Bills make it to Detroit to top Browns thanks to ‘Squirrel’


When the power went out in Bills coach Sean McDermott’s house Friday night, the generator kicked in, but then the generator went out. So McDermott, snow above his waist, went out to try to fix it. “An NFL head coach in a blizzard, trying to fix his generator,” he said Sunday. “Crazy.” Finally, a repair guy came around 10:30 and fixed it so the McDermotts could go to bed. Good thing, because the power went out again. This time the generator worked through the night.

The Bills set up a system to get all the coaches and players to the stadium so they’d be able to fly to Detroit late in the afternoon on Saturday. A couple of players had to walk, with luggage, a half-mile to get rides to the buses.

A retired farmer from Orchard Park, Dave Winter, aka “Squirrel,” has a John Deere tractor with an eight-foot-wide bucket on the front, good for clearing eight-foot-wide swaths, like driveways, in short order. So Squirrel was out in Orchard Park Saturday afternoon being the good neighbor he is, when he came upon a neighbor at the end of one of the longest driveways in town. A small plow was no match for this driveway, with maybe 55 or 60 inches. “Oh, quarter-mile long, I’d say,” said Squirrel. “Maybe more.”

Squirrel stopped. “I said to my neighbor Norm, who was there, ‘You need a path blown through?’ He said, ‘I don’t know, ask that guy.’ Well, I don’t know that guy, an older gentleman, but he says he went to school with my cousin, and so I asked if he needs help here and he says, ‘Sure!’ So I did the driveway, cleared a good path there, and I get up to the garage and the door opens and Josh [Allen] is standing there. Probably the whole thing took a half hour. Got out, shook his hand. Told him, ‘Good luck tomorrow.’

“I introduced myself. ‘Dave. Dave Winter. When you think of snow, think of me, Winter.’ I says, ‘We got that red machinery shop, the farm just down the road.’ Looked like he was in a hurry. Didn’t have time to chit-chat. So that was it.”

“What would have happened if you didn’t come along?” I asked this man known as Squirrel.

“Oh, my guess is they woulda put him on a snowmobile, taken him down that long driveway and out into the street, and somebody woulda come and got him,” Squirrel said.

When the Bills finally boarded buses after 4 for the trip to the airport, the two main roads were closed. So the Bills had to crawl through town streets that had been plowed. “Classic western New York towns,” McDermott said. “Orchard Park, West Seneca, a few more.” Depew, Lancaster, Cheektowaga. “It was so great. People on the side of the road, giving us the thumbs-up, taking pictures, waving, cheering. Just awesome.”

Ever hear of barn-raising? In Amish communities, when a farmer needs a barn built, or some other project done, people from miles around come in for two or three days to do the building or the job. That’s Buffalo. That’s what happened here, with the Bills, and with the neighbors. Raise your hand if you need help.

“This weekend is a reminder that there’s a lot of good in this world, still,” McDermott said.

Now for the game. After no practice Friday or Saturday, the Bills got to Detroit around 7 Saturday evening. Cleveland went up 10-3 as the Buffalo offense sputtered through the first 25 minutes of the game. But a late second-quarter TD pass from Allen to Stefon Diggs in the back of the end zone gave Buffalo the lead, 13-10. The Bills rolled to a 28-10 lead and the game was over midway through the fourth quarter.

The Bills decided to go home after the game instead of staying in comfier, snow-less Detroit. Seemed smart. They could sleep in their beds for three nights before returning at midday Wednesday. As much as we think, Just stay and practice in Michigan, so many of the players and coaches have families who need them. It was the right move to go back.

Allen, for his part, wanted to give a shout-out to his new pal Squirrel after the game. Squirrel, he said, “came with a big old tractor and dug me out. When I was going down the driveway, the radar in my car was beeping, like I was about to hit something.”

Squirrel’s going to be famous after this, Allen was told.

“He should be. He’s the man.”

In Buffalo this weekend, the community was the man.

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft WR Rankings: Zay Flowers, Jaxon Smith-Njigba top list


The 2023 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and across all positions, fans are eagerly tracking the names to know to see what prospects can bolster their team in the upcoming season. A top-quality pass-catcher is on the wish list for more than a few franchises, and ahead of the draft on April 27th, Chris Simms broke down his picks for the top five wide receivers in this year’s draft class, starting with Boston College’s Zay Flowers, who’s been rumored to be of interest for both the Saints and the Patriots. Stay tuned to the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast for the next month as Simms breaks down his rankings for every position group, and read on for the rest of his wide receiver rankings.

RELATED: Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings: C.J. Stroud leads the way, and a tie at No. 5

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Rankings

Tier One

1. Zay Flowers, Boston College

2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

Tier Two

3. Quentin Johnston, TCU

4. Michael Wilson, Stanford

Tier Three

5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

Chris Simms Top 5 2023 NFL Draft Wide Receivers

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Simms Breaks Down 2023 Draft WR Rankings

The following are highlights from Simms’ WR draft rankings. For Simms’ in-depth analysis, read below for a breakdown on each prospect and be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

No. 1 Zay Flowers (Boston College)

What Simms Said: “The position versatility – he can play inside or outside. Some of the best releases in the draft are from Zay Flowers. He is pedal to the metal every play, every cut, everything he does. The build, the style of running…I think he looks like Antonio Brown. He is an unbelievable route runner, along with the explosive athlete. You’re really getting a three-in-one here with speed burner on the outside, speed burner on the inside, and slot receiver inside. I wrote Jaylen Waddle, that’s a guy he reminds me of…(He) plays bigger than his measurables say. To me, he’s a top-20 pick.”

No. 2 Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

What Simms Said: “The speed is not blazing…but what’s off the charts good is the guy’s quickness and route running. His ability to come off the ball and be going 70% and almost jump in the air at the six-yard mark…it’s like Allen Iverson with an unbelievable crossover dribble. He’s got this unbelievable ability to change direction and then accelerate in a hurry. His ability after the catch…the first guy never tackles him…He reminds me of Jarvis Landry, to a greater version. This guy is about as high level of a route runner as you’re going to see in college.”

No. 3 Quentin Johnson, TCU

What Simms Said: “Tee Higgins-ish with more explosive ability than Higgins had coming out. He can catch the six-yard shallow cross and run 80 yards for a touchdown. His ability to jump – it’s a 40.5 inch vertical – plus he’s 6’3” and his arms look like they’re ridiculously long. He’s Drake London-ish from last year, except he doesn’t have the route running but has more of the straight speed…He’s one of the most physically impressive wide receivers in recent memory. You don’t see a lot of the route variety…but he shows the ability to change direction with the ball in his hands. He has better feet, quickness, and suddenness than most people with his size.”

No. 4 Michael Wilson, Stanford

What Simms Said: “This is where we’re going to go a little unconventional…But if you watch the film, you go, ‘There’s no doubt this is one of the best three or four receivers in this draft.’ There’s nothing he doesn’t do that’s top-notch…He ran a 4.58 at the Combine in the 40, (but) he plays way faster than that…The physical specimen is real, let alone the refined things you like to see in a receiver are real too. He can be another guy who could be inside or outside because he’s got the pure size and strength and speed to beat you outside but has the route running and it looks like the smarts to be that slot guy that catches your eye as well.”

No. 5 Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee 

What Simms Said: “If you like speed, then you like Jaylin Hyatt…This is a track start, straight-liner, DeSean Jackson-, Will Fuller-ish type of receiver. So, there’s going to be things about him that you love, there’s going to be some things about him that I’m not crazy about. He’s not a great route runner…I truly question whether he can do it, unlike the other guys where I try to piece things together. You can watch a bunch of catches and he never makes anybody miss, that’s not his game…If there’s a seam straight away, watch out…If he gets a free release or gets off the line of scrimmage the right way and you have a safety that doesn’t get back instantly, see ya. It’s going to be a 60-yard post for a touchdown. That’s where he’s special.”

For more preview content of the 2023 NFL Draft, stay tuned to Chris Simms UnbuttonedProFootballTalk and NBC Sports EDGE for all the latest updates, player analysis and mock drafts.

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings: The top QBs, WRs, RBs, and more ahead of draft weekend


The 2023 NFL Draft takes place on Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. Click here for the full first-round draft order to find out when your team is picking.

Ahead of this year’s draft, Chris Simms has already started analyzing the top prospects by position on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast. So far, Simms has revealed his highly anticipated list of the top 5 quarterback prospects and wide receivers. See below to find out who made the top 5 names for each position and be sure to check back for updates!

Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL Draft as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings:

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings:

  1. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
  2. Bryce Young, Alabama
  3. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
  4. Anthony Richardson, Florida
  5. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA and Will Levis, Kentucky

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft WR Rankings:

  1. Zay Flowers, Boston College
  2. Jaxon Smith-Njibga, Ohio State
  3. Quentin Jonston, TCU
  4. Michael Wilson, Stanford
  5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

How can I watch the 2023 NFL Draft live?

ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network will air all seven rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.

What time does the NFL Draft start?

The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft will get underway on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Rounds two and three will commence Friday at 7 p.m. ET, with Saturday’s final rounds at 12 p.m.

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2023 NFL Season and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!