The Buffalo Bills played in week 17 with their division title clinched and not much on the line, since Pittsburgh was playing their backups against Cleveland and the number two seed looked safe. Regardless, Sean McDermott didn’t hesitate to play his starters in the first half, and they completely outclassed a Miami Dolphins team trying to guarantee a playoff spot.
Even after putting the backups in, Buffalo continued the domination on their way to a 56-26 massacre. Here are my top three takeaways from the game:
Nice Exclamation Point on an Impressive 13-3 Season
What a ride, Bills Mafia. Even for the most confident fans, this scenario — where the team wins 13 games (we know it should have been 14 ), sweep the division and easily get in the playoffs, becoming one of, if not the top contender for the conference crown — was sort of a dream. Thankfully, dreams can become reality.
#Shoutout: The Bills matched the franchise record by tallying 13 wins this season.— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) January 3, 2021
The team's six game winning streak marks the best finish to a regular season in team history. pic.twitter.com/hNqx7VUzFs
Buffalo’s defense, well recognized as one of the toughest in the league for a couple of years now, started slowly with some new pieces finding their most favorable roles. After some difficult weeks and a lot of work for DC Leslie Frazier, they finally figured it out and are back in form, playing at their best at the right time.
On the other side of the ball, OC Brian Daboll, now with a true number one WR in Stefon Diggs and few other productive weapons in RB Zack Moss and WR Gabriel Davis, continued to develop his unit into a juggernaut. With Josh Allen at the helm they’ve become one of the most feared offenses in the league.
Josh Allen is the first player in NFL history with at least 4,500 passing yards, 35 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns in a single season. pic.twitter.com/P6j03BSvw2— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) January 3, 2021
Last but not least, how about this special teams? A reason for concern before, it’s one of the team’s strengths right now. Returner Andre Roberts consistently gave the team great field position on his way to another Pro Bowl year. Kicker Tyler Bass and punter Corey Bojorquez slowly put aside their consistency issues and have been playing the best football of their young careers lately. Speaking of consistency, it doesn’t get better than what team captain Reid Ferguson has been doing since joining the team.
This team could’ve finished the year on a 10-win streak if not a “Hail-Murray”; that’s how good they are right now. They’re peaking at the right time, and hopefully the best is still to come.
Video Game Numbers for Bills’ Most Productive Players
Just like in a Madden franchise where a Bills fan takes over the team and does everything in his own power to maximize the team’s top players’ production, the 2020 season finished with several players writing their names in the team’s record books.
Josh Allen developed into an elite QB in the league and put up the best statistical season by any player at the position in the team’s history. He broke every possible franchise record and put his name in the NFL’s MVP conversation.
Diggs looks like solid bet to lead league in catches and yards after that half.— Howard WGR (@hsimon62) January 3, 2021
Diggs has 127 catches
Diggs has 1535 yds
Stefon Diggs, in his first season with the team, did the same at the WR position, breaking Eric Moulds’ longtime records and establishing himself as one of the top weapons in today’s game. By the time this article had been written, he finished the season leading the league in catching yards and total catches.
Tyler Bass establishes a new Bills single season record for points (141).— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) January 3, 2021
Even rookie kicker Tyler Bass, after a rough start, finished the season as the team leader in points scored in a year. We’ve seen impressive development by the young kicker and a great way to start what hopefully becomes a long and productive career in Buffalo.
How about the Backups?
After holding a 28-6 lead at the half, McDermott finally took off the majority of his starters and put the backups in. This move supposedly should allow the Dolphins to start a comeback with their season on the line. Well, simply put, it didn’t happen.
Buffalo’s backups outscored Miami 28-20 in the second half. They took advantage of the opportunity to show that the team really has some quality depth and maybe even carved up some playing time for the playoffs.
Let’s start with Isaiah McKenzie. Replacing Cole Beasley in the slot, he played all game long and nobody played better than him this afternoon. The diminutive speedster caught six passes for 65 yards and two TDs on offense. He also played the backup role to Andre Roberts and returned a punt for 84 yards and another score. McKenzie easily helped his case to more playing time in the playoffs.
The second-most impressive player in the afternoon was undrafted rookie RB Antonio Williams. The former North Carolina Tar Heel was just called up from the practice squad and made the most of his touches. With lightning quick feet and a tough-as-nails upper body, he consistently gained yards after contact and ran for 63 yards and two TDs on 13 carries (5.3 ypc). He really looked the part running against a stout Dolphins D and behind some Bills backup offensive linemen. He earned not just being kept on the 53-man roster, but maybe even sneaking into the Singletary/Moss rotation next week. After Joique Bell and Mike Gillislee, is he the next #35 to surprise?
Also deserving some props, safety Dean Marlowe (two INTs), CBs Josh Norman (one INT) and Dane Jackson, and DE Mike Love, who each made their presence felt. It’s good to see the depth guys playing well and being ready.