ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – There was a lot of hype surrounding Stefon Diggs when the Bills traded for him and so far he’s lived up to all of the expectations.
“Diggs is so special that as I see him play I just want to rip off my captain’s C and throw it on his chest,” Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins said.
It was a slow first half offensively against the Steelers but Diggs provided a much needed spark to this Bills offense in the second half as they beat Pittsburgh, 26-15 on Sunday Night Football.
“Every game I’m trying to put my best work out there and I know that a lot of people trust me and believe in me and that’s all I really wanted and as a player that’s all you ever want, for your coaches and people around you to believe in you,” Diggs said after the game.
Diggs had ten catches on 14 targets for 130 yards and a touchdown. He now has 1,167 receiving yards on the season which is a new career-high for a single-season. His previous best was last year in Minnesota when he had 1,130 yards.
“He’s been grinding, he’s come in and he just continues to out perform, out shine and prove us day in and day out that he’s a different guy and that he’s our guy,” Dawkins said.
He’s also approaching a few franchise records. Diggs now has 100 catches this year which ties Eric Moulds’ record for most receptions in a single-season.
“Give the credit to the people around me especially Josh Allen, young quarterback he put his faith and trust in me to make plays, make plays for him with the ball in my hands and catching the ball,” Diggs said.
“Coach Daboll you know he’s calling the right stuff, he’s drawing it up upstairs and putting me in the best position to make plays and then my wide receiver coach Chad Hall. We put in a lot of work in practice, we rep a lot of stuff that’s more game like than anything, I can be a lot better so I don’t think too much of it. I’m just trying to chase these wins.”
The Bills took a 9-7 lead a halftime thanks to Taron Johnson’s pick-six. Then in the second half, the Bills came out firing on offense as they capped their first drive in the third quarter with a Diggs’ 19-yard touchdown.
“Coach Daboll just came in and told us that we need to do our jobs. We weren’t being us in the first half and it was evident. We weren’t moving the ball efficiently, receivers we weren’t doing our jobs good enough and in the second half he just say everybody needed to do their job, just win your one-on-one’s and that’s how we started. Get the ball rolling a little bit, getting some first downs that kind of thing so we kind of tried to double dip at halftime, we got some points and tried to get some more points coming out and we just tried to get rolling from there,” Diggs explained.
Head coach Sean McDermott often talks about the importance of player driven leadership and during the game Diggs displayed that as Allen was struggled in the first half but there was never any worry about their quarterback.
“Hell no, I know what kind of player he is. He’s a tough quarterback, he’s a mentally tough quarterback. I check on him throughout the game periodically like ‘you alright’ and he’s like ‘yeah, yeah’. He’s never too high, he’s never too low so I just try to stay behind him and let him know we got his back on the outside and when we can make plays for him we will,” Diggs said.
And Allen appreciates that kind of support and communication during games.
“It’s awesome, I can go on and on about how great of a guy, great of a teammate Stef is but the dude can flat out play. I love throwing to him and he’s just a great dude,” Allen said after the game.
Which is contrary to what the perception of Diggs was when he left Minnesota.
“When we first traded for him the whole media backing about him was so negative and it blows my mind how people can get that so wrong because he’s been nothing but great for us, nothing but great in the locker room, nothing but great on the sideline,” Allen explained.
“All he wants to do is help this team win football games. He’s a competitor, we have very similar mindsets. I love the guy, he goes out there and competes his tail off. I’m just super blessed that we traded for him.”