1. Peter King recognizes Taron Johnson and Leslie Frazier with weekly awards
The Buffalo Bills defense had a stellar performance against the Baltimore Ravens. They were able to get consistent pressure on Lamar Jackson and the offense, created multiple negative plays, held them to only three points and forced a crucial interception that was returned for a touchdown. In this week's Football Morning in America column, Peter King mentioned Taron Johnson and Leslie Frazier in his awards section for their playing and coaching performances in the Divisional Round.
Defensive Players of the Week
Taron Johnson, cornerback, Buffalo.
His 101-yard pick-six off Lamar Jackson, with the Ravens going in to tie in the last minute of the third quarter, changed the course of the game and sent Buffalo to its first AFC title game in 27 years. Biggest play of a three-year career for the former Weber State corner.
Coach of the Week
Leslie Frazier, defensive coordinator, Buffalo.
Holding the Ravens—holding any team—to three points in a divisional playoff game was a terrific accomplishment for the NFL lifer, and could propel Frazier into the head-coach conversation in Houston or Philadelphia. It was a smart game plan, designed to not let Lamar Jackson breathe, in or out of the pocket. Jackson managed only 34 rushing yards in nine sprints from a crowded pocket.
2. PFF named Stefon Diggs Offensive Player of the Week
Pro Football Focus named Stefon Diggs the Offensive Player of the Week for the Divisional Round. This comes after Diggs had eight receptions for 106 yards and one touchdown against the Ravens. The All-Pro receiver continues to dominate throughout the postseason and is the first player in NFL playoffs with consecutive 100-yard receiving games with a touchdown since Demaryius Thomas for Denver on Jan. 19, 2014 vs. N.E. and Feb. 2, 2014 vs. Sea. (in Super Bowl XLVIII). Diggs has been influential in helping the Bills offense move the chains in the playoffs as all 14 of his receptions in this postseason have resulted in a first down.
Brian Daboll commented on what Diggs means to this team and how he has grown as a true leader on this team throughout the season
"I could go on and on about him," Daboll said. "Really ever since he's gotten here, it's been the way he goes out and practices, his competitive nature, his desire to be great and his desire to want the ball. The way he communicates with his teammates, the support he shows, and he's just been an awesome addition for us. He's a very valuable piece for our offense. I'd say for our team he's just a great dude, he's all-day tough and all-day competitive. He wants to ball in crunch time and produces when his number is called."
3. Ed Oliver named a breakout candidate for 2021 season
Pro Football Focus lead NFL analyst Sam Monson came out with his list of one player from each team set to have a breakout season in 2021. For the Bills, Monson selected former first-round pick Ed Oliver who is a key piece to Buffalo's defensive line. In his first two seasons in the league, Oliver has had eight sacks, five passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and eleven tackles for loss. Even though Oliver's stats might not jump off the page for a former top ten pick, the coaching staff sees all the impact plays that he has made that don't always show up on the stat sheet. Here's why Monson thinks Oliver has a breakout season coming in 2021.
BUFFALO BILLS: DL ED OLIVER
There was a lot of hype surrounding Oliver as a draft prospect, but the former No. 9 overall pick has been something of a disappointment in the NFL thus far. A player whose pass-rush production never matches the absurd athleticism he showed in college, he has been slow to develop that part of his game while at the same time struggling far more against the run than he did before turning pro.
Oliver earned a PFF run-defense grade of just 30.1 this season, but his pass-rush grade jumped more than 10 grading points and he set a new high for total pressures (36). If Oliver continues to develop as a pass-rushing force, 2021 could be a big season for a player whose athleticism remains off the charts.