The Buffalo Bills made history in the 2012 offseason when they signed defensive end Mario Williams to the largest contract ever given to an NFL defensive lineman. Williams went on to record an underwhelming 10.5 sacks in his first season as a Buffalo Bill, after sustaining a minor wrist injury in the preseason that reportedly hampered him throughout the year.
Double digit sacks are absolutely nothing to sneeze at, but for the man they call ‘Super Mario’, the stats didn’t tell the full story. He was rarely a difference-maker on defense, and most of his sacks came in bunches and in meaningless situations. The fact is that he made very little impact for his team and rarely contributed to wins.
That was not the case in the Bills 24-23 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Mario was an absolute force rushing the quarterback, and his 4.5 sacks on Cam Newton had as much to do with Buffalo’s victory as any other player’s contribution. They were also good for a Bills franchise record.
If Mario Williams can regularly contribute on defense like he did on Sunday, it will go a long way toward turning around the Bills’ long-suffering defense. For once, Williams looked every bit like the highest-paid defender in the NFL, and his consistent pressure on one of the most dynamic QBs in the game was absolutely a difference maker for Buffalo.
It took him a while, but Mario Williams appears to be returning to form. In turn, the Bills’ defense is starting to look as good on the field as it is on paper.