Analysis: Bills’ D is right to sing as challenges lie ahead |


JOHN WAWROW AP Sports Writer

ORCHARD PARK – Still stung after being ignored in Pro Bowl voting, and seven weeks into one of their lowest moments of the season following a 14-10 loss to New England, Buffalo Jordan Poyer safes and Micah Hyde decided to join in the laughter. .

Shortly after claiming Buffalo’s second straight AFC East title, the two starters were in a celebratory mood and led a parade of defensive backs into the post-game press conference room.

“Ah, hah, hah, hah, hah,” said cornerback Levi Wallace with a laugh.

“You all see it! Someone shouted.

“We have all five,” Poyer said, referring to the five DBs in attendance, as Hyde placed Tre’Davious White’s No.27 shirt on the table in honor of the star cornerback who was sidelined from the game. ‘knee injury.

They had good reason to sing after a 27-10 victory over the Jets on Sunday in which the defense limited New York to four first downs (a Bills franchise record), 53 net attacking yards (second under team history) while generating nine sacks (two less than the team’s record and the most in 10 years).

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While their playoff opponent, rival New England Division, had yet to be determined, the timing served as an exit party – or closing, perhaps -. When informed that the Bills defense pulled off a winning trifecta by finishing first in the NFL in fewer yards, passing yards and runs allowed, Poyer and Hyde playfully asked someone to repeat these rankings once more.

There is no doubt that defense has been a constant for the team this season, having played a major role in leading Buffalo (11-6) to its third straight playoff spot and fourth in five years.

Those in attendance, including the players, also haven’t forgotten that this was the same room where Poyer and Hyde got annoyed at being asked if they were embarrassed after a loss in which New England only attempted three passes and stomped on Buffalo, gaining 222. rushing yards to make up for the windy, wintry elements.

Which leads to one of the main questions the Bills face in the playoffs – with aspirations to go beyond reaching the conference championship – where the Buffalo run ended ago. a year with a loss to Kansas City.

As they did against the struggling offensively and injury-exhausted Jets, the Bills have proven more than capable of stifling Jets rookie Zach Wilson. Buffalo finished the season 7-2 against the opposing quarterbacks with 16 career starts or less, with their only losses to Mac Jones of New England and Trevor Lawrence of Jacksonville.

Buffalo, on the other hand, went 4-4 against more experienced starters, with losses to Tom Brady of Tampa Bay, Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh, Ryan Tannehill of Tennessee and Carson Wentz of Indianapolis. Aside from splitting two games against New England’s Jones, the only other playoff-linked quarterback Buffalo to win this season was Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes in Week 5.

Another question mark revolves around the inconsistencies of Buffalo vs.Running. The Bills finished 3-4 allowing 100 rushing yards, including a 41-15 loss to Indianapolis in which Jonathan Taylor scored five times (one reception) in the Bills’ most lopsided loss since Week 5 from last season.

The Patriots, with a backfield from Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden and Rhamondre Stevenson, have accumulated 372 yards and four rushing touchdowns in two games this year.

Happy as he was with the regular season results, coordinator Leslie Frazier was already watching what to expect.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” Frazier said. “We will play very good attacks, starting with the attack we are going to face this weekend.”

Buffalo’s on-going offense, with RB Devin Singletary combining 375 rushing yards and five touchdowns (including one receiving) in the last 18 quarters.

Go against the wind. As was the case in the loss to New England last month, Buffalo’s offense has gone nowhere in the face of the wind against the Jets. The Bills kicked seven times, gave up the ball on the downs and scored a 21-yard field goal on nine possessions that ended with the wind in the face.

With two sacks on Sunday, Poyer finished the season as the only NFL player with at least five interceptions and three sacks.

P Matt Haack. His 21-yard punt into the wind allowed the Jets to score to reduce Buffalo’s lead to 10-7 in the second quarter. He also mismanaged a snap that was just off his left before hitting a 7-yard punt, which led to a field goal for the Jets to reduce the Buffalo lead to 13-10 in the third quarter.

WR Emmanuel Sanders missed his third straight game with a knee injury. DE Efe Obada did not play due to an ankle injury.

8-0 – Buffalo’s record this season when he scored a touchdown on his first possession.

A Saturday night showdown at home against a Patriots team Buffalo has beaten in three of the last four games.


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