Every week this season I’ve given a pre-game breakdown of the Buffalo Bills opponent and what it would take to beat them. I would then follow it up with a final score prediction. We’re switching things up this week as the story-line has shifted, just for this afternoon.
As most people are aware, the 2018 campaign was all about developing Josh Allen. It’s what we’ve talked about every single week (save for the games he missed due to injury). As the Bills get ready to square-off with the Miami Dolphins this afternoon, for the first time all year, Allen isn’t the center of attention.
This week, the news broke that Bills defensive tackle and 13-year NFL veteran, Kyle Williams would be hanging up his cleats at the end of the season. A fan-favorite who has captured the hearts of nearly every Bills fan in existence, there were very few dry eyes when he gave his farewell speech at the Bills’ practice field.
Williams is the human manifestation of what Buffalo football is all about. As a fifth-round pick out of LSU, he gave 100-percent right out of the gate. As a 23-year-old rookie in 2006, he appeared in all 16 games for the Bills, starting in 11. Not bad for an undersized DT that was the 134th player off the board that year.
There was no looking back from that point. In the years that followed, Williams started in every game he appeared in with the Bills. With 48.5 career sacks, he ranks fifth in franchise history behind legends Cornelius Bennett, Phil Hansen, Aaron Schobel and Bruce Smith (all of whom played defensive end or linebacker). As the most effective pass-rushing defensive tackle in team history, a strong argument can be made that he belongs on the Bills’ Wall-of-Fame.
The toughest part about watching him walk away (aside from the fact that the decision follows a season where the Bills won’t be participating in the playoffs), is the fact that he really hasn’t lost a step at 35 years of age. His total sacks, tackles for a loss, and QB hits this season are all higher than what he posted in those categories in 2017, despite missing a game due to injury.
In even the darkest of times, when the team was well out of the playoff race by the middle of the season, there was simply no quit in him. He never took a single play off in his entire career. That’s what separates a star player from a legend. No matter the odds, or how meaningless the games appeared in the standings, you could rest assured that a Bills victory still meant the world to him, and it showed, week-in and week-out.
While people will obviously still talk (and inevitably argue) about what Allen does today, this game is all about Williams. Draft position be damned. Any Bills fan who has watched this man leave his heart and soul on the field every week, will be rooting hard for Buffalo to send him off with one final victory (and maybe another goal line touchdown).
For consistency’s sake, I’ll give my final score prediction one last time. There’s simply no way the Bills lose this game. Williams will literally check himself in on offense and use every bit of energy left in his bones to get the team a first-down. Heck, I’m even predicting 4.5 sacks for him today so he moves up to fourth on the Bills all-time list.
On last hurrah for one of the most fiercely adored players who ever donned the blue-and-red.
Final Score: Bills 95, Dolphins 0
Editor’s babble: Tears on my keyboard as I read Anthony’s beautiful tribute to Kyle Williams. A load of gratitude to Anthony Sciandra for his terrific contributions to our blog over the course of the season. You can find Anthony on Twitter @SciandraSports. He’s also a contributing author for @diebytheblade.