Bills see Von Miller as answer to getting past Chiefs in playoffs

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Could Von Miller be the answer to the Buffalo Bills’ playoff woes against the Kansas City Chiefs? A recent story suggests that the decision-makers in Buffalo believe that to be the case.

The Athletic’s Dan Pompei recently scribed a long-form story on Miller’s path in free agency. During a meeting with Bills GM Brandon Beane, HC Sean McDermott and DC Leslie Frazier, Beane made it clear that they envisioned Miller as an answer to a very big problem — changing their fortunes against the Chiefs.

Here is the part of Pompei’s story that caught our eye:

“Beane spoke of how the Bills fell short of their goal last season mainly because they couldn’t get to Patrick Mahomes in the divisional playoff loss to the Chiefs. Miller could change that. Beane also told Miller he would bring value to a young locker room because he knows how to win Super Bowls. McDermott stressed that he wanted Miller to be himself and nothing else. Frazier and Washington spoke of using him in matchups on both sides of the line.”

Kansas City has ended Buffalo’s season in each of the past two playoffs. In the 2020 playoffs, the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes dispatched the Josh Allen-led Bills in the AFC title game. Last year, they defeated Buffalo in the divisional round, in a game that is being recognized as one of the best in recent memory. Kansas City allowed 16 pressures and two sacks during that game according to Pro Football Focus, which was the most pressure they allowed in any game of the playoffs.

It’s a little surprising that the Bills put such stock in Miller’s ability to help against the Chiefs. In the four games that Miller played against the Patrick Mahomes-era Chiefs in 2018 and 2019, he recorded 21 total pressures including two sacks per PFF. It’s not terrible production, but those numbers didn’t translate to winning. His Broncos didn’t once defeat Kansas City in any of those four games. In fact, one of Mahomes’ most-famous instances of pass-rush avoidance came against Miller, when he threw the left-handed pass against the Broncos in 2018.

Miller put up 22 total pressures and four sacks in four postseason games with the Super Bowl LVI-winning Los Angeles Rams last season per PFF. That performance is likely why Buffalo is willing to shell out the big bucks for a 33-year-old pass-rusher. But how effective will he be in the twilight of his career? That remains to be seen.

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