The 2019 campaign for the Bills was dubbed ‘The Climb’ by head coach Sean McDermott, and the team made a number of positive strides through the course of the season. While their top-five defense continued to excel, Buffalo’s offense blended together as the season wore on and special teams found its footing in the return and coverage games. The results were the team’s first 10-win season this century and an AFC Wild Card playoff berth.
We take a look now at some of the team’s standouts, who were instrumental in making the season as successful as it was.
Offensive MVP: John Brown
Buffalo’s offense was in need of a jumpstart for their passing game after the 2018 season. Not many saw John Brown as a viable number one target, but he proved to be in every way for the Bills. Brown put together the team’s first 1,000-yard receiving season since 2015 (Sammy Watkins) and was tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns. Four of those six scores came in the fourth quarter including his Week 1 game winner against the Jets. He even threw a TD pass in the win at Dallas.
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Defensive MVP: Tre’Davious White
Buffalo’s top cover man truly had a breakthrough season in 2019. Tied for the league lead in interceptions with six, White also had the league’s second-lowest passer rating allowed in coverage with a mark of 46.3. His 17 pass breakups on the season was almost twice that of the Bills next closest player in that category (9) and ranks fourth in the league.
Most Improved Player: Josh Allen
The Bills quarterback grew into his role in his second NFL season raising his completion percentage, his yards per attempt, his touchdown to interception ratio and his passer rating. He also reduced his average time to throw from a league high 3.22 seconds in 2018 to 2.86 seconds this season.
Allen also orchestrated four fourth-quarter comebacks in 2019 and led the league in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with nine.
Breakout Player: Jordan Phillips
Phillips play in 2019 was nothing short of dominant. The defensive tackle led the AFC in sacks by a defensive tackle with 9.5. He finished second in the league to L.A. Rams DT Aaron Donald (12.5). Phillips was also second on the team in QB hits with 16. Stout in the Bills run front, Phillips helped lead Buffalo to a top 10 ranking against the run.
Hon. Mention: Shaq Lawson
Most Promising Player: Tremaine Edmunds
One of Buffalo’s two every-down linebackers, Edmunds led the team with 115 tackles on the season. He also ranked second in tackles for loss (10), tied for second in pass breakups (9) and contributed four QB hits, 1.5 sacks and an interception.
Hon. Mention: Matt Milano
Top Rookie: Devin Singletary
The ‘Motor’ really didn’t get revved up until just after midseason when he began to handle the majority of the rushing load, but Devin Singletary was very productive in his rookie season. He finished first in the league in yards per carry average for running backs with at least 150 carries (5.13). Singletary also finished the season strong with 100 yards or more from scrimmage in four of his last eight games.
Unsung Hero: Jordan Poyer
The Bills safety was one of three players with over 100 tackles, and one of two players with production in every single defensive category. The team leader in both forced fumbles (3) and fumble recoveries (3), Poyer also contributed a pair of interceptions to finish second to White in total takeaways (5).
Hon. Mention: Trent Murphy
Biggest X-Factor: Andre Roberts
Though he did not take a return the distance, Roberts was very consistent in providing quality field position for Buffalo’s offense. He was the main reason the Bills ranked first in the league in average drive start (27.6) and fifth in the league in kick return average with a personal return average of 26.6.