1 - Poyer: We’ve come a long way
Never underestimate a football team with heart.
Expectations weren’t high for the Bills following a lackluster start to the 2018 campaign. Buffalo sat at 2-7 after the first nine weeks of the season. Its offense stuck near the bottom of the league in most measurable categories. Focus amongst the fanbase had largely turned to the offseason, as the forecast for the remainder of the 2018 campaign was not favorable.
Over the past two weeks, however, the Bills have shown signs of something that can’t be recorded on the stat sheet, that won’t show up in the box score - heart.
Despite a slow start, Buffalo’s roster did not give up on itself. Its players did not give up on each other. In the face of adversity, the Bills battled back, winning two consecutive games to put themselves back in postseason contention.
Safety Jordan Poyer feels as though the recent winning streak is a reflection of the team’s strong work ethic.
“We’ve come a long way this season,” Poyer said. “This season hasn’t gone the way we’ve wanted it to, but to come off back-to-back wins, especially after a bye week, it shows the type of team we are.”
Buffalo’s locker room leaders, the players who set the standard for how the team should perform on and off the field, have fueled the Bills’ resurgence.
“Guys [were] focused in [last] week, all week,” Poyer said. “You know, coming off a bye week, guys were really locked in. The leaders on this team really stepped up – Kyle [Williams], Lorenzo [Alexander], Micah [Hyde] – in just getting guys on the right page and able to play fast on Sunday.”
2 - Sabres star: Allen has brought a different vibe to Buffalo
Buffalo sports fans haven’t had much to be upset about in recent weeks.
The Bills have won two consecutive games, their first winning streak since the 2017 season. The Sabres have been on a tear in the month of November, going on a historic winning streak that allowed them to shoot up the standings. The blue and gold sat atop the NHL for a short time during their streak.
Combine this with the success of the University at Buffalo’s athletic department, and you have an ecstatic Western New York fanbase.
Even the players who make up Buffalo’s sports teams have noticed a change in the city’s atmosphere. It’s the all-embracing feeling of joy that winning has brought to the region. Sabres’ winger Kyle Okposo feels as though the Bills’ success has motivated he and his teammates to maintain their momentum.
Oh, and he thinks Josh Allen is really good, too.
“You’ve got more people kind of coming up to you and saying, ‘Keep it going, this is so fun to see you guys playing well.’ And with the Bills, great game by the Bills on Sunday,” Okposo said. “They showed a lot of emotion, I love that. Kind of embodying the city.
“I think that Josh Allen is going to do some really good things over there. He just seems to have the heart of the winner. Seems to be somebody that can lead their team in the future. It’s just been a different atmosphere, a different vibe around town.”
3 - Allen earns career-high PFF grade in Week 12 win
Josh Allen had plenty of doubters in the lead up to the 2018 draft.
While most critics were impressed by his physical gifts, the prospect’s 56.2 percent college completion percentage was a bit of a concern for some. Pro Football Focus wasn’t overly impressed by Allen, projecting him as a late first-round pick in the majority of their mock drafts.
While Allen’s college statistics weren’t jaw-dropping, it doesn’t always take an analytical deep dive to project a player’s potential. Sometimes, it just takes an eye test.
Allen, whom the Bills selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 draft, garnered praise throughout his college career thanks to his arm strength and athleticism. The 6-foot-5 passer has effectively translated his game to the professional level, as he’s made countless impact plays with both his arms and legs throughout his first six starts.
Allen is already starting to win some of his doubters over with his solid play. PFF is starting to come around on the passer, as they recently gave him the highest single-game grade of his career.
The outlet gave Allen an overall grade of 79.1 in Buffalo’s Week 12 win over the Jags. The rookie was impressive in the win, completing eight passes for 160 yards and one touchdown. He also picked up 99 yards on the ground.
The mark raised Allen’s season grade 57.4, tied for third amongst all rookie quarterbacks. His current PFF grade is stronger than that of Sam Darnold, who was selected four picks before Allen in the 2018 draft.