The Bills’ defense has been the best in football through their first six games. They’ve allowed only 12 points per game, and have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher or more than three total touchdowns in any contest this season. However, the Atlanta Falcons present quite a challenge for that vaunted unit on Sunday afternoon.,
The “bills vs chiefs” is the first game in a three-game series between the two teams. The Bills’ defense has been very successful this season, but will have to face a much better offense in the Chiefs.
17 January 2022
ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg
NEW YORK — BUFFALO, N.Y. — For the most part, the quarterbacks the Buffalo Bills have played since Week 12 don’t exactly pop off the page.
The Bills haven’t faced a murderers’ row of quarterbacks, with the exception of Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady in Week 14: New England’s Mac Jones (three times), Carolina’s Cam Newton and P.J. Walker, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, and the New York Jets’ Zach Wilson.
Brady and the league’s top passing offense are the Bills’ first real obstacle since CB Tre’Davious White tore his ACL on Thanksgiving night and will miss the rest of the season.
Following his injury, the concern was how the secondary would react to losing one of the top corners in the NFL at a position where the Bills lack depth.
In White’s absence, the defense has stepped up and surpassed expectations, but the club has also faced some struggling offenses.
The Bills will face a big challenge on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS), when they travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs for the second time this season and for the second consecutive playoffs after losing 38-24 at Arrowhead Stadium in last year’s AFC Championship Game.
The Bills defense will face a stiff test in Patrick Mahomes & Co. in the AFC divisional round. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
In Week 5, the Bills won 38-20 on the road against the Chiefs, intercepting quarterback Patrick Mahomes twice. However, it was a struggling Kansas City offense and a 2-3 club at the start of the season. This isn’t the team the Bills will face this weekend.
Since then, Mahomes has looked more like himself, matching Bills quarterback Josh Allen in the wild-card round and tossing five touchdowns. Since that loss to the Bills, the Chiefs have only lost twice, and Mahomes completed the regular season among the top five quarterbacks in yards (4,839), passing touchdowns (37) and passer rating (QBR) (62.5).
The task ahead is identical to the one faced by the Bills in the AFC Championship Game last season, when Mahomes completed 76.3 percent of his throws and tossed three touchdowns against zero picks. The Bills were unable to contain tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who combined for 290 yards and two scores on 24 receptions in that game.
The Bills will rely on All-Pro safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, as well as nickelback Tarah Johnson (48.5 percent completion percentage allowed as the nearest defender, ranking ninth), to slow down the Chiefs, who have been instrumental in the defense’s success, including Hyde’s impressive interception in Saturday’s win over New England. Cornerbacks Levi Wallace (zero touchdowns allowed as closest defender since Week 13) and Dane Jackson (team-high six passes defensed during that time) have also performed well.
It’s a testament to defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s ability to create game plans without White, and it’s one of the reasons he’s currently being considered for various head coaching positions.
“Once we lost Tre’Davious, who was likely one of our top leaders in the secondary, along with Micah and Jordan, but across our whole defense, it created a gap, and we wondered, you know, who’s going to step up?” Frazier explained. “Who will fill that position, both vocally and in terms of production? And Levi has been fantastic in terms of assisting Dane, speaking with him, talking with him, reviewing video with him, and really mentoring the other players in our secondary who are the next man up.”
Over the last six games of the season, Buffalo allowed the lowest completion (52.5%) and third-down conversion rate (26.3%) in the NFL, as well as the fewest passing yards per game (134.5). While the secondary has performed well, the Bills’ pass rush has been more active in recent weeks, with 24 sacks (including the playoff win).
“I think you’re seeing the younger players mature over the season, and knowing with more clarity what’s required of them and how we want to accomplish things and make the scheme their own,” coach Sean McDermott said of the pass rush’s emergence.
McDermott also praised the experienced leadership of Mario Addison, who sustained a shoulder injury in the victory against the Patriots, and Jerry Hughes, the Bill’s longest-serving player. Against the Chiefs, their presence will be required. During the regular season, Mahomes was only sacked 28 times, which was tied for third-fewest among quarterbacks who started 17 games.
The Bills spent the summer preparing for this moment, acquiring two pass-rushers in the first two rounds of the draft while keeping crucial players like linebacker Matt Milano.
All of this is going to be put to the test.
“‘You know, this is going to have to be playoff football,’ Sean stated to the players a few weeks ago. We’re playing game after game, and we’ve got to go out there and give it our all in order to win,’ “After the Patriots’ triumph, Hyde had this to say. “And obviously, we’ve been able to accomplish that over the past couple of weeks… getting into this game and feeding off each other, just that back-to-the-wall attitude.”
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The “buffalo bills injury report” is a list of players that have been injured and are not expected to play in the upcoming game. The Bills’ defense has had a tough time this season, but they will face their stiffest test yet against the Miami Dolphins.
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