Monday Night Football’s season opener didn’t end the way the Buffalo Bills wanted, but one lingering question after last season’s disappointing end was answered: Stefon Diggs is all in.
The Bills’ number-one wide receiver was targeted 13 times and recorded 10 receptions for 102 yards and Buffalo’s lone touchdown of the night. More importantly, he was showing why he’s often touted as the league’s best route runner as he was turning the Jets’ defensive backs around and giving quarterback Josh Allen an open target at will.
Josh Allen escapes pressure and finds Stefon Diggs for the TOUCHDOWN pic.twitter.com/eFOOgUDtd9— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 12, 2023
At this rate, Diggs would end the season with over 1,700 receiving yards, but even more importantly was what Diggs did that won’t show up on any stat line. He showed why he’s a team captain. He rallied his quarterback, rallied his team. With the Bills trailing by three points and less than two minutes left on the clock in the fourth quarter and with Allen having a night reminiscent of the early days of his career (three interceptions and a lost fumble on the night), Diggs told them to forget all that and play ball. Essentially, he told Allen to get his head on straight and man-up and remember who he was.
Allen responded with what head coach Sean McDermott later called a “phenomenal drive” that resulted in a 50-yard field goal by kicker Tyler Bass to send the game into overtime. Sure, we all know how the game ended. But we also remember how last season ended: with Diggs yelling at Allen on the sideline and then storming out of the locker room before McDermott had even talked with his team.
During the offseason there was a lot of chatter — both on social media and by some of the sport’s leading analysts — as to whether Diggs was happy in Buffalo, whether he wanted a trade, whether he and Allen had lost their connection. When mini camp opened, Diggs wasn’t on the field. Yes, we later learned that he had been in meetings with the coaches and was told to take the day off — but still, it was all “very concerning” (to steal McDermott’s words).
But on Monday night, it was apparent that Diggs was back. Diggs was all in. Diggs is still Allen’s favorite target (everyone else was targeted four or fewer times). Diggs really did mean it when he said he wanted to retire as a Buffalo Bill. He isn’t going anywhere — except around opposing defenders and downfield and, hopefully, to a championship. And he’s going to do his best to drag the rest of the team along with him. Even if that means yelling at them, coaxing them, uplifting them, calling them out, or patting them on the back. Diggs is going to do whatever it takes.