The Buffalo Bills entered the 2022 season as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. The team finished the regular season with a 13-3 record and earned the No. 2 seed in the AFC for the postseason.
The Bills had home-field advantage in the wild-card round, where they defeated the Miami Dolphins. Next up, the Bills had a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Receiver Isaiah McKenzie, who played for the Bills last season and signed with Indianapolis Colts in the offseason, believes Buffalo was actually at a disadvantage when it faced the Bengals at home.
McKenzie blamed snow, which fell during much of the game, for the Bills’ 27-10 loss in the late January game.
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“If we were in a dome, it would have been a totally different game,” McKenzie said on a recent episode of the “Go Long” podcast with Tyler Dunne.
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Despite playing on the road in harsh, snowy conditions, the Bengals jumped out to a 14-0 lead, and McKenzie claims the snow hampered his team’s ability to mount a comeback.
“I’ll tell you this: That snow had a lot to do with it,” McKenzie said of the loss. “Let’s be real. Our run game wasn’t the best run game. … We didn’t have a run game, so the snow was a big deal because we pass the ball.”
Joe Burrow is familiar with playing outdoors in the cold, wind and even snow. The star quarterback managed to throw for 242 yards and two touchdowns that day.
Bengals running back Joe Mixon finished the game with 105 yards and a touchdown.
McKenzie argued the snow prevented his team from throwing the ball and forced it to simplify its offensive attack.
“The Bengals ran basic routes,” McKenzie said. “Maybe we should’ve done that — ran basic routes, like out routes, go balls — instead of running routes that you have to be going lateral or coming back to the football or turning and running curls and things like that.”
McKenzie finished the game with two catches for 10 yards. Two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Josh Allen threw for 264 yards, but he threw an interception and no touchdowns.
“Everybody says, ‘Oh, the Bengals caught the ball, they ran. Joe Burrow threw the ball just fine. Their receivers caught the ball just fine.’ But Joe Burrow and Josh are just two different type of guys,” McKenzie said.
“Josh has a cannon, and that’s how he throws a football. Josh has touch every now and then, but he wants to sling the football. And that was kind of tough for him, getting the balls in the right spots, receivers getting open because of the routes we ran.”
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Now that McKenzie is a Colt, he’ll be playing in a stadium with a retractable roof.