The Buffalo Bills were an undermanned team going into Sunday’s showdown with the Baltimore Ravens. They were missing three CBs, a safety and lost one of their starting DEs for the season in last Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets.
If there was ever a time for the Bills to embrace the “next man up” mentality in sports, this was it. The Bills needed players to step up in a big way in the wake of the injuries, and it’s exactly what they did against the Ravens.
We’ll start with Aaron Williams, who was phenomenal on Sunday. He was moved from CB to S prior to the season and earned the starting SS job. He was moved away from CB for a reason and the last thing that the Bills wanted to do was be forced to put him back at CB, but that’s exactly what they had to do on Sunday.
He picked off two Joe Flacco passes, tripling his career INT total and made some really nice pass breakups, including a nice arm swap on a deep throw to Torrey Smith. It’s fair to say that Williams stepped up and played his best game as a pro yesterday.
The rest of the secondary stepped up as well. Veteran Jim Leonhard added another INT to his total when he picked off Flacco in the first quarter. Undrafted rookie CB Nickell Robey had a strong game covering the slot. While Justin Rogers didn’t play well, he played better than he did last week.
Along the defensive line Alan Branch, Alex Carrington‘s replacement, had a strong showing in helping the Bills hold the Ravens to 24 yards rushing for the game. He was active at the point of attack.
It seems like someone stepped up at every position that the Bills needed someone to on Sunday. Now they wait for the injuries to heal and to become an even deeper team. They have a short turnaround this week with a Thursday night game, so some of these guys may need to step up again. We’ll see what the next man up has in store this week.