Why Devin Singletary is the Bills’ Secret Weapon Against the Chiefs

When the Buffalo Bills realized late in the 2021 season that, yes, the franchise did want to win the AFC East, head coach Sean McDermott finally unleashed third-year running back Devin Singletary.

A third-round draft pick in 2019, the former All-American had impressed at points in his first three years. However, the running back affectionately nicknamed “Motor” had struggled to earn consistent carries and take over games the way he had under Lane Kiffin’s watch at Florida Atlantic University.

Not only is Singletary riding high, but he represents the Bills’ key to defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round.

The Bills finally unleashed Devin Singletary at the end of the 2021 season

Despite Singletary’s explosive ability and improved receiving skills, the Bills appeared reluctant to finally make him a bell-cow back. He averaged 42 yards on nine carries in the Bills’ first 13 games and only topped double-digit rushing attempts six times in that span.

Everything changed after the 24-year-old quietly rushed for 52 yards on four carries and turned six catches into 37 yards in a Week 14 loss to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a month left and the AFC East in reach, McDermott and the Bills gave Singletary the ball.

In his final four regular-season games, Singletary rushed for 323 yards and five touchdowns on 76 carries; that’s a 1,373-yard, 21-touchdown statline across a 17-game season. The FAU product also turned eight catches into 73 yards and a touchdown.

Buffalo ended the year on a four-game winning streak and clinched the AFC East for a second straight year. Singletary rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-17 victory over the rival New England Patriots on Super Wild Card Weekend.

Singletary is the key to Buffalo’s hopes of defeating Kansas City in the AFC Divisional Round

When Buffalo last played Kansas City in the postseason, the Bills jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the 2020 AFC Championship Game. Leading 9-7 early in the second quarter, Allen threw a short pass to Singletary on 2nd-and-9 from the Chiefs’ 49-yard line. Singletary dropped the ball and blew an opportunity at what could have been a first down.

Buffalo failed to convert on third down, relinquished the lead on Kansas City’s next drive, and lost 38-24. Nearly a year later, Singletary has a perfect opportunity to prove he’s come a long way since that fateful drop.

The Bills have reached the point where they clearly trust Singletary as a rusher and a receiver. When Buffalo defeated the Chiefs 38-20 in October, McDermott and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll primarily relied on Allen’s arm (315 yards, three passing touchdowns, and no interceptions) and legs (11 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown) that night.

Steve Spagnuolo’s Chiefs defense will likely prioritize shutting down Pro Bowl receiver Stefon Diggs on Sunday night. Allen now knows he has a dynamic running back he can trust to either carry or catch the ball if he can’t hit his favorite receiver.

Singletary has thrived in recent weeks because he’s mixed patience with athleticism. He’s finally given the Bills a stable running game — and, as any older football fan knows, teams with reliable rushing attacks and elite defenses stand an excellent chance at winning the Super Bowl.

The Bills need more than Singletary to take down the Chiefs

When he spoke with reporters before the Divisional Round, Singletary made it clear he hasn’t forgotten last season’s loss to the Chiefs. He almost certainly isn’t alone in wanting to exact revenge on Sunday night.

Buffalo already proved it could win in Arrowhead Stadium against Patrick Mahomes and a deep Chiefs offense. The Bills must play a cleaner game than they did in October — the Bills committed 10 penalties for 103 yards — and avoid letting the idea of defeating the Chiefs at home get to their heads.

Singletary, for his part, is ready to roll. He only had six carries for 25 yards and lost yardage on his lone catch when he faced the Chiefs three months ago. With how well he’s played of late, don’t be surprised if he gets the ball early and often this weekend.

Singletary doesn’t have Allen’s arm strength or defensive back Jordan Poyer’s aggressiveness, but he’s the Bills’ key to defeating the Chiefs’ season on Sunday night. Bills fans likely didn’t expect to read that sentence in October.

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