Sunday, September 8, 2013

Searcy proves his worth in Byrd's absence


A Week 1 loss isn't anyone's idea of a great start to the season.

The Buffalo Bills have a few positives they can take away from Sunday's 23-21 loss to the Patriots, however, namely the play of strong safety Da'Norris Searcy.

"He’s a great player," fellow defensive back Jim Leonhard told reporters after the game. "He’s very confident and goes out there and plays hard, plays fast, and I think you saw that today."

Searcy, getting the start and filling the shoes of the injured and absent Jairus Byrd, put together an impressive performance against New England's offensive unit. The 24-year-old tallied nine total tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery that turned into a 74-yard score. 

The touchdown was the first of Searcy's career, and he made the most of it by jumping into the stands in the back of the end zone. 

But the way the former Tarheel described the long run after the game, it's surprising he made it past the goal line at all.

"I was about to stop and start walking, but I didn’t want anyone to jump on my back or try to strip the ball from me," Searcy joked with reporters about the final 20 yards of his sprint. "It seemed like forever. It felt like the farther I ran the farther back it was moving away from me. That’s why I started looking around to see if somebody was behind me. 

"I just put my head down and kept running."

While Searcy's play Sunday won't completely bump Byrd from the starting lineup when he returns from his foot injury, it's a great sign for defensive coordinator Mike Pettine going forward. Having two reliable defensive backs (and veteran Jim Leonhard) holding down the back end of his high-pressure schematic will be key, especially if one ends up bailing as the trade deadline nears.

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