There’s little doubt that C.J.Spiller and Jairus Byrd deserve most the headlines this morning following Buffalo’s 19-14 victory over Miami last night. Spiller had 130 all purpose yards while Byrd had a key interception along with a fumble recovery.
But while their positive publicity is well deserved, there’s a number of other Bills responsible for the team still having playoff thoughts heading into their next game at Indianapolis.
Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams were dominant on the defensive line while Eric Wood continued his outstanding season anchoring the offensive line. Stevie Johnson also had a good game. Still, these are guys you often hear about.
Here’s five guys that won’t generate much discussion and aren’t named Spiller/Byrd that deserved game balls. All played a pivotal part in Buffalo’s fourth win last night.
Kyle Moore: Continues to be extremely productive with a limited amount of playing time. Against Miami the defensive end had five quarterback pressures against Ryan Tannehill and would’ve had a crucial sack had he not also committed a face mask penalty on the play. He also forced a sack that Shawne Merriman cleaned up and got credit for. At this point even when Chris Kelsay comes back it would be borderline criminal to have Moore go back behind him in the depth chart. It also makes you wonder had the staff known what they have in Moore if they would’ve spent all that money on Mark Anderson.
Shawne Merriman: Give the guy some credit as for the first time in his Bills career he completely earned his game paycheck. Merriman had not one but two brilliant run stuffs Thursday night along with the sack caused by Moore’s pressure. He had an encroachment penalty, but the Bills will easily live with that.
Andy Levitre: If this guy isn’t in league discussions for the Pro Bowl, he should be. The fact his name wasn’t called often Thursday is testament to how he played. I can’t give you specific stats but encourage you to watch your DVR. I promise you’ll come away impressed with his play.
Leodis McKelvin: Aside from Spiller this guy has become Buffalo’s biggest home run threat. His 79-yard punt return for a touchdown was the game’s first score, whipped the crowd into a frenzy and gave his team confidence the entire night. McKelvin is averaging a league-best 21.9 yards per punt return and now has two scores. Perhaps more importantly, he hasn’t been a disaster by any means in two starts at cornerback in place of Aaron Williams lately. A few months ago we wondered if McKelvin would even make the team and suddenly, he’s looking like a pretty attractive free agent in the offseason.
Kelvin Sheppard: I’ve been very hard on him this season and at least in my opinion, for good reason. I expected much more out of him in his first full year as a starter and he hasn’t delivered. He’s been a situational linebacker (not really his fault) that gets engulfed by blockers on seemingly every opponent big run (almost entirely his fault). But he looked like a man’s man against Miami—registering six tackles and consistently being involved near the line of scrimmage instead of six yards down the field. Hopefully he can build on this game as this porous linebacking unit desperately needs him to continue playing better.