With a defense that adjusted its scheme under a new head coach going from a 3-4 under Rex Ryan to a 4-3 under Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier, there was potential in a positive difference. In the first four weeks, against the Jets, Panthers, Broncos and the Falcons, the Bills defense was able to control the game and allow the offense to put points on the board without having to play from behind.
They were one of the top defenses’ in the league and at one point, were the number one scoring defense in the league. Their success on the defense was setting them up to make a run in the league.
Fast forward to Week 9 and this is where the decline of this defense begins. Ironically, it was against the Jets in their second battle with them. The Bills run defense gave up 194 yards on the ground to the Jets which cost them the game. The defense had a bad week and there was a chance that they would bounce back the following week against the New Orleans Saints.
In their arguably most pathetic loss of the season, the Bills defense suffered in all four quarters against Drew Brees and the Saints. Or should I say the up and coming duo of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Just between the two, they rushed for 237 yards and four touchdowns. Then to add insult to injury, Trey Edmunds and Drew Brees each had a rushing touchdown of their own.
Overall, the Bills gave up 298 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns to the Saints. Granted that the Bills offense could not put any points on the board, it was the defense that gave up 47 points to the Saints. What was weird is the fact the Saints passing game was not as dangerous as most thought it would be. It was a field day for any Saints player that ran the ball against the Bills.
The following week, this game between the Bills and the Chargers was more focused on Bills rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman and how he took over for Tyrod Taylor. When fans think of this game, obviously the main focus was the five interceptions that Peterman threw in the first half.
Let’s not forget about the Bills defense performance. One thing about that game is that even the Chargers scored 54 points, they were in great position to score each time there was an interception. There was a pick-six so it’s hard to say that the Bills defense was the reason for this loss. Although, the Bills still gave up 146 yards and two touchdowns on the ground along with 251 yards through the air and two touchdowns.
Buffalo finally catches a break:
In Week 12, the Bills defense finally came together and stopped a Chiefs team that has plenty of playmakers on the offense. Their defense played their best defense and only allowed 55 rushing yards and 181 yards through the air. The defense played excellent and they secured the game winning interception that was picked off by Tre’Davious White.
Fast forward to Patriots week…
A big factor in attempting to take down the Patriots is playing perfect defense. In the first half, the Bills only allowed three field goals when in all reality it could have gotten out of hand quickly.
Then the second half comes around and we watched a Bills defense crumble. In total, the Bills let up 191 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The defense could not pressure Tom Brady and could not tackle on plays which let the Pats running backs run wild. Like the game against the Saints, it was the running game that crushed the Bills.
The Bills defense is a joke and the stats do not lie. They are suffering against both the pass and run. While it is not their job to put points on the field, their job is to stop opponents which they have failed miserable in recent weeks. While the offense needs to figure out their struggles, the Bills defense has much more work to do. Leslie Frazier could very well be on the hot seat with the Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.
With four regular season games remaining and sitting at 6-6, the Bills will need to figure out a plan to get their defense together and finish strong. The entire team needs help, but the defense cannot be letting up numerous of points every game. To win games, teams need to play defensive football and Buffalo has the talent to do so. One thing that is proven is that the Bills will need to significantly improve their defensive line.
For now, they need to finish strong and show Bills fans what they are made in the most crucial time of the season.
-Follow Brandon Ray on Twitter at @brandon_ray79 and @FPC_Bills for Buffalo Bills coverage.