We’re gonna party like it’s 1999!
For the first time since the end of the 20th century, the Buffalo Bills have won ten games and, more importantly, they locked up at least the fifth seed in the playoffs thanks to a 17-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football.
With the win, Buffalo showed the nation that they have the resiliency and resourcefulness needed to not just make the playoffs, but make some noise once there.
There were some clear standouts against the Steelers and a surprise in the Stock Down category.
Stock Up: Tre’Davious White
Tre’Davious White finally had a chance to show the nation what Bills fans have known for quite some time: He’s one of the top corners in the NFL. White had a first-quarter interception, but it was his second one that turned the tide of the game. With the Bills down 10-7 and the Steelers mounting a drive, the third-year corner jumped in front of a Duck Hodges pass and raced down the sideline before being forced out at the Pittsburgh 18. Although Buffalo couldn’t punch it in the end zone, they did tie the game and set the stage for a dramatic Bills win. If NFL fans didn’t know White before the game, they sure did by the end.
Stock Up: John Brown
After a few weeks of Cole Beasley leading the charge in the passing game, Brown came up large when the Bills needed him the most. On the go-ahead touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, Smoke had two plays that allowed the score to even happen.
The first play was a 40-yard completion where Brown fought through pass interference to make the catch. That wasn’t the biggest play he made on that drive, however.
Later, with the Bills in the red zone, Devin Singletary fumbled for the second time. What could have been a back-breaking turnover, simply turned into a second down thanks to Brown’s clutch recovery. Two plays later, Josh Allen found Tyler Kroft for what proved to be the game-winning score.
Stock Up: Tyler Kroft
Remember him? Kroft, who has had a disappointing season to this point, easily had his biggest play as a Buffalo Bill. Facing a 3rd-and-9 from the Pittsburgh 14, Kroft ran a beautiful route to the pylon and came down with the catch, giving Buffalo a lead it would not relinquish. For all of the talk of him being a bust as a free-agent signing, for one night at least, he was worth the investment.
Stock Up: Offensive line
Considering the opponent and the situation, the Bills’ offensive line held its ground. The Steelers entered the game No. 1 in the NFL in sacks, but Dion Dawkins, Spencer Long, John Feliciano, Mitch Morse, Cody Ford and Quinton Spain allowed T.J. Watt and company only one sack and five quarterback hits.
In addition to the protection provided to Allen and the passing game, they paved the way for 130 rush yards. Aside from Gore, who at this point isn’t the least bit explosive, Singletary and Allen each averaged more than four yards a carry. Again, considering the opponent, this was a statement by the unit as a whole.
After arguably their worst performance of the year against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14, they rebounded in a big way on a national stage in both pass and run blocking.
Stock Down: No one
That’s right, no one is going in this spot this week. For a franchise that hasn’t been in this spot this century, there is no way I am going to nitpick a win against a top-flight defense on the road. Enjoy the win and the moment. As we all know, they don’t come around that often.
Did I miss anyone? Do you think anyone deserved to be mentioned in Stock Down? Let us know in the comments.