The Buffalo Bills and their fan base savored the sweet taste of a playoff berth on Sunday evening, but no one had a better end to 2017 than veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams. Not only did Williams clinch the first playoff appearance in his eleven year career with the Bills, but he scored the deciding touchdown in Buffalo’s win with a one-yard run on offense, the first carry of his career.
Two of Buffalo’s other veteran mainstays, Eric Wood and Richie Incognito, paved the way in front for Williams to run through. Vladimir Ducasse moved to the second level and blocked a linebacker. Williams avoided defensive tackle Gabe Wright in the backfield and dove into the end zone, celebrating with a callback to Any Given Sunday.
Football teams prepare specific plays each week for specific situations. They’ll have a call sheet of 3rd-and-short calls, 1st-and-10 calls, 2nd-and long-calls, et cetera. They build that list based on the advance scouts’ assessments of their own team and of the tendencies of the upcoming opponent, with the coaches working with their players to pick out what plays “feel right”. Those plays get run in practice, and if the situation is right, they’ll call them out on game day.
When Tyrod Taylor’s sideline throw to the endzone against a Cover-0 look from the Dolphins triggered a pass interference penalty, the ball was spotted at the Dolphins one-yard line at first and goal. That’s prime “ground and pound” territory. Get your big guys bunched together and smash through the opposing defense. It just so happened that the Bills had a specific plan for that situation on their play sheet this week - and it called Williams’s number. Speaking with Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, Williams detailed the process by which the Bills ran the play.
“We practiced the play during the week,” Williams said. “Ball at the one, I thought we might call it. So I go in. I’ve got a certain aiming point, and I’m focused on that. I can’t hear the snap count—there was too much noise. I have to go on movement of the ball. So I get the handoff and go from there.”
Williams gave one more epic quote to King, when the veteran reporter asked him what he was thinking when he got the hand off:
“I can tell you exactly: Don’t drop the ball,” said Williams.
This wasn’t the first time Williams played at fullback as a professional. He’s practiced there in brief appearances every couple of years at Buffalo Bills training camp, and he also took an offensive snap in 2012, when Chan Gailey was coaching the team. Williams delivered a block to seal the right side of the line as Fred Jackson dove ahead for a one-yard touchdown run: