Is history in sight for any accolades on defense or special teams?
We took a look at some team records that could fall at the hands of the 2021 Buffalo Bills, but there’s a lot of history to be made outside the confines of the franchise. What league records might be in play for this year’s defense or special teams?
Note: Due to my opinion that defensive and special teams are less likely to fall, the two phases were combined.
This will be it for special teams records. While there are other records to look at, I need to leave something for all y’all to look up don’t I? So let’s focus on the sexy kicking stats that Tyler Bass could theoretically be gunning for.
- As noted in the team records list, Tyler Bass kicked a 58-yard field goal (vs. Arizona Cardinals). Since 1960, there have only been about 50 kicks that long. The record is 64 (Matt Prater in 2013), which I think Bass has the leg for. He just needs the opportunity…
- David Akers kicked 44 field goals in 2011, which is the current record. Bass could help his chances by increasing his accuracy, but he’ll need some help beyond a 17th game to hit this mark, attempting only 34 total in 2020. He’d likely need around 50 attempts to have a realistic shot.
- With eight field goals in a single game, Rob Bironas put his name in the history books in October of 2007. Bass attempted this many (sole place team record) but “only” made six against the New York Jets last season (tied team record).
- There’s no way to beat a single-season accuracy record as nine players are credited with perfect seasons. Mason Crosby was the most recent with 16 kicks made last season. Garrett Hartley did it twice (13 kicks in 2008 and three kicks in 2013). Gary Anderson did it with 35 kicks in 1998, including a 53 yarder. Mike Vanderjagt did 37 with a long of 50 yards.
- Matt Prater set another record in 2013 with 75 extra points made. That’s…a lot of touchdowns. Bass will need some help as he only attempted 59 last year.
- Charlie Gogolak has the record for extra points in a single game (all the way back in 1966). Tyler Bass is already tied for second with the eight he kicked when the Bills thrashed the Miami Dolphins in Week 17 last year. It’s more than a 30-way tie by the way.
For the most part I won’t name names here on who might be gunning for these records. That’s mostly because the Buffalo Bills’ defense relies a lot on team dynamics rather than lone-wolf playmakers. And also because there’s likely a snowball’s chance in hell of anyone on the current team breaking any of these.
- Ray Lewis set the bar for solo tackles in 1997 with 156. For comparison, Jordan Poyer topped the 2020 Bills with 91. The highest total for a Bills player is Chris Spielman, who had 111 in 1996.
- David Harris set the single-game record for solo tackles at 20 on 11/4/2007.
- Talking just tackles-for-loss, J.J. Watt comes in at number one (and two and three) with 39 of these. The Bills had 72 last season. Mario Addison led the team with…seven.
- Six players have had six tackles-for-loss in a single game. The most recent was last season by Joey Bosa. Against the Bills (D’oh!).
- Three players have forced ten fumbles in one season, with Robert Mathis doing so most recently in 2013. The Bills had 15 total last year. A.J. Klein, Jordan Poyer, and Jerry Hughes tied for the top with two each.
- Fumbles recovered is actually more of an offensive stat with QBs topping the charts. David Carr recovered 12 fumbles in 2002. Presumably mostly his own.
- The single-season record seems highly unlikely to be broken. Xavien Howard reached ten last year, which hadn’t been seen since 2007. No one has had a dozen or more since 1980. And the record goes to Dick “Night Train” Lane with a cool baker’s dozen of interceptions in 1952.
- For a single game, the record stands at four with 21 players tied. The most recent was DeAngleo Hall in 2010.
- For safeties, it’ll only need a fluke or two to break the record with 19 players tied for the record of two safeties. Two hundred safeties… Not two hundred. Just two. This happened most recently last season (Justin Houston).
- Interestingly, only one of those players tied the record with a single game. Fred Dryer stands alone with two safeties in a single game on 10/21/1973.
- Michael Strahan has the official single-season record with 22.5 sacks in 2001. Pro-football-reference.com worked their rear ends off to count sacks back to 1960 and they give the nod to Al Baker with 23 in 1978. Either way, no current Buffalo Bills player is in the same universe, with A.J. Klein and Mario Addison tying for five last year. The current team’s defense focuses on QB containment and shouldn’t ever be expected to rack up sacks. Al Baker is safe from the Buffalo Bills.
- For the single-game record, Derrick Thomas had seven on 11/11/1990 (the 18th annual elevensies day). As noted, that day will likely eclipse any current player’s season.
What say you Rumblers? Are any of these likely to be broken by a Buffalo Bill this year?