It seems no matter what they do the Buffalo Bills just can’t win on or off the field.
Rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso was snubbed for the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year honors on Saturday, a day before Super Bowl XLVIII. That honor went to New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
While Richardson is certainly worthy of the award – he finished the season with 78 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 15 starts this season – it seemed as though Alonso was a shoe-in for the award. The first-year standout from Oregon tallied 159 total tackles (third-best in the NFL) and tied for the Bills’ team-lead with four interceptions.
Stats aside, both had a tremendous impact on their respective units. Richardson elevated a good Jets defensive line to a higher level, helping to make the team more competitive when many considered the Jets to be one of the worst in the AFC.
Alonso, meanwhile, provided a stabilizing force in the middle of a surprise defense. The Bills’ pass rush excelled and part of the reason surely can be attributed to Alonso’s play in the middle. He’s the first sideline-to-sideline force the Bills have had at middle linebacker since London Fletcher left.
For his impact alone, not to mention his very impressive stats, Alonso should’ve taken home the hardware on Super Bowl weekend instead of his division rival. Instead, Alonso will hopefully use the snub as fuel for an improved sophomore season and helping to elevate the Bills defense to a whole new level.
And maybe, just maybe, Alonso can take a run at a bigger award: NFL Defensive Player of the Year.