The career of 13-year NFL veteran Kyle Williams culminated with a bang on Sunday.
His Buffalo Bills team took care of business on both sides of the ball in a 42-17 shellacking of the Miami Dolphins. It included his rookie teammate Josh Allen turning in one of his best performances of the season.
Kyle Williams Gets Terrific Send-Off From Buffalo Bills
There were multiple feel-good moments involving Williams. Buffalo’s first score of the game saw him line up in the backfield on first and goal and he actually helped push Allen, who ran a quarterback keeper, into the end zone to make it 7-0.
Williams, who played his entire career in Western New York, also played his part in the Bills’ defensive heroics on the day. The 35-year-old, who ranks fifth in Bills franchise history with 48.5 sacks, made three tackles including one of the Bills six tackles for loss against the Fins.
It was part and parcel of a hugely impressive team effort on defense. They sacked Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill four times and picked him off twice. It resulted in the seven-year veteran finishing with a quarterback rating of 43.4.
With the win, Buffalo finishes the 2018 season with a 6-10 record which is the team’s worst mark since 2013. But in many respects, they exceeded expectations. Early in the season, there were concerns about this team’s ability to generate the offense necessary to win even a single game, let alone six.
Allen ostensibly played his part. Though there were bumps along the way, there are promising signs regarding his potential as a franchise signal caller. Sunday’s season finale was a prime example. From a negative standpoint, he threw a costly pick-six that enabled the Dolphins to tie the game before halftime. But there were plenty of positives as well. He accounted for 319 total yards and five touchdowns, two of which came on the ground.
In so doing, he made quite a bit of history. His 631 rushing yards on the season is a new Bills single-season franchise record for a quarterback. And he also found the end zone eight times in 2018. That ties Jack Kemp, who accomplished the feat during the Bills inaugural season of 1960, for the most ever among Bills quarterbacks.
But playing in his final game as a pro, the day ultimately belonged to Williams. Giving Allen a push into the end zone during the first quarter wasn’t the end of his contributions on offense. With the Bills sporting a comfortable lead in the final stanza, head coach Sean McDermott sent Williams out with the offense once more. This time, he ran out into the flats and caught a pass from Allen for a nine-yard game.
“I’ve been working on that every day for 13 years and my number was finally called,” Williams jokingly said in comments to the CBS broadcast crew post-game. “You know, we’ve actually had that play in for our goal line for a number of weeks now. But it just didn’t work out, the scenario didn’t work out. Then (offensive coordinator Brian) Daboll came to me and said ‘hey we’re going to run it on short yardage on first down, it doesn’t matter, we’re going to run it here.”
McDermott commended the New Era Field faithful for the atmosphere they created for Sunday’s send-off.
“I’ve never seen a fan outpouring like the one I just witnessed for Kyle Williams,” the Bills head coach stated in his post-game presser. “It’s been a great fit from the beginning and his family has truly embraced Buffalo since day one.”
It’s not just Williams that’s done the embracing. This hearty and incredibly loyal fanbase has returned the favor. And it’s that relationship between him and the fans over the course of his 13 years in Western New York that will impact him for the rest of his life.
“(I admire) the toughness and the passion of these people,” Williams emphasized. “And the way they exhibit it week in and week out, and I really identify with that. I hope that was the hallmark of my football career was toughness and effort and just being able to play for them. Rain, sleet, snow, shine, these people are here. These people inspired me to do what I did for as long as I did and as hard as I did it.”