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Snapshot of Mario Williams before and after wrist surgery

By Tim Graham

The difference in Mario Williams' performance after left wrist surgery has been unmistakable. The Buffalo Bills defensive end seems to make at least one great play every week. He has played like a star.

Whether or not the surgery was needed -- some within the organization have told me they believe the procedure had a placebo effect for Williams' confidence more than anything else -- he is playing a far superior brand of football.

I asked Williams today if he wished he'd undergone surgery earlier than the bye week.

"No, because I definitely would've missed a game for sure," Williams said. "Regardless of what happened and if it hindered anything, you don't want to miss a game coming into your first year in a new place.

"You just have to suck it up every week. ... I'm glad I did it when I did."

Mario Williams' stats pre-surgery (seven games):

  • 16 tackles
  • 3.5 sacks
  • 7 quarterback hits
  • 1 pass defensed
  • 0 forced fumbles
  • 1 fumble recovery

Mario Williams' stats post-surgery (six games):

  • 21 tackles
  • 7 sacks
  • 7 quarterback hits
  • 2 passes defensed
  • 2 forced fumbles
  • 1 fumble recovery

Williams actually started to surge three games before his surgery. He amassed five quarterbacks hits (not counting sacks) in Weeks Five and Six against the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals. He'd registered only two over the five games prior. He also had two sacks against the Cardinals.

But Williams started compiling a serious number of sacks after the bye week. His hot streak -- six in the past four games -- has him tied for sixth in the NFL with 10.5 sacks. The last Bills player with a four-game sack streak was Aaron Schobel in 2007.

Williams has Buffalo's first double-digit season in sacks since Schobel had 10 in 2009 and the most since Schobel had 14 in 2006.

"You just want to get into a rhythm and go out and make plays when the opportunity presents itself," Williams said. "All the guys on the defense have definitely played off one another and put each other in positions to make plays.

"But at the end of the day, it all comes down to W's. No matter what you do individually, that's the most important thing. ... You just try to make another game-changing play that can help you get the ball back and win the game."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |