Thank you, Kyle!

What a way to send off the beloved Buffalo Bills defensive tackle

Howard Simon
December 30, 2018 - 5:55 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports


The day went exactly as I had wished. A day where Bills fans could honor and thank Kyle Williams. A win, so Williams can go into his retirement off a victory, and a big day for Josh Allen so he can go into the off season on a high note. Considering this was a meaningless regular season finale, it was a very memorable day at New Era Field.

I give full marks to head coach Sean McDermott and the organization for sending out one of the most beloved players in the history of the franchise the proper way. It all started with the pre-game introductions. The Bills' entire team came out on the field, but Williams stayed back so he could be introduced to his adoring fans. Unbeknownst to Williams, McDermott had arranged for Kyle’s wife and kids to be waiting with his teammates around midfield. After the game, Williams admitted he began to cry once he noticed his family was on the field.

The tributes didn’t end there. In the first quarter, on a 1st-and-goal at the Miami one-yard line, Williams was sent out on to the field, amidst loud cheers, as part of the powerhouse three-man backfield. Everyone was probably expecting Williams to record his second career touchdown run against the Dolphins, but Josh Allen ran a keeper for the score. Williams' day on offense was not done though.

With the game no longer in doubt, the Bills were up 42-17 in the fourth quarter and it was time for Williams to join the offense again. Williams lined up in the backfield, but this time he went out in a pass pattern. Allen threw to him in the right flat, and Williams not only made the catch but he turned and added some yards after the catch for a nine-yard gain. The 13-year Bills veteran received a standing ovation as he went back to the sideline and was absolutely mobbed by his defensive teammates once he got there.  

The Bills were also playing videotaped messages from a number of Williams' former teammates on the jumbotron during breaks in the game.

McDermott surprised the future Wall of Famer one more time before the game ended. Coming out of the two-minute warning, the Bills had a 3rd-and-3 at the Dolphins' 23-yard line. McDermott called for back-to-back kneel downs by Allen so Williams and the defense could come back on the field. Before Miami ran their first play, McDermott called a timeout and sent in a substitution so Williams could come off to another standing ovation.  

After the game, Williams did his version of Cal Ripken Jr. as he went all the way around the stadium, exchanging greetings with Bills fans who had formed a ring around the first row of the lower bowl. What a wonderful moment and a fitting way for as classy a player as you will find to go out.

When the news of Williams’ retirement broke on Friday morning, it left me feeling sad. When you get a player like that who is great both on and off the field, you wish they could play forever. However, this was a fantastic way for Williams to go out. He leaves on his own terms and he departs knowing he was still playing at a high level.

Williams gets the headline for the day, but Allen’s performance was just what he needed after a rough game the previous week in New England. The rookie quarterback had his first ever three-touchdown pass game. He completed 65-percent of his passes (second best of the season behind 68-percent at Minnesota) and tacked on another 95 yards rushing. All in all, Allen accounted for 319 yards of offense and five touchdowns. The 42 points put up by the offense was a season high. Allen closes his first season trending up with mostly positive showings since he returned from his elbow injury.

Allen has plenty to work on, including his accuracy, but the fact that he ended up with 2,705 yards of total offense and 18 touchdowns playing on the second-worst offense in the league is commendable. The Bills' No. 1 task this off season will be to find some talent they can put around Allen so we can see if he actually is their long sought answer at quarterback.

I would expect we will see a very different looking offense when the 2019 season begins next September.

Enjoy the offseason, everyone.

Comments ()