Despite numerous injuries to key members of the Buffalo Bills‘ secondary, the defense came up huge in Orchard Park on Sunday afternoon to seal a 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Joe Flacco threw five interceptions – a new career high – and the Bills’ defense turned in one huge stop after another despite some very sloppy play by EJ Manuel.
Manuel was personally responsible for three separate turnovers – a fumble and two interceptions. These were the type of rookie mistakes that Manuel should be able to learn from moving forward, and they also came against a physical, aggressive Ravens defense. Still, none of the turnovers were pretty. Both interceptions were poorly thrown into traffic with pressure coming, and the fumble was a strip from behind as Manuel tried to roll out of the pocket and failed to protect the ball.
Although the Bills’ offense failed to get it done, particularly in the second half, the defense looked dominant. Kiko Alonso had two interceptions, including a game-saving play on the Ravens’ final drive to give the Bills the ball with just over a minute remaining. They were the third and fourth interceptions of Alonso’s young career. The rookie out of Oregon has been making big plays for Buffalo all season long and is already coming into his own as a game changing, every-down linebacker.
Aaron Williams came up with two more interceptions, and Mario Williams continued his impressive play, turning in a big sack in the fourth quarter to bring his season total to 5.5 through four games. The Bills D was also able to consistently hold the Ravens scoreless or force field goals, including two consecutive stops late in the game that could have given Baltimore the lead.
New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine should be very pleased with what his defense has been able to accomplish so far in 2013. That’s especially true given the fact that the unit has suffered so many injuries to key players. With Jairus Byrd, Stephon Gilmore, Alex Carrington and Ron Brooks all watching from the sidelines, the Bills’ defense still managed to make plays and win a pivotal game for Buffalo.