There’s a lot going on with the Buffalo Bills right now. The vast majority of it ranges somewhere between befuddling and maddening. I wrote a lot about those things after the Bills’ 33-30 overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings yesterday. All of them are critical for the team to fix if they’re going to get their season back on track and live up to their preseason hype. And all of them are decidedly more important than the thing I’m going to talk about starting now.
The Bills are wasting peak Von Miller, and maybe it’s just me (and recency bias hyperbole), but it’s the most annoying thing I’ve ever seen a Bills team do.
Is Von Miller the most clutch pass rusher of all time?— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) November 13, 2022
All of his sacks are when they HAVE to have it. ♂️
This is a Hall of Fame pass rusher that the Bills paid an exorbitant amount of money this offseason to come be the final piece on a Super Bowl-ready roster. It’s a big ask of any individual player, and yet Miller—one of the finest pass rushers that anyone reading this will ever see play football—has, to this point in the season, thoroughly delivered on that ask.
And the Bills are doing nothing with his incredible contributions.
Let’s run back the clock to two Miller gems, one from each of the past two games, that looked like they were going to be game-changing plays in Bills wins—only to be rendered completely and utterly moot within moments.
Bills at Jets, Week 9
Bills lead 14-10; Jets have 3rd & 6 at the BUF 18-yard line
Momentum is perhaps a tad overrated, but the Jets had it in bunches at this point in the game. Buffalo had led 14-3 in the first half, but the Jets cut that lead to 14-10 before halftime, then took the opening drive of the second half methodically down the field, taking more than eight minutes off the game clock and driving into Buffalo’s red zone.
Miller ended that drive with a strip-sack of Jets quarterback Zach Wilson; teammate A.J. Epenesa recovered, and the Bills were back in business.
Von Miller ended an 8:39 #Jets drive ended with a strip sack pic.twitter.com/UC7kGnjnmM— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 6, 2022
Two Bills scrimmage plays later, quarterback Josh Allen threw an interception deep in Buffalo territory to give the ball right back to New York. The Jets scored a touchdown on the ensuing 19-yard drive to take a 17-14 lead. Buffalo would tie that game back up, 17-17, but eventually lost, 20-17.
Vikings at Bills, Week 10
Bills lead 27-23; Vikings have 3rd & 13 at the MIN 32-yard line
At this point in the game, just over two minutes remained on the clock. The Vikings were facing a 3rd & 13 situation, and while they’d infuriatingly excelled at converting 3rd & Long situations the entire game, Miller made sure this one would go Buffalo’s way. He calmly weaved his way around Minnesota’s right tackle, Brian O’Neill, and sacked quarterback Kirk Cousins on a play that felt like it was going to end the game.
Von Miller coming through in the clutch as he sacks Kirk Cousins pic.twitter.com/yv3AZWXkN4— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) November 13, 2022
That sent the game to the two-minute warning. On the next play after the two-minute warning, Justin Jefferson made the greatest catch in the history of professional football, and the drive was extended on a 4th & 18 miracle.
JUSTIN JEFFERSON CATCH OF THE CENTURY. pic.twitter.com/Cos6v0yPIC— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 13, 2022
No, the Vikings did not ultimately score on this drive—the Bills stopped Cousins on a 4th & Goal quarterback sneak, only for Allen to fumble the ensuing center exchange and yield an awful touchdown and the lead, simultaneously—but it was another immediate waste of a vintage Miller moment.
Miller offered some great, thoughtful commentary after Buffalo’s second straight excruciating loss. His quote highlights include:
- “First off—we lost to a good team.”
- “I had fun today. Today was a crazy game.”
- “There’s definitely not any panic from me.”
- “One win can destroy a team, one loss can destroy a team. That’s not going to be us.”
- “Yeah, we lost, and it’s always tough handling the loss, but I’m not gonna let a team beat me twice. I’m not gonna let a team beat me in the game and then go into the week and I’m still letting the loss drag me down. So we lost. I’m a pro football player, and it happens.”
- “I pray and I hope that everyone counts us out. That the media counts us out... Brighter days are ahead.”
It was Miller’s fellow captain, wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who perhaps gave us better insight into how the rest of the locker room is feeling right now, watching Miller pick the team up only to flop back down again.
Bills WR Stefon Diggs: Von always says don’t blink. And I feel like we might be blinking a bit.— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) November 13, 2022