We wrap up our three-part series on the Buffalo Bills’ 2020 takeaways in our quest to examine if these were mostly due to luck or skill. I know what you’re thinking—that this is all just an excuse to bask in the glory of these plays. Now that we’re finishing up I’ll admit it. Yeah, this is totally what this is. Doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing or two while we’re at it.
Remember from Volume One that defensive players are all eligible receivers. Tre’Davious White reads the receiver calling for the ball just as well as the quarterback does. The throw itself is a tiny bit behind, which allows White to gets his hands in first for the ball. Remember we’re examining repeatability and this small inaccuracy should be considered in the “luck” column. That said, this is likely to be a pass break up even if the ball is thrown perfectly.
Two trends we’ve seen already. Read the quarterback. Trust what you see. Taron Johnson breaks off his initial assignment during the wind up and is rewarded for his “freestyle” play.
Levi Wallace doubters are about to get a lesson in why I’ve always defended the man. This is a fantastic floor. Because Wallace is playing the ball, contact is a lot more forgivable. It’s subtle, but the nudges box out the receiver and Wallace comes away with the ball. If Levi Wallace is your weakest link, you have a strong chain.
Tre’Davious White has always brought the thunder with his punches and it’s no different here. Jerry Hughes gets to the ball first and the rout is on.
This might not be repeatable as Josh Norman can’t deliberately start shoving guys to the ground. He is, however, allowed to “chuck” within the five-yard zone. His chuck does lead to a stumble with the ball on the way. While the interception might not be repeatable, giving receivers a hard time is and should continue.
This is a luck one. The pass is a bit high and deflected. Credit to Dean Marlowe who adjusts to haul it in, but there’s no repeatability here. Tua Tagovailoa isn’t even being pressured. He has a clean pocket and just botches the throw. Lynn Bowden doesn’t help matters.
Dean Marlowe benefits again. The last pass was a bit high. This pass is way high.
In case you haven’t seen someone swat the ball yet, Andre Smith seems pretty deliberate in attacking the ball. The left hand seems to have a windup that’s obviously effective. Harrison Phillips does the rest.
We close with the Play That Defined the 2020 Season as voted on by you, the readers. This is another case of “trust what you see.” All the way into the record book.
Now that we’ve seen all 27 takeaways from the 2020 season, Bills fans should be excited. A lot of turnovers were created through either coachable skills (swatting, reading the quarterback) or through a player’s innate talent (reaction time, recognition). Further, the Bills’ coaching staff does not seem to discourage players from trusting their gut and making the play. While some falloff might be possible, based on what we’ve seen, Buffalo will continue to generate some turnovers in 2021 and beyond due coaching and personnel—and of course a bit of luck.