1 - Takeaways have turned up in fourth quarter
In Buffalo's past two wins, they've sealed the game with a last-minute interception. Though, this shouldn't be a surprise coming from the Bills secondary.
"I don't know if it's a secret. It's something we emphasize, all the time," said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. "We go in at halftime and if we haven't got any, which we're even emphasizing if we have some, but there's been times when we made it a point going into the second half that we need a takeaway to help our team."!(https://goo.gl/qiMD1M)
This has been the theme all season for Buffalo's secondary. They've stepped in and stole the ball at the most critical of times. Rookie cornerback, Tre'Davious White, finished the regular season leading the NFL with five forced turnovers in the fourth quarter.
"Credit to our guys, it's something we emphasize, but as you guys know sometimes they come in bunches," said Frazier. "You may have a dry spot here or there, but you can't give up on punching the ball in practice, trying to strip the ball in practice, balls in the air, secure it, and tuck it away. You're always emphasizing those things."
The Bills won in Weeks 15 and 17 to clinch a spot in the playoffs. The ball-hawking skills of Buffalo's secondary were on display in those must-win games, especially in the final quarter.
In Week 15, White intercepted Miami's Jay Cutler with 37 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. One kneel down later and Buffalo walked away with a 24-16 victory.
In Week 17, Poyer picked off the Dolphins David Fales with 56 seconds left in the fourth quarter. After his INT, and two kneel downs by the Bills offense, the team prevailed by a score of 22-16.
"You hope when you get in a position like Jordan Poyer was in on Sunday, that he makes the play," said Frazier. "He did and that's why you emphasize it."
2 - Power Rankings round-up with playoffs approaching
After closing out the season 3-1, and clinching the team's first playoff berth since 1999, it's only fitting that the Buffalo Bills boosted in this week's Power Rankings. While their Wild Card opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, fell back in some rankings after finishing the season on a two-game skid.
NFL.com had the Jags at 10 and the Bills at 12 in this week's rankings. Though, Buffalo bumped up five spots from their previous ranking. While Jacksonville fell back two spots after their Week 17 loss. NFL analysis, Elliot Harrison, had some humorous insight on the Bills ending their playoff drought.
*Clutch win for the Bills -- and party your face off time for the Bills Mafia. Think about this: Some 23-year-old who waits tables at Duff's Famous Wings was a five-year-old who watched "Blue's Clues" when Buffalo last made the postseason, in 1999… Now the Bills take on the Jaguars, who ironically owned the best record in football in 1999. *
CBS Sports ranked Jacksonville eighth and Buffalo 11th in this week's rankings. The Jags didn't move from their ranking last week, and the Bills jumped up three spots. Pete Prisco, of CBS, had a harsh reality for Jacksonville after their loss to Tennessee. Meanwhile, he praised Buffalo and their first-year head coach.
*They looked bad the past two weeks, but they still got a home playoff game. If they play like they did at Tennessee, they could be a one-and-done team. *
*They are in the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Sean McDermott has done an amazing job this season. *
Buffalo may be the underdog on Sunday, but that hasn't mattered all season. They have one thing that Jacksonville doesn't, and that's momentum.
3 - League-wide respect for Kyle Williams
It was an awesome moment when Buffalo's longest tenured player, Kyle Williams, finally earned a playoff berth after 12 seasons. He's one of the most respected players in the game, so it was only fitting that the NFL community congratulated him for his long-awaited accomplishment.
He received recognition from former Bills teammates, former college teammates, and opposing players in the league. Williams gave a special shout out to his former teammates in Buffalo who played through the 17-year playoff drought.
"I've spoken to tons of guys. Fred Jackson, Brian Moorman, Chris Kelsay, Aaron Schobel, Corey Graham reached out. I could go on and on and I don't want to sit here and try to list everybody," said Williams on WGR 550. "A lot of my teammates from here have reached out to me. Guys felt like they're still connected and feel like they're a part of it. It was a fun time on Sunday night talking to those guys."
Another player who reached out was three-time Pro Bowler Andrew Whitworth. He took to Twitter to congratulate Williams. The two were college teammates at LSU.
Eagles defensive end, Chris Long, also showed his support via Twitter. Williams mentioned how he's aware of the outpouring support and love he's receiving on social media.
"I actually spoke with Chris [Long] on Monday. I've got a feel for it. I have some friends and family who've sent me some stuff here and there," he said. "But really, I'm going to be that guy, and go back to everything I've said leading up to it. It's not just about me. It's about our team, our organization, and especially our fan base."