Ed Oliver loves him some Thanksgiving.
Oliver paced the Buffalo Bills’ pass rush on Thursday en route to his team’s 28-25 win against the Detroit Lions.
That’s not the first time we’ve seen Oliver play well on the holiday. Oliver has already featured three times on Thanksgiving.
In all of those, he’s recorded at least half a sack. In two of them, he’s taken over games.
Oliver had two sacks in 2019 on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys. This past week against the Lions (4-7), Oliver had a forced fumble that he recovered and later had a safety sack.
Not a bad day–and holiday–for Oliver. In fact, he joked with the Buffalo News that he wished it was Thanksgiving “every day,” let alone just playing on the holiday once a year.
Oliver went on to say the emphasis on the D-line comes from the top.
“Coach (Leslie) Frazier says it all the time, it starts up front,” Oliver said following the game. “We just take that to heart.”
Oliver’s two big moments for the Bills (8-3) against the Lions made an impact on the scoreboard. Oliver’s forced fumble came when the score was tied 7-7. Buffalo’s offense went down and scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive.
Then in the second half, the safety came on Detroit’s first possession out of the break.
On that play, Oliver said things were designed for him to make the difference. He did exactly that.
“Coach dialed up a play, to the T, just for me to go in and wreck shop,” he said. “That was a play designed for me to just manhandle that guard and get pressure and that’s what we done.”
Oliver’s emergence as a potential top-flight defensive tackle began last season. It’s even more encouraging to see him continuing to add to his resume early in his career.
Like Oliver and Frazier, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott expressed the importance of a strong defensive front after the win.
“They needed to [play well],” McDermott said via video conference. “It was good to see.”
Moving forward, Oliver’s presence essentially has to remain. The Bills are running out of options.
The win over the Lions came at a cost. Von Miller suffered a knee injury and the early expectation is for him to miss some time.
The Bills must be thanking the football Gods for Oliver at this point.