Top 3 things we learned from Bills-Bengals

Posted Oct 8, 2017

Buffalo's secondary continue to rack up takeaways, Nick O'Leary fills a void at tight end and Stephen Hauschka hits a career mark.

1 – Secondary still stealing
Buffalo’s opportunistic secondary was at it again on Sunday. A week after getting two interceptions and a fumble return for a touchdown, the Bills defensive backfield got two more interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Micah Hyde made his fourth interception of the season off a tipped Andy Dalton pass in the second quarter. It was his fourth interception in the team’s first five games making him the first Bills defensive back to do that since Henry Jones in 1992.

Buffalo’s offense would capitalize on that turnover with a touchdown drive.

In the second half fellow safety Jordan Poyer came up with a takeaway when he corralled a tipped pass for an interception in the third quarter. Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t make something of the secondary’s second takeaway.

“You want to take advantage of those opportunities,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “That’s what taking the ball away is for. Usually when you take the ball away where it’s 3-0 (at the time) you feel like you’re in pretty good shape. We have to go back and look at the film and evaluate what we did well and what we didn’t do well.”

The offense did make good on Poyer’s second takeaway when he scooped up a fumble by A.J. Green at the Bills 12-yard line and returned it to midfield. The offense put together a field goal drive off the takeaway to score a total of 10 points off turnovers. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough even though the Bills won the takeaway battle by a count of three to one.

“Seventy percent of the time when you’re plus-two in the turnover differential in a road game you win,” said Hyde. “But this was that 30 percent today. That’s why I don’t pay attention to the stats. It doesn’t matter. We had more opportunities to make plays and we just didn’t execute.”

Buffalo entered the game tied for second in turnover margin with a plus-six, trailing only Detroit at plus-nine. Now the Bills are a plus nine themselves thanks in large part to the Bills safeties who have now combined for seven takeaways this season.

2 – O’Leary steps up
The Bills offense lost their leading passing target in the first half to a knee injury. Charles Clay went down after a 24-yard reception and was carted off the field. It left a void in the passing game, but the team’s number two tight end helped to fill the void.

Nick O’Leary led the team with five receptions for 54 yards. It eclipsed his receiving yardage total on the season of 53 yards. It was also the most productive game of his career.

“Nick played his butt off,” said Tyrod Taylor. “He got twisted up on that one play and it was scary from my viewpoint. He battled, he competed and he did what we asked him to do. I’m proud of him. Just as an offense we didn’t get the job done.”

3 – Hauschka hits 200
Stephen Hauschka didn’t have to hit from distance, but he was perfect again on Sunday contributing three field goals in the losing effort. All three of them came from inside 40 yards as the Bills offense went one for three in the red zone.

Hauschka’s first field goal from 31 yards away was the 200th field goal of his career. He’s the 65th NFL kicker to reach 200 made field goals in his career.