Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bills' defense keeping big plays to a minimum


Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was brought in largely because of his history of effectively stopping the run. So far, he's living up to the reputation.

Two weeks in, the Bills defense has held opposing rushers to under 100 total yards in each game, giving up an average of 83 yards per matchup.

That good enough for fifth-best in the league thus far, and it's been the cornerstone of the unit's success, according to cornerback Leodis McKelvin.

"When you stop the run everything starts to be easier," he said via buffalobills.com Monday. "If you stop the run you make guys be one-dimensional. We love to make plays. We love to have the game is our hands, especially as a defensive back.

"Once you stop the run you feel like we’re talented enough to go out there and get the job done and win the game."

That's a sentiment linebacker Nigel Bradham shares, calling the McKelvin and the secondary's performance "tremendous" thus far. While the group has given up 65 receptions (league high) and nearly 300 yards through the air on average (seventh-most), they've kept the majority of passing plays in front of them. 

Receptions against the unit have averaged only nine yards a catch, a game plan similar to what the run-stopping squad is trying to accomplish.

"For the main part, we don’t want to give up any run over 10 yards," Bradham said. "When you get an opportunity like this, we just come out here and we execute. We know we all have to stay disciplined and stay in our gaps and we all just have to trust each other to do our job."

In 2013, Buffalo gave up 19 rushes of 20 yards or more, a league high, and 14 passes of 40 yards or more, fifth-most in the league. 

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