1 – Harrison Phillips: It’s time to step up
On a defensive line that features frequent rotation, Harrison Phillips has seen a fair bit of playing time through the first seven games of his NFL career.
According to Football Outsiders, the rookie has played on 40.1 percent of Buffalo’s defensive snaps. Phillips, who has totaled 13 tackles through seven weeks, has been a stout run defender on a Bills’ defensive line that has been solid against the run for the most part.
Phillips attributes his solid play to his strong preparation. Learning the ins and outs of the playbook has been his primary focus thus far.
“I’m a sponge,” Phillips said. “Just here to take in as much knowledge as I can . . . Eager to learn as [many] ways as I can. Although I’m not getting as many opportunities to rush the passer on our third down sub package, [I’m] understanding all of our packaging.”
Now entering the second half of his rookie season, Phillips is ready to turn his preparation into results.
“It’s Week 8, but game 12 considering those preseason games,” Phillips said. “To think that, my first college season is over at this point at 12 games. It’s kind of like it’s sophomore season. it’s time to step up. I know what I need to work on. I’ve seen my play in the NFL. Eager and excited to continue to get back to work and work on the things that we continue to see on film.”
2- Stevie Johnson ‘can’t get enough’ of Buffalo
The most beloved Bills players are often the ones who form special bonds with the Buffalo fan base.
To say that Stevie Johnson formed such a bond with the people of Western New York would be an understatement.
Selected by the Bills in the seventh round of the 2008 draft, Johnson started 58 games for the Bills from 2008-2013. The former Kentucky Wildcat showed his love for Buffalo fans off the field and played well for them on it, constructing three consecutive 1,000-receiving yard seasons from 2010-2012.
One of the most beloved Bills of the 21st century, Buffalo fans miss seeing Johnson each and every Sunday. The feeling is mutual.
“I can’t get enough of [Buffalo],” Johnson told One Bills Live. “I can’t get enough of it, honestly.
“My heart was here. I wanted to end here. That’s why coming back, second time in the month, it’s not bad. I love that vibe. I love the feeling of Buffalo. How cold it is right now, this is our life, this is our world. I miss the entire vibe of it.”
Johnson ‘led the charge’ for the Bills ahead their 2018 home opener against the Chargers. Though a special experience for him, he feels as though the event was incredibly meaningful to his family.
“It was amazing for me, but it was more so amazing for my youngest kids,” Johnson said. “They haven’t got to experience it like I’ve experienced it, how we’ve all experienced Buffalo. When they came here, they fell in love with it. My eldest daughter is always talking, she wants to come move here now.”
3 – Ivory, Benjamin earn positive Week 7 grades from PFF
Buffalo’s offense struggled as a whole in the team’s Week 7 matchup with the Colts, totaling only 303 net yards. According to Pro Football Focus, however, the team received promising outings from two of its offensive playmakers.
Both Chris Ivory and Kelvin Benjamin received positive Week 7 grades from the outlet. Ivory, who ran for 81 yards in the contest, was one of the five best running backs in the league last week, per PFF.
He finished the game with a rushing grade of 80.8, which ranked 5th for the week among HBs with a minimum of 5 carries. His 4.56 yards after contact per carry also ranked 5th for the week using the same snap threshold. On the season he’s earned an overall grade of 80.1, making him the 4th highest graded HB with a minimum of 95 snaps.
Benjamin, who turned in his best outing as a Bill last Sunday, earned an overall grade of 76.2. The wideout reeled in four passes for 71 yards.
PFF also had praise for CB Phillip Gaines and LB Tremaine Edmunds. According to the website, Gaines was in coverage for 21 snaps and was not targeted once. Edmunds received a team-high 83.8 coverage grade from the outlet.