ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – In recent years, the Bills defense has led them to wins while the offense does barely or just enough to win the game. That’s what Bills Mafia is used to seeing, the defense carrying the team in games.
But now through the first three games of the season, the Bills offense has exploded and when the defense has gone through slumps, the offense has won the game.
Against the Rams, the defense held LA to just a field goal in the first half and even followed it up to start the second half by stopping them on fourth down. But then the wheels kind of fell off.
“Then those next four series man we just couldn’t find a way to get off the field. We couldn’t stop the run game, all of a sudden they’re making plays with the bootleg that we had been containing and when it rains it pours. It just kept coming. So there’s some things that we’ll have to get better at for sure, being able to be more gap sound and tackle better,” Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said.
“We had a lot of missed tackles in those last four drives that really hurt us so disappointed that we could start so well and not finish the way we started. It’s something we’ll have to work on for sure.”
Those are two key things the defense is going to focus on heading into week four against the Raiders.
“This game, just the missed tackles and not being in our gaps that’s something you gotta get fixed in a hurry,” Frazier said.
The Bills had a hard time stopping the run. The Rams rushed for 167 yards but this wasn’t a surprise because they were third in the league in rushing coming into the game averaging 172 rushing yards per game.
But getting linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds back this game after they missed week two in Miami was huge.
“It’s hard to believe we can win without those guys. I know other guys would have stepped up and done a good job for us but we’re all very happy that both Matt and Tremaine were able to come back. We needed them, it was definitely tough in that second half but if you could flip it and just imagine if that Rams had gotten off to that fast of a start, it would have been a lot tougher to win that game. So very, very pleased and very happy that those guys were able to make it back for that ball game,” Frazier explained.
The Bills blew a 25-point lead against the Rams as LA scored 29 unanswered points even though Buffalo came back to win the game. This is an unfamiliar look for the Bills when the defense has been the factor to win the game in the past so this is a change happening now, something Leslie Frazier has to remember when it comes to his competitive defensive playmakers.
“I try to explain to our players that at the end of the day it’s about winning in our league, in December that’s what’s gonna count, the W’s, especially the one’s you get in September. We definitely have some things we want to improve on on defense and it’s great to be improving as you’re winning games. You don’t want your best football to be in September. You want to just keep improving as the year goes on, that’s what I’ve tried to harp on with our guys that our goal is to improve but at the end of the day this is better for our football team when we have good balance, you know good offense, good defense, good special teams, it’s better for our team in the long term, not just being dominant on one side of the ball,” Frazier said.
Also in the game on defense for the Bills, rookie defensive end A.J. Epenesa got his first career sack after being inactive for week one against the Jets. Matt Milano also sacked Jared Goff while Levi Wallace came up with an interception in a big play to bounce back after a tough game against the Dolphins the week before.