well, bill mob, the regular season is over and the playoffs are on. countless records were broken and boxes were checked. tickets won 13 games this year (the most since 1991). They won a playoff game and the AFC East for the first time since 1995. Let’s take a few moments (minutes actually) to honor the players who made it to this point. Welcome to the 2020 End of Season Awards!
In this article, I will present my “Most Valuable Player”, “Rookie of the Year”, and “Most Improved Player” for the entire 2020 season. I will then present the “casual” end-of-season superlatives submitted by me and my wonderful twitter friends (@sportsroc2 and @lowbuffa). So listen to the music from the awards show and let’s get started.
note: these prizes were decided before the wild card game. there will be no discussion of postseason performance in this article.
most valuable player: josh allen
Was there ever any doubt here? Josh Allen is the “Most Valuable Player” on this year’s Buffalo Bills squad. (The fact he’s in the NFL MVP conversation is a testament to his success.) He had a historic 2020 season, breaking franchise records left and right. The offense literally ran through Allen, who accounted for 82.1% of Buffalo’s offensive touchdowns. Furthermore, Allen was named a second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press, which is significant (both as an honor and a snub). The Bills have been searching for a quarterback worthy of this award for 25 years and now they found him.
honorable mentions: stefon diggs, jordan poyer
rookie(s) of the year: gabriel davis & low tyler
This one was tough, as many members of the 2020 Bills draft class exceeded expectations in their rookie seasons. So I have decided to name Gabriel Davis and Tyler Bass “Co-Rookies of the Year”. (I know ties are a cop-out, but they both earned it.)
I’m pretty sure most ticket fans, myself included, didn’t expect Davis to be a major contributor to the receiving core this year, but he was. in fact, he finished first on the team in receiving yards (17.1), second in touchdowns (7), third in goals (62) and yards (599), and fourth in receptions (35) in 2020. (still can’t believe my season projection was that close!) isn’t bad at all for a fourth-round pick.
bass, on the other hand, entered his rookie year as a starter and still found a way to exceed expectations. (For a detailed breakdown of the bass rookie season, check out my latest “2020 vision” profile.)
honorable mention: zack moss
player who has improved the most
it would be too easy to name josh allen as the “most improved player” and move on. however, there are a couple of players who aren’t often talked about who deserve recognition for their efforts.
weeks 12-17: a.j. epenesa
Despite a lack of statistical production, A.J. Epenesa has improved drastically from the first half of the season to the second half. As BF Contributor Mitch Broder said in a recent article, Epenesa’s slow start was likely due to his drastic weight loss. That being said, he looked and moved better in the last six games, tallying eight tackles, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits, and one pass defensed.
full season: corey bojórquez
Corey Bojorquez has to be the first player to be named “Most Improved” by doing less work than the year before. In 2020, he averaged 50.8 punt yards (most in the NFL) on 41 attempts (second fewest in the NFL). His 41 punts are also the second fewest made by a full-time punt in Bills history: Greg Cater, 1982. He also posted the longest punts of the season (72 and 71 yards). In addition, he was consistent and effective changing field positions throughout the season, including that perfect punt from the coffin corner against Miami in Week 17 (he had a disappointing 12-yard punt against Arizona, but there have been worse in history). of the NFL). )
Honorable Mentions: Cole Beasley, Jerry Hughes
the “o captain, my captain” award: sean mcdermott
Named after one of the greatest scenes in movie history, this award is given to the best team leader. sean mcdermott is mr. development of the “process”. he can handle and motivate players and fans alike. he makes us want to run through walls and jump over tables in search of the ultimate prize. so let’s all stand up at our desks and shout those immortal words…
honorable mention: josh allen
the “pleasant surprise” award: a.j. klein (@lowbuffa)
in general, a.j. klein got it right instead of matt milano. he struggled early in the season, but finished with 75 tackles, five tackles for loss, five sacks, nine quarterback hits, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. him (he set or tied his career bests in most of those statistical categories). So it’s safe to say that Klein was, in fact, a pleasant surprise.
a hit wonder (weeks 12-17): jake kumerow
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve found another immaculate “one-hit wonder.” It was in Week 15. On their fourth offensive drive of the game, the Bills marched to the Denver five-yard line only to be backed 25 yards on penalties. Then the football gods intervened, allowing Josh Allen to complete the holiest of pennies. Jake Kumerow, “touchdown jesus,” blessed that drive with that 22-yard touchdown and then took off back to the skies (after four more offensive plays) as Buffalo won their first East League title. afc in 25 years.
Honorable Mentions: Antonio Williams, Taron Johnson, Josh Norman
the “great disappointment” award: dawson knox (@lowbuffa)
I completely understand this one. Most bill fans came into 2020 expecting dawson knox to break. it did not. in fact, he only had 24 receptions, 288 yards and three touchdowns this year. however, it wasn’t all disappointing as his drop rate drastically decreased from 20.0% (10 in 50 targets) in 2019 to 9.1% in 2020 (4 in 44 attempts). (He had two fumbles, but Andre Roberts had three and no one asks for his head on a nail). Furthermore, as I pointed out in a recent “Vision 2020” profile, Knox is having a career strikingly similar to that of banknote legend Pete Metzelaars. patience is a virtue. Let’s wait to pass judgment until the end of 2021.
the lorenzo alexander “process player” award (weeks 12-17): isaiah mckenzie
Named after Buffalo OG’s “Process Player,” this award is presented to the person who made the greatest contribution when asked to serve. isaiah mckenzie has been the “next man” at the receiving core for most of the season. (Gabriel Davis became a focal point as the season progressed.) this was best exemplified by his performance in Week 17 against the Dolphins. With Cole Beasley out and Andre Roberts resting, the Bills turned to McKenzie to fill the void at receiver and return specialist. he caught six of nine passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns plus an 84-yard punt return touchdown. Mckenzie went from sporadic player to legitimate offensive threat in 30 minutes. well done.
honorable mention: dean marlowe
the “unnecessary rudeness” award: levi wallace (@sportsroc2)
some players, like dawson knox and a.j. klein, were justifiably ridiculed for their lack of production during the season. however, there were some players who did not deserve such criticism. while levi wallace struggled at some points as cb2, he had a decent season overall. he was only marginally worse than tre’davious white. Wallace allowed just three more completions on five more targets, resulting in a 0.2% higher completion percentage against. (He also allowed one less score than White.) Additionally, Wallace had a better passer rating against (85.0) than Kyle Fuller (Chi), Marshon Lattimore (No), Patrick Peterson (Ari), Byron Jones (Mia), Darius Slay (Fi), and Jason McCourty (Ne).
best hair: cole beasley
I mean, have you seen his hair?
Honorable Mention: Dawson Knox
the “eternal wonder” award: jerry hughes (@sportsroc2)
jerry hughes had an interesting 2020. although it produced similar numbers to 2019, it seemed more effective this year. this is probably due to a marginal improvement in pin pressure. in 2019 he had four and a half sacks, 17 pressures, four falls and eight troubles. In 2020, Hughes had 4½ sacks, 22 quarterback pressures, five knockdowns and 12 rushes. he also tied t.j. Watt for the highest pass-rush win rate among forward running backs in 2020. (It was also nice to watch him catch a pass and return a fumble 21 yards for a touchdown.) not bad for a 32-year-old player.
class couple: josh allen & stefon’s diggs
Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs were the “Class Couple” of the 2020 season. They made a deep connection leading up to training camp, which made them better as teammates. Then, once they got on the field, they were unstoppable. (Like Sonny and Cher, Diggs was there when Allen needed him.) Diggs was targeted by Allen on 29.0% of passes and accounted for 32.1% of his completions, 33.7% of his passing yards, and 21.6% of his touchdowns.They go together like “rama lama lama” and “ka dinga da dinga dong”. (Hopefully next year they upgrade to “shoo-bop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom”!)
honorable mentions: micah hyde & Jordan Poyer, Sean McDermott & brandon beane
the “ninth lineman” award: lee smith (@lowbuffa)
whenever reads smith jumps onto the field, you can bet the accounts run the ball. (Joe Miller refers to this as “lee smith bingo.”) That’s because the 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end is a blocker through and through; a de facto ninth lineman. This made him even better. when smith interrupted a 27-yard reception against the patriots.
golden boot: tyler bass & corey bojorquez
This was a tough one to decide as both strong-legged players have done well this year. Fortunately, since footwear usually comes in pairs, I can give tyler bass and corey bojorquez “golden boots”; the right and the left respectively.
best free agent signing: daryl williams (@lowbuffa)
daryl williams gets this award for the same reason he got the bang for your buck midseason: availability and anonymity. he ended up playing 96% of the offensive snaps and avoided criticism from commentators. (The only comments I’ve heard about him were laudatory, like when he defended himself against T.J. Watt.) All of this for the measly sum of $2.25 million. money well spent.
best public service announcement: stefon diggs
To be honest, I’ve never been much of a flosser, but maybe that’s only because of the bland marketing. (I mean, who wants to hear their dental hygienist nag them about flossing while they stab your gums with sharp metal objects?) What the American Dental Association needs is an update. Stefon Diggs could be the new face for dental hygiene as he was spotted flossing his teeth during week 17. He didn’t say a word, but the message was clear: “If a star wide receiver can take the time to floss during a football game, then Joe Schmoe can make time for it too.”
* player stats provided by professional soccer reference.
what do you think? let me know in the comments or on twitter (@zvaughn2712).