Before the season, the Bills were expected to make the playoffs. They were consensus favorites to win their division. It wasn't outrageous to think they could win twice in the postseason and reach the AFC Championship Game.
How they got there is easily understood now, with the hindsight of 19 games, but their path was completely unexpected just a few months ago. That is, no one knew Buffalo would boast one of the best offenses in football.
By the numbers, no team improved more on that side of the ball. One could argue no player on either side improved more than Josh Allen, who catapulted into MVP contention in Year 3. He didn't do it alone, of course.
The guy behind the guy is offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. And he's the 2020 AP NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.
Daboll was named the winner at NFL Honors on Saturday. Consider it the culmination of three years working alongside Allen, who entered the league as one of the rawest top-10 QB selections in recent memory.
The two arrived in Buffalo just a few months apart, but success was not immediate. The Bills ranked 31st in offensive DVOA that first season. They were 21st last year. This year they were fifth. Accordingly, their scoring offense soared to second in the league at 31.3 points per game, an 11.7-point increase from the previous campaign.
After reaching the postseason in 2019 on the strength of a top-ranked defense, the Bills won the AFC East this season and earned their first playoff win in 25 years largely because of their offense.
That began with Daboll helping Allen become a more accurate passer -- his completion percentage has risen from 52.8 to 58.8 to 69.2 since 2018. The 45-year-old OC also adjusted his schemes to better match Buffalo's personnel, boosted by the addition of Stefon Diggs, and fashion a consistent downfield attack. From Week 1 on, Daboll's unit took over games against defenses both poor and premier (see: Rams, Patriots, Dolphins, Colts).
The former longtime Patriots assistant had been an offensive coordinator for three NFL teams prior to joining Sean McDermott's staff. But never for longer than two years. Even a stint as Alabama's offensive coordinator, which produced a national championship, lasted just one season.
Daboll has found a home in Western New York and, after drawing interest for a pair of head-coaching vacancies, will be back for more in 2021. That could be a super development for the Bills.