Yeah. You read that right. This Buffalo Bills team is off to not only one of the greatest starts in franchise history, but one of the best starts to a season the NFL has ever seen.
Sure, the doubters will remind us quickly that it’s only two games. Others may be hanging on their original bad take that Josh Allen wouldn’t make a great NFL quarterback. For some Buffalo natives, they would be quick to shoot down this form of optimism with reminders of “wide right” or “music city miracle”.
This year does feel like something extremely special is brewing. They opened up the season blowing out the Super Bowl champion Rams in their own barn, even after four sloppy turnovers. They followed that up by embarrassing last year’s number one seed in the AFC, the Tennessee Titans, in front of their home crowd on national TV. Small sample size not withstanding, there a plenty of reasons we may look back at this team as one of the best of all time.
Stefon Diggs and Josh Allen off to historic start for the Buffalo Bills
While the Bills lost Cole Beasley and Emannuel Sanders this offseason, the questions started about who would be the second most used target after Diggs in this offense. The short answer after two games is, who cares? Diggs is the first player since Steve Smith (2007) to have at least 250 yards receiving and four receiving touchdowns in his team’s first two games in a season.
- Stefon Diggs stats (2022): 20 receptions, 270 yards, 4 TD, 87% catch rate
His 71 fantasy points through two games is the most by a wide receiver since Rod Smith had 71.1 in 2001. Adding to the list of accolades, his 12 catches on Monday night, pushed him to 250 in his first 35 games as a Bill, an NFL record for any receiver in his first 35 games with a team (Wes Walker 249). Diggs and Allen have a rapport that seems unbreakable, both on and off the field and should continue to result in more record breaking scenarios.
Every great dynasty has come with it’s memorable connection between their quarterback and top wide receiver. Maybe it’s too early to say this is a hall of fame combo, but it sure seems like injury may be the only thing to derail that result.
Von Miller brings a different element to the Buffalo Bills defense
Under coach Sean McDermott, the Bills have consistently had great defenses. Even after key injuries or free agency departures, the team has not seemed to miss a beat with the replacement. One thing they have lacked in this system. though, is the ability to create pressure on the quarterback, seeing that they rarely blitz and rely on a four man rush most of the time. They have focused in free agency and the draft over the last couple years to provide depth at the position, if nothing else.
A defensive line that already had first-rounders Ed Oliver and Gregory Rousseau, added former Bills Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson in the off-season to cheap free agent contracts to return to the place both players had their best success. But none of these move had anywhere close to the impact that Von Miller signing with the Bills had.
- Von Miller stats (2022): 5 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 QB hits, 2 sacks
He immediately made his presence felt in the opener against his former team with two sacks, and has looked every bit of his old self through these first two games. Think that might wear down as the season goes on for the grizzled veteran? So do the Bills. Miller has only played in 53% and 55% snap counts, respectively, in the his first two weeks as a Bill. Those are close to career low numbers for Miller, who the Bills hope can stay healthy and fresh to duplicate his playoff dominance from last year with the Rams.
If Tre’Davious White doesn’t tear his ACL last year, the Bills are already Super Bowl Champs
Thirteen Seconds. We all know the story. Regardless of how the Bills let that game slip away or who you want to blame for it, the fact of the matter is they most likely win that game easily if they have their star cornerback in White available for that game. As mentioned before, the Bills do not end up losing a step when players go down with an injury. Losing a star like White, while lacking good depth at the position, proved to be more challenging.
It is important to remember they were 13 seconds away from a home game vs the Bengals in the AFC Championship Game without him. They have started off 2022 so hot that this article isn’t one you’d find on a satire site. The former LSU standout, should join the team for practices after coming off the PUP list in week 5. His presence is one that cuts the field essentially in half, as opposing quarterbacks only target him in coverage 17% of the time.
Sean McDermott’s transformation into an analytics guy
Bills fans were worried about McDermott’s background and how it would relate to his aggressiveness on the field. Defensive coach, spoke up culture way too much, and came from a team that ran the ball a bunch. His first two years showed that some of those assumptions would prove right. To his credit, McDermott learned from mistakes, and he and the organization made a concerted effort to adapt an analytics staff that would help guide in some game situations.
Now with quarterback Josh Allen turning in elite-like performances on a weekly basis, the Bills have all but abandoned the running game until somebody can prove they can stop Allen and this explosive offense. When it comes to the “math,” the Bills’ head coach always seems to know where his odds lie, and that cannot be said about most NFL coaches.
Payback for 50 years of bad Buffalo Bills karma
There is a weird feeling around Buffalo this year. Confidence. For the first time, the Buffalo Bills entered a season as the favorite to win the Super Bowl. Sure, in a league dominated by dynasties,there are a few teams that have never been in this situation. But not many with a more painful road than the Bills to finally get here. Even the most casual NFL fan knows the big heartbreaks.
Wide Right. Music City Miracle. Thirteen Seconds. Confidence is a weird emotion. A low-self esteemed person will sometimes fake confidence as a mask for their true feelings. When they find someone who loves them for who they are, they will get awkward and uncomfortable. That is the exact feeling this community is going through right now.
This is the town that threw a parade for an aging Drew Bledsoe, gave a key to the city to a 35-year-old Terrell Owens and were calling Trent Edwards an MVP candidate after starting 4-0 in his second season. Now with expectations of a Super Bowl or bust season, Bills fans are wondering what the next disaster ending will be named when they inevitably fail at their goal of a championship season.
But for the die-hard Buffalo Bills fan, there is a sense of anxiety that comes with this type of expectation. It’s a hard thing to explain to anyone outside of this community. Buffalo Bills fandom over the past 20 years has almost been a badge of honor.
Oh, I’m sorry, you think your fan base is the best in the NFL? Try spending a quarter century convincing yourself every December 1st that the 47 things that need to happen over the next 30 days for your team to make the playoffs just might happen. Most of the Buffalo population spends a lot of time explaining to people from out of town that they’re “good enough” or “not that bad.” We may be just a few short months away from them being able to shout “We are the greatest of all time.”