Following the release of Nick Barnett after last season, questions of who would take over play calling responsibilities on defense quickly began to sprout up. Then came the skepticism after coach Doug Marrone tagged rookie Kiko Alonzo as his choice despite his lack of pro experience.
After four weeks and following a 23-20 win against the defending champs, Marrone was able to tell reporters, with confidence, I told you so.
"What’s difficult for me to communicate here is if you think about early on in camp everyone is like, 'Well here he is, this guy is out there playing, is he your starting middle linebacker?' Marrone said, "and I’m like, 'Yeah.' And they were like, 'Well is a three-down linebacker?' For us early on we really felt that way.
"So as the season goes on and we see him progressing and doing things, again it’s something we’re actually, obviously we’re very happy with. We’re very proud of."
The 23-year-old, who came into Game 4 tied for second in the league with two interceptions, tallied two more Sunday, including the game-clinching pick with 57 seconds remaining as Baltimore was looking to tie the game up. Alonzo's pair of picks were two of five the Buffalo defense tallied against Joe Flacco, who set a franchise record for the most interceptions in a single game.
While Alonzo called his first pick "a gift," he was much more humble when talking about the final grab at midfield.
Veteran Kyle Williams, however, was happy to do it for him and for fellow rookie Robert Woods, who finished the game with 80 yards and a touchdown.
"You have different rookies and guys that come in, and some do it the right way some do it the wrong way," Williams said. "These guys as soon as they got here, just watching them work, the way that they play, you knew they were going to be able to do some things and they’ve done it the right way and we’re lucky to have them."