Buffalo Bills (13-3) Regular Season Review
The Buffalo Bills just finished with one of the most historic regular seasons in the franchise's history. Winning the AFC East for the first time since 1995 and with a final record of 13-3 this Buffalo Bills team has been consistently one of the best NFL teams all season. Led by an MVP caliber season by quarterback Josh Allen Buffalo has changed their identity from what it had been over the previous decade or so. Buffalo was known for defense and running the ball but lacked significant explosiveness on offense. Buffalo changed their identity to become one of the most explosive offenses ever in Buffalo history under the play calling of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and addition of Stefon Diggs. It certainly paid off with Sean McDermotts squad ranking second in the NFL in yards gained and points scored. This is a significant change from the past couple of decades for the Buffalo Bills. Since 2001, the Bills have ranked inside the top ten in scoring once (2004) and never in the top ten yards. While Head Coach Sean McDermott and General Manger Brandon Beane have had an impressive start to their tenure in Buffalo so far, a start worthy of the extensions they have both already received. The next step for this Bills team is not only winning their first playoff game since 1995 but to make a run in the playoffs and contend for a Super Bowl. While we leave the Playoff discussion for late this week I am going to give a review of this historic regular season from Buffalo and give out some awards to some of the most valuable players on this team.
Most Valuable Player/Offensive Player of the Year: Josh Allen
The man who most likely will finish second in the NFL MVP race certainly wins it for this Buffalo Bills team. Josh Allen has had an elite quarterback season because of his massive jump from year two to year three. While many NFL media members and fans expected progress, Allen turning into one of the most dangerous NFL quarterbacks was not what many had in mind. Here are the stat comparisons over the past two years to show the jump that Josh Allen made.
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Josh Allen stats in 2019: 3,089 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 58.8 completion %, QB rating 85.3, yards per attempt 6.7, 146 first downs passing, 510 yards rushing, 9 rushing touchdowns.
Josh Allen stats in 2020: 4544 passing yards, 37 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 69.2 completion %, QB rating 107.2, yards per attempt 7.9, 228 first downs passing, 421 yards rushing, 8 rushing touchdowns,
The difference in production is almost light and day. 1,500 more yards, 17 more touchdowns, up 11% in completion percentage. Josh Allen went from being what was going to be the make or break player for the Bills every week to becoming an unstoppable force that the rest of the NFL has yet to figure out how to stop. There are certainly arguments that can be made for Josh to get the NFL MVP over Aaron Rodgers. However, with Rodgers likely locking up the award in week 17 Allen is clearly the MVP for Buffalo as the clear leader for one of the top 2 teams in the AFC. Josh Allen broke the Buffalo franchise records for passing yards, passing touchdowns, total touchdowns, and completion percentage (over 250 pass attempts). What is even crazier than Allen's performance this year is that every Bills fan will tell you that he still can get better which is a scary sight for the NFL and future Buffalo opponents.
Honorable Mentions: Stefon Diggs(OPOTY/MVP), Jordan Poyer(MVP), Matt Milano(MVP)
Best Offseasons Addition: Stefon Diggs
This one is about as clear as the Josh Allen being Buffalo's MVP. This also is certainly the best offseason addition not only for the Buffalo Bills but probably in the entire NFL. Not many players are traded and go on to have a better impact than expected. In this case, Stefon Diggs did not only exceed expectations in the eyes of Buffalo fans but in the eyes of the NFL. Stefon Diggs went from a very good receiver in the NFL to a top 3 receiver that you could argue is the best in the NFL along with Davante Adams. Diggs led the NFL in all three categories with 166 targets, 127 catches, and 1,535 yards while leading the Bills in receiving touchdowns with 8. Diggs has become Allens best target and in what was a career year for Allen Stefon Diggs enjoyed similar success to the NFL MVP candidate. Stefon Diggs had so much success that you could easily make an argument that he himself deserves either the NFL MVP or OPOTY award if either were not historically quarterback based awards. Stefon Diggs has taken this offense to the next level and leads one of the deepest and most talented receiving corps in all of football.
Honorable Mentions: Daryl Williams, Mario Addison, A.J. Klein
Issac Brekken/AP Photo
Defensive Player of The Year: Jordan Poyer
Adrian Krause/AP Photo
Jordan Poyer is one of the most underrated players in the National Football League. His Pro Bowl snub was perhaps one of the worst snubs I have seen in a very long time. Poyer is one of the first signings by Brandon Beane and he has helped man a safety spot on one of the best defenses in the NFL during his time in Buffalo. Poyer is all over the field in every game for Buffalo and his durability is one of his best traits registering the highest percentage of defensive snaps on the Bills with 94%. Poyer has been one of the most underrated safeties in the league this season and his both statistical and non statistical impact are near the top of the NFL. 124 tackles, 2 INT, 2 Sacks, 4 TFL, 4 QB Hits, and 5 PD Jordan Poyer has played roles as both a downhill run stopper and an elite cover 2 safety. Usually Micah Hyde and Tre'Davious White are the clear and obvious stars on the defense however after a slow start for both, Poyer takes the award from the two. When all three are playing at their best the Buffalo secondary is very tough to get past and is a matchup problem for pass happy teams.
Honorable Mentions: Matt Milano, Tre'Davious White, Micah Hyde
Special Teams Player Of The Year: Andre Roberts
Andre Roberts seems to be the guy during training camp that every Bills fan wants to get rid of. However, as soon as he returns the first few kicks of the year fans seem to remember why the Buffalo coaching staff values Roberts so much. Andre Roberts led the NFL in yards per kick return with 30 and total return yards on punts and kicks with 1,247. Andre Roberts contributed an additional 1,247 yards to an already elite Bills offense which is why he warrants receiving this award. Roberts did not bring a kick back for a touchdown this season making his numbers even more impressive because of his consistency of returning kicks that go for 25+ yards and not having and outlier return like a touchdown inflate his stats. Roberts contribution to the Bills should not go unnoticed and for that reason he is the Bills Special Teams player of the year.
Honorable Mentions: Corey Bojorquez, Darryl Johnson, Tyler Matakevich
Rookie Of The Year: Tyler Bass
You could certainly make arguments here for Gabriel Davis and Zack Moss. To that I would argue that both of those are easier to replace to than Tyler Bass. Bass has gone from a shaky start to one of the most confident kickers in the NFL who can make any kick inside 60 yards it seems. Bass has made 19 Extra points in the past 3 games and has yet to miss a field goal since Buffalo's week 12 bye. Tyler bass is kicking with great confidence and looks to be the part after Buffalo spent a 6th round draft pick on him the past draft. Bass has also been one of the best kickoff kickers in the NFL. His ability to kick the ball out of the endzone on command helps eliminate good returners and his ability to kick the ball high and short to expose bad ones has often giving other teams rough field position. As a rookie he broke the the record for most points in a season passing Steve Christie with 141. Tyler Bass has been impressive and with it being his first year his future in Buffalo is bright.
Honorable Mention: Zack Moss, Gabriel Davis
Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News
Most Improved Player: Corey Bojorquez
The obvious pick here is Josh Allen for the reasons that are mentioned in his MVP section. Because that pick is so obvious I am going to take an alternate route and select punter Corey Bojorquez as most improved. Bojorquez only had to punt 41 times this season which is a low number for a usual Bills punter. However, Bojorquez made the most of his 41 punts leading the NFL in yards per punt with 50.8. He also had the NFL's longest punt of the season which went for 72 yards. Last year Bojorquez average only 41.9 yards per punt and his improvement this season marks the largest improvement in yards per punt in the NFL. In addition to that, Bojorquez also made an improvement in his ability to hold which had been shaky from time to time in his first couple years. The Bills having a good punter has certainly helped the team and Bojorquez has made so much improvement that he went from possibly being replaced this offseason/season to potentially getting a contract extension soon.
Honorable Mention: Daryl Williams, AJ Epenesa, Ike Boettger
Biggest Disappointment: Tremaine Edmunds/Buffalo Run Defense
There is finally a season where Buffalo ends up with significantly more positives than negatives after the regular season. This disappointment is very nit picky however it certainly is Buffalo's biggest weakness at the moment. Tremaine Edmunds had a very difficult start to the season. In the first 6 weeks it looked like he had taken a step back and with Matt Milano missing several games due to injury Edmunds often looked lost as he severely missed his linebaking partner. Edmunds still is an elite coverage linebacker and part of the reason that Buffalo has been able to shut down passing offenses late in the season. However, Edmunds and the whole front 7 he works with have been very poor defending the run this season. Due to the fact the Star Lotulelei opted out the Bills lost their best 1 tech defensive lineman. His ability to eat up double teams has been missed in Orchard Park. Besides Ed Oliver and surprise contributer Justin Zimmer the Bills defensive line has the tendency to get pushed around quite easy. Tremaine Edmunds is included in that. Throughout this season Edmunds has been slow to reaching the hole and has been easily pushed downfield by offensive lineman reaching the second level. In addition to that, when Edmunds has made it to the hole to meet the running back you would expect that he uses his 6-5 250 lbs frame to hit running backs with power. Instead, Edmunds often goes for the feet and has missed tackles on stronger backs whose legs are able to chop through his arms. Edmunds has not made the jump from year 2 to year 3 that many people expected and the Defense as a whole took a minor step back. Luckily their are still many positives to Edmunds games and he still has a positive impact in every game. Edmunds has significant room to improve but also shows enough positive play to be a very important piece for the Bills going forward.
Honorable Mentions: Brian Winters, Dawson Knox