BY DAN BEGNOCHE
After a week's vacation from a season's worth of criticism, the Buffalo Bills' rush defense is back under the microscope. And for good reason.
The squad headed back to work on Monday following its bye week, preparing for one of the league's most explosive runners, Houston Texans' running back Arian Foster, along with a very potent backup Ben Tate. And they're expecting them in bunches.
“I would imagine we'll see a lot of them,” linebacker Kyle Williams told reporters Monday. “Whatever you seem to be having trouble with as a team you seem to find. You're gonna always seem to find it until you can stop it.”
Stopping it has been the No. 1 problem. Buffalo's defense is allowing a league-worst 177 yards per game on the ground, along with the most rushing touchdowns (13) and the most 20-plus-yard rushes (12). Conversely, Foster is fifth in the league in rushing yards with 659, and he leads the league in rushing touchdowns with nine.
And though Tate is only averaging about 25 percent of the touches of Foster, he's making the most of those opportunities, tallying 4.1 yards a carry with two touchdowns of his own.
While injuries to Mark Anderson and Mario Williams haven't made the defense's situation any easier, the glaring mistakes in terms of missed assignments and tackles are something that have really hindered the group's success, something defensive end Chris Kelsay said they've learned from and moved past.
“There’s nothing we can do about it now other than take care of business from this point forward,” Kelsay told the media Monday. “We have to learn from the past, which I think we have, and prepare for what lies ahead and we’re doing everything we can to do that.”
The Texans, Patriots and Dolphins, the Bills' next three opponents, are ranked sixth, fifth and 11th in rushing yards per game, respectfully, and have combined for 33 rushing touchdowns.
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