1 - Bills could ‘feel’ Lorenzo Alexander’s impact
The 2018 season almost acts as a microcosm of Lorenzo Alexander’s entire career.
Though Alexander entered the campaign with a starting job, he was more so viewed as a role player, a reliable plug-and-play defender that the Bills used in a variety of ways. A recent injury to weakside linebacker Matt Milano has caused Alexander’s snap count to increase drastically, and he’s answered the call, consistently providing stellar outings.
This narrative matches the one that has followed Alexander throughout his entire career. Up until the 2016 season, Alexander had been a career special-teamer, someone who only saw spot duty on defense. Once he finally received an opportunity to make an impact, he didn’t disappoint, as he’s still holding onto his first starting job.
Statistically, Alexander constructed the best outing of his career in Week 16. He totaled a career-high 14 tackles in the loss to the Patriots, also picking up an interception and pass deflection. He was sound in coverage and was also effective when asked to rush the passer, finishing the game with one quarterback hurry.
Alexander’s ability to excel at any position makes him an incredibly valuable asset, according to head coach Sean McDermott.
“He had to line up in different places for us and you saw the takeaway he had on the interception,” McDermott said. “I thought the impact he had on the game was significant. You could feel him out there. He does a really good job for us.”
2 - Why LeSean McCoy didn’t start in Week 16
LeSean McCoy did not get the start at running back in Buffalo’s Week 16 contest with the Patriots. Instead, the undrafted Keith Ford got the nod before being replaced by McCoy on the very next play.
Coach Sean McDermott’s decision to leave McCoy on the sideline for the opening play was a disciplinary one, according to the veteran running back.
“Coach [McDermott], we had a situation,” McCoy said. “He was totally right. Me and him, it was a private situation. I’m a captain and I have to be more accountable. He checked me and put me in my place and that was it.”
McCoy finished the game with nine yards on 10 carries. He also picked up another 10 yards on three receptions. McCoy’s lack of touches can be partly attributed to the team’s desire to see what they have in younger and more inexperienced players, a decision that the 30-year-old understands and is on board with.
“The game was what it was,” McCoy said. “We want the young guys to get some looks. A learning type of thing. I was cool with that.”
Though the 2018 season has admittedly been a frustrating one for McCoy, he’s confident in the front office’s vision, and he would love to stay in Buffalo for the foreseeable future.
“I remember [Brandon] Beane saying earlier in the year that they've got plans for me, so we'll see,” McCoy said. “I can’t worry about that. All I can worry about is who I am. I’m a good player. I love it here and we’ll see what happens, but I know who I am, so I’m not worried about that.”
3 - Bills defense makes team history at Gillette
Tom Brady’s success against the Bills has been well documented.
The New England quarterback has a 29-3 career record against Buffalo. Brady has found ways to beat the Bills for much of the past two decades, seemingly always having the upper hand on his division rival.
In Week 16, however, Buffalo made some plays on the veteran quarterback.
Though New England won the contest by a score of 24-12, Brady did not play up to the level of excellence that fans have come to expect. He finished the game 13 of 24 passing, throwing for just 126 yards and one touchdown. He also threw two interceptions, the first time he’s done so since Week 5.
Buffalo’s defense made a bit of team history on Sunday, tallying two interceptions on Brady in Gillette Stadium for the first time in franchise history. Lorenzo Alexander picked off a pass near the line of scrimmage late in the first half before Jordan Poyer snagged a tipped ball early in the third quarter.
The Bills’ defense relentlessly went into Brady’s house and consistently took the ball away from him. Buffalo finished the game with three total takeaways.
This is the fourth time that the Bills have recorded two or more interceptions on Brady. The last time they did so was in Week 3 of the 2011 season, a game in which the Buffalo defense totaled four interceptions en route to a 34-31 win.