The Bills’ indomitable forces - The Buffalo News

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The Bills’ indomitable forces

The big winners are Fred Jackson and Kyle Williams as The News’ football beat writers hand out decisions on honors (and dishonors) for the just completed Bills’ season.

Most Valuable Player

It looked like Marcell Dareus until the last two games. Now: the indomitable Fred Jackson.

– Mark Gaughan

Fred Jackson. The competitive conscience of the team, scored 10 TDs and led on and off the field.

— Jerry Sullivan

Kyle Williams. Ask any opposing player or coach about the Bills, and Williams’ name is the first to come up.

— Jay Skurski

Captain Kyle Williams was voted to his third Pro Bowl after a career-high 10.5 sacks.

— Tim Graham

Unsung hero

Leodis McKelvin. Credit Leodis for being mentally tough and Donnie Henderson for coaching him up. – Gaughan

Cordy Glenn. Quietly had a very good year. When your LT is unsung, it’s a very good thing. — Sullivan

Nickell Robey. Undersized gamer was “found money,” according to D-coordinator Mike Pettine, as undrafted free agent. — Skurski

Manny Lawson often was overlooked on an entertaining defense. Third in tackles, 10 for losses, four sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a recovery. — Graham

Most Pleasant Surprise

Kiko Alonso. Getting a potential rookie of the year in Round 2 was a coup. – Gaughan

Leodis McKelvin. His ball instincts finally caught up to his athletic ability. — Sullivan

Jerry Hughes. » It looked like a throwaway trade with Indianapolis, but Hughes, right, made it a steal with 10 sacks. — Skurski

For the fee of one Kelvin Sheppard (paid to the Colts), the Bills got a Jerry Hughes and 10 sacks. — Graham

Biggest Disappointment

Stevie Johnson’s season. Partly a victim of a rookie QB, but the Bills need more from 13. – Gaughan

« C.J. Spiller. Played hurt, but he’s a long way from proving he’s a featured back. — Sullivan

EJ Manuel. This season was about evaluating whether he could be the franchise guy. Injuries prevented that. — Skurski

Special teams were supposed to be gargantuan but proved mostly irrelevant. A once-dangerous return game vanished. — Graham

Most Pressing Offseason Need

An elite offensive player. Could be a big receiving weapon or a big O-lineman. Or both. – Gaughan

Another linebacker who can stop the run and give them more of a physical edge. — Sullivan

No. 1 WR. If they’re as committed to Manuel as they say, they need to give him the best possible weapons. — Skurski

Quarterback competition. Whether the Bills draft one early or sign a veteran to push EJ Manuel, the Bills can’t merely sit back and wait to see what happens. — Graham

Highlight of the Year

EJ Manuel » driving 80 yards to upset Carolina at the gun in Week Two. – Gaughan

EJ Manuel’s “Big Hands” performance in home blowout of the Jets in the wind. — Sullivan

Stevie Johnson’s 2-yard TD to beat Carolina. Manuel directed a nine-play, 80-yard drive in 1:36. — Skurski

Mario Williams’ strip-sack of Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill set up the winning field goal in Buffalo’s first road victory in nearly a calendar year. — Graham

Lowlight of the Year

Blowing a lead and losing to Atlanta before the worst, couldn’t-care-less-crowd yet in Toronto. – Gaughan

« The loss in Toronto, brought even lower when Stevie Johnson downplayed his fumble afterward. — Sullivan

Jeff Tuel’s 100-yard pick-six. Swung a game the Bills could’ve won against an undefeated Chiefs team. — Skurski

With playoff hopes still flickering, Buccaneers running back Bobby Rainey sprinted 80 yards for a TD – and all the points they would need – 18 seconds into the game. — Graham

Quotes of the Year

“Listen man, if I had a dollar for every tough one with those freaking guys ... you know it makes me vomit,” Kyle Williams after the first loss to New England. – Gaughan

“I am 110 percent confident that he will play against New England.” — coach Doug Marrone, on EJ Manuel, 10 days before the injured starting QB missed the season finale. — Sullivan

“It’s not really nothing important. It’s just a quarter,” — Marcell Dareus, after being benched for the first quarter in Week 16 against Miami. A week later, he was benched for the first half for the same reason. — Skurski

“That wouldn’t be the F-word adjective I would use,” defensive coordinator Mike Pettine when told Buffalo’s run defense was fantastic compared to previous seasons. — Graham

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