♦ Forget Defensive Rookie of the Year, Kiko Alonso is fixing to throw his hat in for overall Defensive MVP of the league. Four games into his career Alonso has four interceptions, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and sack to go with 32 tackles. He’s on pace for 128 tackles this season. His second interception was spectacular and directly led to Buffalo’s win. Folks, this kid is very much for real.
♦ Marcell Dareus had in my opinion one of his best games as a pro. Dareus sacked Joe Flacco twice and was a force in Buffalo’s run defense. That’s what fans have been hoping for out of the third overall draft pick in 2011.
♦ I’ve been very hard on Aaron Williams throughout the early portion of his career. It’s only fair that I commend him for his play so far in 2013. With the secondary decimated by injuries, Williams has stepped up in incredible fashion through four games, and Buffalo doesn’t win without his pair of interceptions today. I’m wary of dishing out too much praise in fear he reverts to back the player I’ve seen his first two years in the league, but man, he’s been impressive so far this year.
♦ It won’t show up in the stat sheet, but defensive linemen Alan Branch had a very strong showing against Baltimore. I finally saw a guy the front office deemed as worth $3 million play like he was a bargain.
♦ What’s left to say about Justin Rogers—other than to wish a get well incredibly well to Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin. Rogers is doing his best, but he simply looks out of his league against receivers like Torrey Smith, and nearly everyone else in the NFL.
♦ Rogers will get at least one more shot. Gilmore won’t play Thursday, and I’ll be shocked if McKelvin does either.
♦ Kyle Williams didn’t get a sack, but I’ll bet Flacco doesn’t want to hear it. He felt the full brunt of Williams just as he released a handful of passes. In total Flacco was hit 12 times.
♦ Unsung Hero Alert— On two of Flacco’s interceptions, he was directly pressured by Jerry Hughes.
♦ Dear Cordy Glenn—-today wasn’t your best look. He took a bad penalty, caused a sack/fumble and the bumbled trying to fall on the loose ball, resulting in a turnover. He had good moments for sure, but he’s probably not going to enjoy watching the game tape tomorrow.
♦ Speaking of game tape, I’ll have to examine NFL Rewind over the next 24 hours, but I don’t recall yelling out Colin Brown’s name often. After his first three outings of 2013, that’s definitely a good thing. I got a feeling that upon further review this will easily be the best game of his career.
♦ The good E.J. Manuel crept out at times and it was beautiful to see. That touchdown strike to Robert Woods was a perfect read and throw, and he also connected on a nice touch pass to Scott Chandler. Manuel would’ve tossed a second touchdown had Lee Smith not tripped over the five-yard marker (I mean seriously, Lee?)
♦ The one gripe I have with Manuel at the infancy portion of his career is throwing the ball short…and often inaccurate of the needed yardage when it’s third down.
♦ I buried T.J Graham all week, calling for more playing time for Marcus Easley and Chris Hogan. To be fair, Graham had a pretty good game Sunday. He had two catches for 32 yards and rushed for 14 on an end around. That’s not terrible production for a third receiver.
♦ It’s certainly better than Stevie Johnson’s day. The Bills leading receiver had one catch for zero yards and committed a costly holding penalty that negated a C.J. Spiller run for a first down. Not worried about Stevie—I’m sure he’ll see better days.
♦ Alonso is getting all the glory for his game-saving interception, but make sure to give a nice golf clap to safety Da’Norris Searcy. His tip on a pass intended for Dallas Clark made Alonso’s heroics possible. It’s been a tough year in coverage so far for Searcy, but he made a nice play when it really mattered.
♦ For what it’s worth, I thought C.J. Spiller looked good running the ball in the first half before an ankle injury slowed him down. He rushed for 61 yards on 17 carries before halftime and looked far more decisive hitting holes than he did against the Jets last week. It looks like he’ll be out for Thursday’s game in Cleveland with his sprained ankle.
♦ I love Fred Jackson. There, I said it. To be a bit more specific, he’s clearly one of the best “backups” in the league. I’m quite confident there’s plenty of teams that wish Jackson was their No. 1 running back. Buffalo has it made to have that kind of talent often spending significant time on the sidelines. He’s invaluable to this offense. He also sprained his MCL Sunday, but assures he’ll be ready to play on Thursday. Of course he will, he’s Fred feegin’ Jackson.
♦ Take note, Jairus Byrd.
♦ If you’re not paying attention to ongoings around the league, the Ryan Fitzpatrick era is set to get underway in Tennessee, at least for a few weeks. Jake Locker will be out for a while with a hip injury, giving Fitzpatrick a chance to start.
♦ Last and not least, if you want a feel-good stat to start your workweek, here’s it is courtesy of the Bills media relations department. Manuel is the first rookie quarterback to ever start..and beat a defending Super Bowl championship team in September.