Buffalo Bills: 2 Headed to Pro Bowl; 7 Named Alternates

Aug 20, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) celebrates a touchdown during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 20, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) celebrates a touchdown during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 11, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (57) runs after making an interception from Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) during the first quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports /

Only two Buffalo Bills’ players were selected to this season’s Pro Bowl, but seven others were named alternates.

It’s that time of year again when fans, coaches and players around the league find out which of their favorite players will represent the AFC and NFC in this year’s Pro Bowl. Last year, the Buffalo Bills saw one player named to the team, with four others as alternates.

How does that number look this year?

For starters, the Buffalo Bills had two players selected to the Pro Bowl team — LeSean McCoy and Lorenzo Alexander.

McCoy has had one of his best seasons of his career in his second year with the Buffalo Bills. It comes as a surprise after many people doubted he would be effective, especially noting that his season was hampered by a hamstring injury last year.

With two games remaining in the season — vs. the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets — McCoy has already reached the 1,000-yard mark, which is something he failed to do last year. He’s currently sitting at 1,129 yards (5th in the league). He’s also more effective than he has ever been, posting a 5.5 yards per carry average — which is only second to Bilal Powell, who only has 94 attempts this season.

Even more impressive is his touchdown total, which is tied for fourth in the league with 12 touchdowns. He helped lead the Buffalo Bills to their best rushing TD total in franchise history — with two games remaining.

Ryan Groy, who has filled in at center for the injured Eric Wood, reflected on exactly what LeSean McCoy means to this team:

"“He is awesome,” center Ryan Groy said. “I mean he is the kind of guy that is working out all of the time, and he gets you going. He gets so excited on the sidelines and on the field. We feed off that. When he gets going busting off nine, 10-yard runs, it gets you excited, and gets you wanting to keep grinding guys down.”"

On the other hand, Lorenzo Alexander has also had his best season of his career and it came in his first year with the team. Coming into this season, the 10-year veteran had only posted more than 40 tackles in two seasons and his highest sack total in one season was 2.5. He also only had 4 forced fumbles in his career, no interceptions and just 6 stuffs in his 10 years.

This season, he has blown those numbers out of proportion. With two games left, he has tallied a total of 67 tackles, a whopping 11.5 sacks (3rd in the league), 3 forced fumbles, one interception and 4 stuffs. He has posted more sacks this season than in his other 9 seasons.

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Truly a remarkable year he has had for this defense and very deserving a Pro Bowl selection.

Alexander is also a big part of the team’s special teams unit — adding to his importance to this team. Even Bill Belichick had nice things to say about the linebacker:

"“He has it every game,” Bill Belichick said of Alexander. “He has it every quarter. There’s no lulls. He makes plays on the punt team. He makes plays on the kickoff team. I’m talking impact plays, not just taking up space. He’s having a great year. He’s one of the best players we’ve seen all year. I’d put him up against anybody in terms of what he’s done this year. His production has been consistent and at a very high level.”"

The Buffalo Bills also had seven other players that were selected to the Pro Bowl as alternates: Richie Incognito, Kyle Williams, Stephon Gilmore, Tyrod Taylor, Brandon Tate, Zach Brown and Jerome Felton.

Incognito and Williams are both first alternates, Gilmore, Tate and Felton are second alternates, while Brown and Taylor are third alternates.

Richie Incognito is a beast on the offensive line and has been the most reliable and consistent on that line. His run blocking is on another level and one of the best in the league. Kyle Williams has been a huge part of the Bills’ defense ever since he was drafted by the team in 2006. He seems to get better the more he ages.

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Stephon Gilmore had a rough first half of the season, but part of that was due to shaky safety play. He has had two games this season where he caught two interceptions and has five total on the season.

Zach Brown was a surprise to me because he definitely should’ve been named a Pro Bowler, not just an alternate. He ranks third in tackles in the league (130) and also has four sacks, one interception and 2 forced fumbles this year. It’s his first year with the Bills.

Tyrod Taylor has received a lot of criticism this season, but most of it is unjust. When you look at the numbers, he’s playing very well this season and has put the Bills in a good position to win. With a defense that allowed less points, our record would indicate that.

Brandon Tate joined the team as they were finalizing their 53-man roster. He was signed as a return specialist, but has also seen time at wide receiver — especially with the constant injuries at the position. He’s a big threat on returns and that’s why he’s an alternate.

Jerome Felton has been a big part of the Bills’ run-block this season and has had plenty of key blocks for McCoy, Mike Gillislee and Taylor. He also finds production in the rushing game and passing game, although his blocking is what gave him the alternate selection.

The Pro Bowl game is set to take place on January 29th in Orlando — just one week before the Super Bowl is played. Although Alexander and McCoy are the only Bills guaranteed to play, Incognito and Williams have a good chance at squeezing in there.

Congratulations to your 2017 Buffalo Bills‘ Pro Bowl Class. They had a hell of a year.

Who do you think should’ve made the Pro Bowl, that wasn’t selected? Leave your comments below!