reigning AFC champions. The Bills also have the best defense in the league, which could make for an interesting clash against Mahomes and company.

What is the limit for Josh Allen and his crew?

The Bills’ 2021 season has been up and down. At times, they seemed to be a Super Bowl contender. They also appeared weak at times, such as in the humiliating defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Buffalo, on the other hand, has weathered the season’s ups and downs. The Bills had a solid finish and looked great down the stretch. They finished the season with a four-game winning streak.

Few anticipated the AFC East winners to accomplish what they did to the New England Patriots in the Wild Card Round, despite the fact that they looked pretty strong near the close of the regular season. Bill Belichick and the Patriots were trounced 47-17 by Buffalo.

The Patriots seemed to be a Super Bowl contender at one time, but opponents began to expose them as the season progressed. They’ve been put out of their misery by the Bills.

On both sides of the ball, Buffalo overwhelmed New England. This club, regardless of who it meets, is a difficult out when it’s firing on all cylinders. The Bills have a comprehensive and balanced assault with a top-3 offense and defense.

Ryan Bates said it up well. Despite beating the Chiefs during the regular season, the Bills have yet to do it in the playoffs. This is a squad that has a lot to prove. Buffalo can defeat anybody if it plays its game.

The Bills are a serious danger to not just make it to the Super Bowl, but to win it all.

Pro Football Reference provided all stats.

RELATED: NFL Playoffs: 4 Reasons Why Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills Will Upset Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC Championship Rematch

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