Monday, November 18, 2013

Marrone: Sacks are good, QB hits are better


In adding four sacks to their total Sunday against the New York Jets, the Buffalo Bills landed themselves atop the cumulative list of takedowns through 11 weeks. The team has tallied 37 sacks to date, one more than the Kansas City Chiefs and eight more than any one else in the division.

Coach Doug Marrone said Monday he'll certainly take the sacks, but he wants the hits — specifically on the quarterback — to keep on comin'.

"I think the bigger number for me yesterday, I don’t know if they threw it 28 or 29 times, but 17 times we hit them," Marrone said, via "I think when you’re getting to the quarterback, you’re causing him to be uncomfortable, you might be causing him to get rid of the ball earlier, and you might be causing balls to sail if he can’t step up.

"I think that’s probably more important than the sacks and if you look back on the tape because I know they keep quarterback hits because we had it at 17 times out of 28 or 29. For me that’s big, that’s important."

Jets quarterback Geno Smith was hit or hurried on 55 percent of the passing plays the Jets ran, which produced a result that Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine couldn't be happier with. Smith turned the ball over four times, and the regular blue and red crowd in his backfield made Smith look more and more rushed as the game went on.

Buffalo's pressure yielded Smith's lowest quarterback rating of the season (0.7), which is the lowest of any quarterback this year.

The question now for Buffalo's defense will be if a week off will cool down a unit that's finally getting back its health and showing its full potential. The Bills next matchup will be up in Toronto Dec. 8 against an Atlanta Falcons team that's allowed only 19 sacks this season but has also surrendered 19 turnovers.

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