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The Bills will tell you it’s not about individual awards… but where’s the offseason fun in that?
With the very successful 2020 season now in the history books for Buffalo, let’s take a look back and hand out some prestigious honors… of sorts.
Here are 14 Bills Wire awards and superlatives for the Bills from the season that was:
Offense MVP: QB Josh Allen
Bills quarterback Josh Allen. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Bills quarterback Josh Allen would have landed the "breakout player" honor, but he was simply too good to be given that one. He was the second-place finisher in MVP voting, a second-team All-Pro, and so much more to this team's successes in 2020. They don't nearly make the Super Bowl without him.
Defense MVP: CB Tre'Davious White
Bills' Tre'Davious White (Gannett photo)
The Bills defense was a mixed-bag in 2020. The start was bad and it got better, but the group never gave a sense of consistency or being the elite kind of unit it had been in the past. Still, throughout most of the season, cornerback Tre'Davious White kept on churning out good games. He finished with a team-high three interceptions and he forced a fumble. White was also named a second-team All-Pro.
Rookie of the Year: K Tyler Bass
Bills' Tyler Bass. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
After sticking with him through some early professional career struggles, kicker Tyler Bass showed he belongs in the NFL. This past year didn't feature much competition for him in regard to this award, but that's not to take anything away from him. In his first game he struggled to make chip shots and by the postseason, 51-yard boots in the AFC Championship looked easy.
Breakout player: WR Cole Beasley
Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley. Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Keeping with our second-team All-Pros for the Bills... we've got wide receiver Cole Beasley as our breakout player of 2020. Beasley has consistently produced in the NFL for most of his career, but this past campaign was just... a little bit extra. Had he played in the Bills' season finale, he would have had his first 1,000-yard season.
Unsung hero: WR Isaiah McKenzie
Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
The top of the Bills wide receiver room was littered with successes in 2020, but that had a trickle-down effect. As John Brown struggled with injuries, it was rookie Gabriel Davis and Isaiah McKenzie that stepped up. Davis got a bit more of the spotlight, but McKenzie deserves his praise as well. Not only did he career-highs in catches (30), reeving yards (282) and touchdowns (5)... he also added a score on a return and he threw a touchdown. A key gadget player.
Best play: CB Taron Johnson
Bills cornerback Taron Johnson. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Cornerback Taron Johnson jumped a pass by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in the red zone to send the Bills to the AFC Championship game. Easy choice for Play of the Year,
Most improved: DT Justin Zimmer
Bills defensive tackle Justin Zimmer. (AP Photo/Brett Carlsen)
After starting the season as a recycled player on the practice squad, Justin Zimmer solidified himself as a key piece of the Bills' defensive line rotation. He started his career in Buffalo in 2016 as an undrafted rookie. Zimmer then bounced around the league and CFL and eventually changed games for the Bills this year. His forced fumble helped Buffalo beat the Patriots and even in the AFC title game, Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill gave him a shoutout.
Room to Grow Award: OL Cody Ford
Bills offensive guard Cody Ford. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Injuries have played a part, sure, but Bills offensive lineman Cody Ford has not impressed much in his NFL career thus far. At his end of season press conference, Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane insisted Ford will start again in 2021. Let's hope for better results. In seven games played, Pro Football Focus graded Ford a 53.8 overall mark this year. That was good for their No. 64 guard out of 80 qualifying ones. Not good.
Biggest Disappoint: TE Dawson Knox
Bills tight end Dawson Knox. Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Remember that trickle-down to McKenzie? That was supposed to go to Dawson Knox at tight end. It did not. Knox only had 24 catches for 288 yards in 12 games. Not working in his favor is the Bills having played against a lot of elite tight ends such as the Chiefs' Travis Kelce and Raiders' Darren Waller.
Special Teamer of the Year: KR Andre Roberts
Bills wide receiver Andre Roberts. Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Like others listed here, Andre Roberts' season landed himself second-team All-Pro honors. While again never finding the end zone with one of his returns, Roberts remained consistent game after game. His 30 yards per kick return led the NFL.
Coach of the Year: OC Brian Daboll
Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. (James P. McCoy / Buffalo News) Pool Photographer
The Bills offense was amongst the best groups in the entire NFL, Allen had a massive breakout, and he was named the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year. ... and somehow, Brian Daboll will still be back in 2021. We'll take it, and it was an easy choice right here.
A Bit More Award: DT Ed Oliver
Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Ed Oliver wasn't bad, just wasn't great. As a former first-round pick, expectations are high and even higher in a league that features the likes of Aaron Donald who has a similar build to Oliver. In total, Oliver had three sacks, 33 tackles and six for loss. But there's reason to believe Oliver will be better next year: Star Lotulelei. Lotulelei is the Bills' run stuffer and block eater in the middle. That could allow Oliver to thrive when he returns... just look at Oliver's PFF grades for proof: A terrible 30.0 against the run and a pretty solid 72.3 vs. the pass.
Best position group: WR Room
Bills' Stefon Diggs. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Ignoring the tough outing Buffalo had against the Chiefs in the AFC title game, there was not a bad game to be found by the team's wide receivers this season. And let's be honest, this superlative was created so we could mention Stefon Diggs, the NFL's best wide receiver.
Signee of the Year: OL Daryl Williams
Bills offensive tackle Daryl Williams. Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Daryl Williams was PFF's 21st best tackle in the league this season. Previously with the Panthers, Carolina fans were cheering when he left last offseason for the Bills. Williams got the last laugh.