There’s a saying in football: defenses win championships. After two consecutive season-ending and heart-breaking losses to the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs, the Buffalo Bills have taken this to heart. With the AFC getting more competitive, Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott know their time to win a Super Bowl is now. Two veteran players signed on the defense this offseason, Von Miller and Tim Settle, show the Bills are all in for the 2022 NFL season. The goal: Super Bowl 57.
The Bills’ Desperate Need for Pass Rush
For Bills fans across the globe, the phrase “13 seconds” is one of heartbreak. Josh Allen had just thrown a touchdown pass to second-year receiver Gabe Davis, his fourth touchdown catch of the night. With 13 seconds left on the clock, all the Bills needed to secure a home AFC Championship Game was a stop. However, there was one problem: Patrick Mahomes and the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs were on the other sideline, and they were on the hunt for their fourth straight appearance in the Championship Game. Excitement turned to nerves when the Chiefs expertly moved the ball into field goal range, and nerves turned to disappointment when Chiefs’ kicker, Harrison Butker, nailed the game-tying 49-yard field goal.
One botched coin toss and defensive overtime possession later, the Bills were eliminated from the playoffs after an impressive comeback. While the Bills players were reluctant to point fingers during their somber postgame press conference, analysts and social media diehards were quick to blame. Unfortunately, the Bills’ lack of defensive production and pass rush bore the brunt of the criticism.
By signing Von Miller and Tim Settle during free agency, the Bills are looking to silence the critics.
The Impact of Veteran Players Von Miller and Tim Settle
When the Bills drafted Greg Rousseau and Boogie Basham during the 2021 NFL Draft, they knew the two rookie pass rushers would be works in progress. After the Bills’ defense collapsed at the end of the most important game of the season, the Bills’ brass knew the first priority: a defensive game-changer.
The Bills’ got that in 33-year-old veteran pass rusher Von Miller (formerly of the Broncos and Rams). With 115.5 career sacks, Von Miller is destructive when it counts and when the game is on the line. Even when he doesn’t get to the quarterback, Miller’s strength is evident, knocking down balls and causing chaos behind the line.
Overlooked in the frenzy of the Miller signing was the signing of four-year veteran Tim Settle from the Washington Redskins. While Settle’s role is likely to be as a rotational pass rusher, he brings much-needed experience and depth to the young d-line.
Will the leadership and experience of veteran players Von Miller and Tim Settle help the Bills achieve the sought-after Lombardi Trophy? Will long-suffering Bills fans finally be able to forget all the years of heartache, wide rights, and 13 seconds? Only time will tell. But for generations of Bills fans connected by disappointments, the Bills are all in. Super Bowl or Bust.
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