Dec. 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) looks to pass the ball while being chased by New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 28 to 9. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Another guy that was a big story in an otherwise lost season of 2012 was Muhammad Wilkerson. “Beast Mo” came into his own in 2012, thanks to, among other reasons, the teachings of Karl Dunbar. He finished the 2012 season with 70 tackles, 5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. It was arguable a Pro Bowl season for Muhammad Wilkerson. But, how good was he really? Let’s look at it by the numbers(all rankings courtesy of Pro Football Focus).
JJ Watt was far and away the highest ranked 3-4 defensive end with a rating of 101.7. Nobody was close. But, in second place, with a ranking of 49.3, we have………Muhammad Wilkerson. That’s right, he was second in the entire league. In pass rushing, he was 4th in the league(10.8). He was also ranked second in the league in run defense(35.7), which wasn’t that far behind first place JJ Watt(45.0). Mo was tied for 3rd in quarterback hits with 10, and tied for second in quarterback hurries with 22.
Put that all into the following context: he only started to step up in the second half. We really didn’t hear a lot from Mo early in the season, and he was still ranked 2nd in the league. Imagine if “Beast Mo” had been playing this well all season long. There wouldn’t have been any question about him making the Pro Bowl, that’s for sure.
We do know that we have quite the “beast” going forward. It’s a good thing he is on our side. Watching Muhammad Wilkerson develop over the next few years is going to be more than exciting.