After back to back wins against AFC East rivals, the Buffalo Bills hold the five seed in the NFL playoff picture. The 22-17 victory over the NY Jets won't earn the Bills any style points, but a win is a win. After the victory, which players deserve the most recognition? Here's a look at the top three.
Rambo drew first blood on Thursday Night Football. The safety made three huge plays for Buffalo and was undoubtedly the team's MVP. First, Rambo was responsible for the hit on Devin Smith's kickoff return. Rambo jarred the ball loose away from the Jets receiver and return man after the team tied the game at three. The ball landed in front of fellow safety Duke Williams who did the rest. All of a sudden, the Bills held a 9-3 lead and swung momentum in their favor.
Following a Karlos Williams touchdown, the Jets found themselves down 19-3. On their first play, the ball was given to Chris Ivory. Rambo not only hit Ivory, but he also stripped the ball from the back and landed on the ground with the ball. The offense couldn't punch it in but the Bills were able to add a field goal to their lead. Two great plays by Rambo led to nine points for the Bills.
It was only fitting that Rambo sealed the game with an interception. The safety had a huge night for the Bills and deserves the most recognition for the win.
2. LeSean McCoy
A healthy McCoy is a scary McCoy for opposing teams. The Bills running back gashed the top run defense in the NFL on Thursday night to the tune of 112 yards on 19 carries. There were quite a few plays where McCoy turned a play that looked like it could go for a loss into a decent gain and he had several big runs between the tackles. In addition to running the ball, McCoy is finally getting involved in the passing game as well. He finished as the team's second leading receiver on Thursday after catching five passes for 47 yards.
The combination of McCoy and Karlos Williams, a touchdown machine, can keep Buffalo in the playoff picture this season. On Thursday night, both backs made big plays and McCoy showed why the Bills were so excited about acquiring him in a trade. He is still among the most elusive backs in the NFL.
3. Ronald Darby
Darby hasn't received enough attention in regards to being defensive rookie of the year, but you'd be hard pressed to find a rookie who has stepped up more than him. The cornerback stays step for step with receivers, reads quarterbacks well and comes up with multiple passes defensed. On Thursday, Darby had a near interception and locked down every Jets receiver put in front of him. His biggest play of the game came on 4th and 2 from the Bills 20 yard line at the start of the fourth quarter. Buffalo brought plenty of players to the line and left Darby in coverage against Brandon Marshall. Darby gave Marshall space and Fitzpatrick probably thought the veteran receiver could pick up the first down against the rookie with ease. Instead, Darby showed tremendous closing speed and arrived as soon as Marshall caught the ball. The rookie cornerback wrapped up Marshall and brought him down for a loss of two yards. Quite a few plays from later in the game will be looked at as being bigger plays, but Darby's stop is one of the reasons that the Bills moved to 5-4 on the season.
On Thursday Night Football, a national audience was able to see the absolute gem that the Bills found in round two of the 2015 NFL draft. After 10 weeks, Darby should be seen as a frontrunner for defensive rookie of the year.