Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen wins sixth Offensive Player of the Week award

Allen took home his fourth Player of the Week Award this season. Only Jim Kelly has earned more such titles in Buffalo Bills history.

Less than three seasons into his Buffalo Bills career, Josh Allen is already approaching Jim Kelly territory.

The NFL announced on Wednesday that the Bills’ quarterback has earned his fourth AFC Offensive Player of the Week Award of the season, stemming from a dominant performance in last Saturday’s visit to Denver. Allen put up 392 total yards of offense and four touchdowns (two each through the air and on the ground) in a 48-19 win over the Broncos, one that would allow the Bills to clinch their first AFC East title since 1995.

This season has been downright historic for Allen, whose emergence has been a large factor behind the Bills’ divisional takeover. Allen became the first quarterback in NFL history to score at least seven touchdowns in each of his first three seasons and he also joined Cam Newton and Daunte Culpepper as the only quarterbacks in league history to earn at least 60 scores through the air and at least 20 on the ground.

With the sixth Player of the Week award (with one each added in 2018 and 2019), Allen is now behind only Jim Kelly for the biggest haul in team history. This one for the Denver triumph broke a tie with Thurman Thomas with five and he also ties a single-season record for most Player of the Week Awards tallied by a Bill since O.J. Simpson in 1973.

Elsewhere in the AFC’s Week 15 affairs, Indianapolis lineman DeForest Buckner won the Defensive Player of the Week title, while Kansas City punter Tommy Townsend was the special teams representative.

Buffalo (11-3) returns to action on Monday night, taking on the New England Patriots in their final home game of the regular season (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen takes home 3rd AFC Player of the Week title

Allen’s latest weekly award stems from a four-touchdown performance in the Buffalo Bills’ win over San Francisco in Glendale.

Josh Allen’s propensity for weekly awards may be bringing a sense of routine into the Buffalo Bills’ unusual season.

The franchise quarterback has earned his third AFC Player of the Week Award of the 2020 season, earned through a stellar performance in the Bills’ Week 13 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Glendale, Arizona on Monday night. Allen took over the displaced proceedings, completing 32-of-40 passes for 375 yards and four touchdown passes in Buffalo’s 34-24 victory.

Other weekly accolades for Allen came in Weeks 2 and 9. He becomes the first Bills player to tally three Player of the Week Awards since kicker Steve Christie in 2000, and the first to earn at least three of the offensive variety since O.J. Simpson won four in 1973.

Allen has already set new career-highs in nearly every major passing category, including yardage (3,403) and touchdowns (26). His breakthrough season has been a major factor behind the Bills’ strong season and why they’re on pace for their first AFC East division title since 1995.

Originally seen as a polarizing pick out of Wyoming upon his NFL arrival in 2018, many have changed their tune on Allen, now seen as the strongest return from the year’s highly publicized quarterback class. Among his new fans is Rainn Wilson, best known for his role as Dwight Schrute on the NBC series The Office. During Monday’s performance, the actor tweeted out that Allen was his “second favorite quarterback”, to which Allen inquired whether he was “Assistant favorite Qb, or assistant to your favorite Qb?”, referencing a recurring gag that victimized Wilson’s breakout role of assistant regional manager/assistant to the regional manager Dwight.

Allen will get a chance to make his own memories on the Peacock Network this Sunday, as the Bills will partake in the prime time night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC).

The Bills’ weren’t the only AFC East representatives on the Player of the Week ledger this week. New England punt returner Gunner Olszewski took home the special teams edition, while Miami’s Kyle Van Noy was named the top defender. Elsewhere in New York, Leonard Williams of the Giants took home that NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week honor for his efforts in an upset win in Seattle.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Buffalo Bills LB A.J. Klein named AFC Defensive Player of the Week

The linebacker becomes the third member of the Buffalo Bills to earn a Player of the Week Award this season.

Buffalo Bills linebacker A.J. Klein had to hold out for a little bit, but a special honor awaited him at the end of Week 12’s NFL action.

The defender earned the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Bills’ 27-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Klein led all defenders with 14 tackles (3 for a loss), 1.5 sacks, and a pass breakup. His most notable contribution of the afternoon came in the early stages of the fourth quarter, when he forced Chargers running back Joshua Kelly into a three-yard loss on a crucial third-and-one in the Buffalo red zone. The takedown forced Los Angeles into a field goal that kept the lead at a manageable 24-17 margin.

Klein, 29, is in his first year with the Bills, having signed a three-year deal with the team over the offseason after seven years with Carolina and New Orleans. He struggled in the early portions of the season, but has since come up huge with Matt Milano sidelined due to injuries. Klein previously came up big in Buffalo’s statement win over Seattle, when he earned five tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble.

“I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff. I go out and do what I need to do and try to perform to the best of my ability,” Klein said of outside criticism after the Seattle win, per Mike Sherry of The Post Crescent. “It’s a good feeling when you go out and perform like this. Big plays cover probably some mistakes from earlier in the first half, but I know I can play football.”

“I have all the confidence in myself and I really don’t pay attention to any outward or outside noise. That’s one thing in this league you can’t do. You just have to focus on yourself, focus on the process and get the job done on Sundays.”

In a report from Matt Parrino of Syracuse.com, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier praised the improvement that Klein has shown in subbing for Milano.

“We didn’t know if A.J. could do some of the things that we ask Matt to do. But as we’ve gotten more comfortable with him and he’s gotten more comfortable in our system, we’ve seen him play some much improved football,” Frazier said. “That’s a credit to A.J. just sticking with it and making himself available and then when his number is called, making those plays that are there for him to make.”

Klein becomes the third Buffalo representative to take home a Player of the Week award, joining QB Josh Allen (Weeks 2, 9) and fellow defender Jerry Hughes (Week 7). Receiver Tyreek Hill of Kansas City took home the week’s offensive honor, while New England kicker Nick Folk earned the top mark for specialists.

The Bills return to action on Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers in Glendale Arizona (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Yankees: Weekly Recap + ESM Yankee Players of the Week for 7/29-8/4

New York Yankees, Domingo German

Weekly Recap:

After winning only one of four games at Fenway Park last week, the New York Yankees returned home hoping to regain momentum. After splitting a two-game series with Arizona, the legendary rivalry resumed in the Bronx, though the story would be very different this time. The Yankees would sweep the series, sending Boston plummeting further down in the standings, dropping to 14.5 games back after Sunday’s finale.

The sweep was huge, not just in terms of the standings, but also in showing that the starting rotation is improving. James Paxton, Domingo German, and J.A. Happ all went at least five innings and got wins in their respective starts in this series.

Torres, Ursehla avoid I.L.:

While the Yankees relished in finishing off the sweep on Sunday, it came with a couple of brief injury scares. Gleyber Torres, who was 0-3 with a walk on Sunday, was taken out in the eighth inning with what the team called a “core issue.” Not too long afterward, Eusebio Torres, Gleyber’s father, tweeted:

Translated from Spanish, the tweet reads:

“After the scare tonight, GT is leaving the hospital and everything is fine, the bus waits for him, and they go straight to Baltimore.”

Most likely as a precaution, Torres played the following day against Baltimore as the DH. Torres going to the I.L. would have been another significant blow to the Yankees. They already lost both Aaron Hicks (strained flexor tendon in right elbow) and Edwin Encarnacion (right wrister fracture) last Saturday.

Gio Urshela was also banged up on Sunday after fouling a pair of pitches off his left shin and right knee. He did not play in the first game against Baltimore.

Sanchez to go on rehab assignment:

According to manager Aaron Boone, catcher Gary Sanchez will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday. Following games on Wednesday and Thursday, the all-star catcher will rejoin the Yankees sometime this weekend in Toronto. Sanchez has been on the 10-day I.L. since July 24 with a Grade 1 Left Groin Strain. This is his third I.L. stint due to groin injuries in the past two seasons.

 

And now, with that out of the way, it is now time for this weeks…

Empire Sports Media’s Yankee Players of the Week:

James Paxton & Domingo German:

Paxton:

Vs. Boston (8/2): W, 6.0 Innings, 2 Hits, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO

German:

Vs. Boston (8/3): W, 7.0 Innings, 5 Hits, 2 ER, 7 SO

That’s right, the Big Maple and the Ant are ESM’s first-ever Yankee Co-Players of the Week! Both starters turned in quality starts in back-to-back days against the Red Sox, helping the Yankees to a four-game series sweep.

Paxton kicked off the series with his typical first-inning troubles, allowing a two-run home run to J.D. Martinez. After a Gleyber Torres grand slam in the bottom half of the first, Paxton settled down, allowing only one hit and two walks from the second inning on, finishing with six innings of two-run ball and six strikeouts. This was a huge redemption start for Paxton after getting shelled for seven runs in four innings during his last start at Fenway Park.

The next day, German had arguably one of his best starts of the season in game one of a doubleheader. Despite giving up solo shots to Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradly Jr., German tossed seven innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts. This start helped keep the bullpen fresh, as the Yankees deployed Chad Green as an opener in the nightcap.

Honorable Mentions (In no order):

Gleyber Torres:

6 games, 5-24 (.208), 3 HR, 7 RBI, .667 SLG%

Despite hitting just over .200 for the week, Gleyber Torres contributed to the sweep of the Red Sox. In game one, down 2-0, Torres took Eduardo Rodriguez deep for a go-ahead salami, capping off the offense for both teams. The next day, in the nightcap of a doubleheader, Torres knocked a pair of solo shots as part of a 3-for-5 night scoring three runs.

Mike Tauchman:

5 games, 5-17 (.313), 1 HR, 6 RBI, .353 OBP%

The sockman continues to show why GM Brian Cashman may just know what he’s doing despite the opinions of some Yankee fans. After Sunday’s game, Tauchman has slashed .372/.433/.617/1.050 with four home runs and 22 RBI since May 5.

J.A. Happ:

Vs. Boston (8/4): W, 5.2 Innings, 7 Hits, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO

While Happ’s stat line in his latest start isn’t fantastic, he was cruising through the first four innings, allowing only two hits during that span. It was one of his better starts of the year, and the Yankees are now 15-7 in Happ’s started in 2019.

Tommy Kahnle:

1-0, 3.0 Innings, 0.00 ERA, 4 SO, 2 Hits, 1 BB

Kahnle continues his resurgent 2019 with an excellent month of July overall. In 12 July appearances, the righty allowed only one earned run, good for a 0.77 ERA during that span. He also struck out 17 and held opposing batters to a .128 BAA. Due to his strong month, Kahnle was named the American League Reliever of the Month for July.

Gio Urshela:

5 games, 7-18 (.389), .421 OBP%