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2nd act for Bills run 'D' just as imposing

Posted Sep 14, 2011

Coming off a 41-7 whipping of the league’s number one rushing offense in Week 1, Buffalo’s run defenders had to feel good about their debut performance, which included holding Pro Bowl back Jamaal Charles to just 56 yards on the ground. The task of stopping the run gets no easier this Sunday however, with the number two-ranked rushing team from a season ago coming to Ralph Wilson Stadium this weekend.

The Oakland Raiders had a mere 133 fewer rushing yards than the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010 as they rolled up almost 2,500 yards on the ground last season (2,494) including five games in which they rushed for over 200 yards.

Perhaps more noteworthy, the Raiders average more yards per carry than the Chiefs, with a 4.9 average as a team for last year. That was good for second in the league as well behind Philadelphia’s league-leading 5.4 average thanks in large part to Michael Vick’s scrambling.

Not much changed on Monday night for the Raiders as they rushed for 190 yards on 39 carries and averaged 4.9 yards per carry. In fact Oakland rushed for 85 more yards than they passed (105).

Employing a blocking scheme similar to Kansas City, Kyle Williams knows Oakland presents very similar problems to those of the Chiefs.

“This week is a big challenge for us,” he said. “It’s another team that was high up on the rushing charts. Good running back, solid offensive line and they run the same type of scheme, that zone scheme. We’ve got to get ready for it and pay attention to the details in our fits this week in practice.”

Buffalo’s defenders believe Oakland’s rushing attack does have some parallels to Kansas City’s run game. They have a true speed back in Darren McFadden much like the Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles, but there’s a key difference with the Raiders’ one-two punch of McFadden and Michael Bush.

“They’re similar in terms of their big play ability this week, but we’re facing bigger backs,” said Shawne Merriman. “These guys can run and you’ve really got to make sure you get them on the ground.”

While the two backs that carried the ball the most for the Chiefs in Charles and Dexter McCluster are both under six feet and 200 pounds, the story is a bit different with Oakland’s McFadden and Bush. McFadden is 6’2” and 210 pounds with Bush a solid 6’1” and 245 pounds.

So although the Raiders will work to get McFadden to the edge to employ his 4.35 speed, Oakland will also take a more direct approach and plow straight ahead.

“They’re going to look to get downhill,” said Merriman. “They do that because of the size of their offensive line and the size of their backs. So they want to get downhill and pound a little bit. They have the same type of speed that we saw out of KC, but they’re bigger backs. We’ve got to get a lot of guys to the ball because these guys stay up.”

Facing Denver on Monday night McFadden put his big play ability on display averaging almost seven yards per carry (6.8). Four of his carries went for 10 yards or more including a pair of 20-yarders and a 47-yard run that set up a touchdown in Oakland’s three-point win.

Bush then helped close out the game getting some key first downs at the end to run out the clock with the Raiders ahead on the scoreboard, but there have been times when he’s been utilized more.

“They blend their speed with the power more (than Kansas City) because they use Bush more than the Chiefs use Thomas Jones,” said Jairus Byrd.

After their big win last Sunday the Bills are still far from being overconfident, and after Oakland’s Monday night performance it will be easy for Buffalo’s run defenders to focus on their next assignment.

“All you’ve got to do is turn on the film and watch McFadden run the ball,” said Williams. “If you’re not in the right spot and he hits a crease he can take it the whole way.”

“It’s going to be a similar thing this week,” said Danny Batten. “We know we’ve got to stop the run. That’s the biggest concern. They have great backs just like Kansas City did. A little different style, but it’s boiling down to the same thing, stopping the run.”