1. These Bills have racked up weekly honors
A handful of Buffalo Bills earned some notoriety after holding the Denver offense to less than 150 total yards and only three points.
Leading the way is Shaq Lawson, earning Peter King’s defensive player of the week.
The Bills are such an excellent unit on defense that individually their guys don’t stand out every week. Everyone contributes. But when you hold an NFL team to 134 yards, without a 50-yard drive in the game, as Buffalo did in the 20-3 suffocation of Denver, I’m going to single out a guy. Lawson had two sacks and three more pressures, and the Broncos never seriously threatened.
John Brown and Tre’Davious White were each named to Bill Barnwell’s 2019 All-Underrated team.
John Brown:The field-stretching ability finally showed up on Sunday, and given Allen's arm and Brown's legs, I doubt it will be the last long touchdown for the Pittsburg State product. The Bills hoped Brown would become a No. 1. Their hopes were answered.
Tre’Davious White: The Bills have built their defense around encouraging opposing quarterbacks to challenge their best corner, with White the closest defender in coverage 65 times already this season. White has allowed a passer rating of just 43.1 on those throws, the fourth-best mark in football. He's a superstar.
Lastly, Taron Johnson earned a nod on Pro Football Focus’ team of the week with a 90.3 grade.
Johnson — Buffalo’s primary slot cornerback — allowed just one reception for zero yards from two targets against the Broncos on Sunday. He recorded a pass breakup and a 90.4 coverage grade in the process.
2. NFL recognizes Bruce Smith in numerous ways this week
The NFL announced on Monday the Bills and NFL legend Bruce Smith has been named a 2020 Pro Bowl Legend Captain alongside Terrell Davis, Darrell Green and Michael Vick.
Smith and Davis will lead the defensive and offensive sides of the AFC, respectively while Green and Vick will handle it for the NFC. The captains will serve as mentors for the Pro Bowl players and be present on the sidelines on gameday while attending various events throughout the week in Orlando.
Smith was also announced as one of 33 defensive linemen as finalists for the NFL 100 All-Time team. The NFL100 All-Time Team airs every Friday at 8:00 PM ET through Week 17 of the regular season. Rich Eisen, Cris Collinsworth and Bill Belichick will reveal selections by position each week, followed by a live reaction show hosted by Chris Rose immediately afterward, exclusively on NFL Network.
In deciding the total 14 defensive linemen and 12 linebackers to make the team, the 26-person blue-ribbon voting panel were charged with selecting seven individuals at both defensive end and defensive tackle, plus six middle and/or inside linebackers and an additional six at outside linebacker.
The NFL Network has also moved up the premiere date of “A Football Life: Bruce Smith.” To Friday at 10 pm. It was originally planned to be debuted on Dec. 13. The “A Football Life” documentary series has previously produced programs on former Bills Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas in recent years.
3. How Cole Beasley stepped up in Sunday’s win
The Denver Broncos put an emphasis on stopping Buffalo’s top receiver John Brown. Denver’s top cornerback Chris Harris Jr. shadowed Brown the entire game but it left room for other receivers like Cole Beasley to pick up the slack.
“When people do one thing, you have to do another thing. When people are strong in one area defensively, they’re weak in another area, and it’s our job to try to exploit that the best we can. If there’s roll coverage, then there are usually open areas in other spots. If there are eight or nine guys down in the box, then you throw it. If they’re back, you try to give yourself the best chance to move the ball, and we have confidence in all our guys,” offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said.
Beasley scored once and led the team in targets (8), receptions (6) and yards (76). It was the second highest receiving total he’s had this season. Meanwhile Brown was held to 39 yards. The first time he’s been under 50 yards this season.
“I’m glad Cole is here. I know a lot of guys are glad Cole’s here,” Daboll said. “He’s a smart player. He’s instinctive. He kind of sees the game through the quarterback’s eyes as a receiver, and that’s not an easy thing to teach. I think that’s God-given too. Again, Dawson [Knox] was ready to go. [Tyler] Kroft was ready to go. The running backs did a good job, offensive line did a good job. There are a lot of things we still need to iron out and keep getting better at, but the guys played hard.”