It’s tough to make the case that the Buffalo Bills‘ defense outplayed their offense in a game that saw Drew Brees throw for five TD’s and 332 yards, but that’s exactly what happened. For the majority of Sunday’s game, the Bills’ defense did a respectable job containing Brees and the New Orleans Saints‘ high-powered offense. In fact, up until the final minute of the first half, Buffalo remained within a single touchdown of the 6-1 Saints. That gap was eventually widened by a Jimmy Graham touchdown reception, making it 21-10 heading into halftime.
The big story for Buffalo in this one was turnovers. The Bills’ defense managed four sacks in the game, but probably could have done a lot more if their offense had managed to stay on the field a bit longer. Thad Lewis had three fumbles in the first half, two of which were recovered by the Saints. He also threw an interception and was sacked four times, the result of some lackluster play by the Bills’ offensive line.
Even though the numbers suggest that this loss should be pinned on Buffalo’s defense, there’s not much any NFL defense can do to stop Brees and the gang when they’re given so many opportunities to score. The Bills’ defense has actually been fairly impressive so far throughout the season in its ability to pressure opposing QB’s and generate turnovers.
Mario Williams is playing like his dominant self and is on pace to break the all-time single season sack record. Rookie LB Kiko Alonso is a front-runner for defensive ROY honors with his uncanny sideline-to-sideline tackling ability, and Buffalo’s secondary has recently gotten a huge boost with the return of Jairus Byrd and Stephon Gilmore.
If only Mike Pettine‘s squad could get some backup from the Bills’ patchwork offense, then this young team could be a force in the AFC East. But with EJ Manuel and CJ Spiller both sidelined for the time being, that doesn’t appear to be happening any time soon.