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AFC East: Buffalo Bills Recap

AFC East: Buffalo Bills Recap
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Buffalo Bills Recap

Your weekly Bills recap is back and better than ever after a bout with bronchitis and what a game to return to it was. The Bills have decided that the season isn’t over yet and even though they will need to win out and get a little help to make the post season, it’s never too late to circle the wagons in Western New York.

The story of the weekend, in my opinion, has to be the Bills’ defense. In the past two weeks, the Bills have held the two best quarterbacks in the league to a combined 31 completions on 62 attempts for 358 yards, zero touchdowns, four interceptions, and average passer rating of 45.2. They have done this without their best coverage linebacker in Kiko Alonso. They have done this without their former best defensive player, Jairus Byrd. And they have done it without consistently sacking the opposing quarterback, which is what some people have said is all they’re good at. The Bills’ defense has humbled two future first-ballot Hall of Fame QBs and they’ve done so with precious little help from their offensive unit.

That pathetic offense is the reason why the Bills went 1-1 in the last two weeks instead of 2-0. Whatever mojo Kyle Orton brought to the table in Weeks 5 – 8 has been lost to the winds and the Bills are struggling to put the ball in the end zone like never before. The combination of Orton’s questionable decision making, which has lead to costly interceptions and sacks taken on crucial third down plays, and Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s downright stupid play calling has put the Bills’ defense in a difficult position almost every week. The Bills are good, great even, on defense, but there’s not many defenses who can hold teams to less than 17 points every week and, outside of a couple of offensive outbursts against the even more inept Jets, that’s what the Bills’ offense has been averaging per game.

As bad as the offense looks at times, it seems like the worse they are the better the defense plays. Through 14 games of the 2014 season, the Bills defense is ranked in the top ten in nearly every relevant defensive statistic and they’re in the top five in most of them. 5th in total yards/game, 5th in passing yards/game, 9th in rushing yards/game, 4th in points/game, 2nd in 3rd down conversions allowed, 1st in sacks, 2nd in interceptions, and 5th in turnover differential. In short, they’re in the discussion for best defense in the league and, at the very least, in the top 3. This defense is elite and it’s only going to get stronger when Kiko Alonso returns in 2015. If the front office extends Jerry Hughes and Marcel Dareus to keep the front four intact, the only weakness on the squad is at defensive back. Nobody knows what will happen with the quarterback position next year, but if the Bills get even a moderate upgrade to a competent QB and dispose of Hackett, look out Patriots. The herd is coming for you.

In any case, that’s the future and in 2014, the Bills are still alive in the playoff hunt with two weeks left in the season, which is a welcome change for their fans. It may take a minor miracle to get them in, including a win against another elite QB in a stadium where the Bills have never known victory, but it’s possible. And Bills fans don’t need much of a chance to keep their hope alive.

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