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Buffalo vs. Kansas City, AFC Divisional Round, January 23rd, 2022. Considered by many to be not only the greatest playoff shootout of all time, but one of the most polarizing games of football ever to take place. In a never ending, do or die, all out effort by both teams, the Chiefs claimed victory in overtime with a score of 42-36. With 43 million viewers, this game was the most watched NFL game since the previous Super Bowl, and recently won the "Best Game" of the year award at the Espy's. The match was exhilarating from start to finish, even forcing the NFL to change the overtime rules a month later so that such a game would never be decided in OT without both teams getting a chance to score. With the stat sheet being stuffed by both teams in this spectacular display of talent, one player's historic accomplishment will always be overshadowed by defeat.
Gabriel Davis, second year, 4th round pick wide receiver out of UCF, did something that has never been done before in any playoff game. He scored not one, not two, not three, but four receiving touchdowns in this one game. His final stat line, 8 catches for 201 yards and 4 TD's, is unlike any other effort by any wideout in the history of the NFL playoffs. Everyone bared witness to Davis making clutch grab after clutch grab, tugging at the heartstrings of football fans all over the nation as his score with 13 seconds to go was infamously not enough to earn Buffalo the win. After being a part time, rotation receiver for the Bills offense for two seasons, Davis' stock suddenly exploded.
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This offseason, Davis has been the talk of the town. Everyone, including myself, seems to have a different opinion on how he will produce. He has certainly flashed before the Chiefs game, showcasing incredible body control on sideline catches and gritty end zone presence as he scored the occasional red zone touchdown. Being paired with arguably the best young quarterback in football, Josh Allen, his new role in the offense with expanded target opportunities left by departing receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley firmly places Davis as the number 2 pass catcher in a highly productive unit that is sure to produce tons of points. Many expect him to take a huge leap, with his previous career regular season production being limited to under 600 yards in each of his first two seasons. Fantasy football players are among the most optimistic, with some selecting Davis as high as the fourth round of drafts that include every offensive player in the NFL. From RotoBaller's recent article, Bills head coach Sean McDermott stated this week that he has, "Total confidence" in the young pass catcher. "From day 1, he's made plays. When he was given his shot he made the most of it." With the ultimate trust of Josh Allen and the coaching staff finally secure, Davis' target share looks set to shoot up this season. I see him being this year's Mike Williams, as they are both tall deep threats for young gunslinger QB's who can take in reception volume and move the chains when needed. Williams took a massive step forward last year, catching passes from Herbert in the high flying Chargers offense and I expect no different from Davis. Still only 23 years old, the hype is real, and I have to say I am buying into it as well.
My official predictions for Gabriel Davis in 2022:
73 Receptions, 1,134 yards, 9 TD's
What are your thoughts? Are you a Davis believer, or is he a bum with one lucky game? Let me know below or on Twitter @mikedilg!