Coming into the Buffalo Bills’ Week 14 matchup against the 11-1 Pittsburgh Steelers on December 13, fourth-year edge rusher T.J. Watt was red hot. At that point, T.J. was one of the most crucial players on the Steelers’ dominant defense, and was looking to bulk up his resume for Defensive Player of the Year honors. After the game? Watt’s name barely appeared on the stat sheet, as he only managed two tackles and zero sacks in sixty minutes. Why? The answer is Daryl Williams.
That’s it. That’s the reason. And our own Z-Bot agrees.
“Daryl Williams shut down T.J. Watt who is the best young defensive player in the National Football League. [Watt] had one knockdown in the game early first half. I don’t think I heard his name the rest of the game. I’m sure not many people have Daryl Williams as a household name, but Bills fans, you should be raving about Daryl Williams. All. Week. Long”– Bott Talks Buffalo 12/16/2020
Daryl Williams has been the unsung hero of the offensive line, if not the entire Bills offense. Joining the Bills on a one-year prove-it deal this past spring, Williams is likely looking at a pay raise in the coming offseason. Will Brandon Beane & Co. be the ones delivering the paychecks? Hopefully, Because without Williams, the offense simply does not run the same.
Williams joins a long list of ex-Carolina Panthers Beane and head coach Sean McDermott, both former employees of the Panthers, brought to Buffalo as experimental pieces, and part of a shorter list of those having a significant impact on the Bills’ fortunes this year. In Carolina, Williams was a solid right tackle for a few years, even earning second-team All-Pro honors in 2017. After a move to right guard by coach Ron Rivera, however, he was unable to sustain that level of success.
Missing the 2018 season with a torn ACL and struggling in 2019, Williams signed a one-year deal with the Bills on April 1. Though considered a backup coming into camp, Williams managed to raise his performance level and secure the starting right tackle spot. Over the sixteen weeks since then, Williams has only allowed 3 sacks and was a PFF Midseason All-Pro.
Beyond Watt, Williams has faced some very tough competition this season. Joey Bosa, Jadeveon Clowney, Carlos Dunlap, Maxx Crosby, ex-Bill Shaq Lawson are only a few notable names against whom Williams has more than held his own. Indeed, other than Bosa, not one of these defenders put up a solid outing when matched up against No. 75.
As with the quarterback position for Buffalo, it’s been a long time since the Bills have had a franchise right tackle. Players such as Cody Ford (now a guard), Ty Nsehke, Jordan Mills, Cyrus Kouandjio, Chris Harriston, and Seantrel Henderson have come and gone in what has surely been a revolving door in the Queen City. And now that they’ve finally found their man, they need to lock him up long term. Only 28, Williams is expected to be a hot name on the free agency market, and it is imperative that the front office keeps him in Buffalo for the foreseeable future. Although cap space may be an issue next offseason, what with the Bills looking to resign linebacker Matt Milano and extend Josh Allen, Williams should also be high on the list of key signees.
But enough talk about the offseason. The Bills are on a roll this second half of the season and are showing no signs of slowing down. Daryl Williams is a key part of this high-powered offense, and his continued contributions are imperative for a long Bills playoff run.