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Alonso's big play game days continue

Posted Sep 30, 2013

Few on the roster have come up with big plays as frequently as rookie LB Kiko Alonso.

With his eyes locked onto those of the quarterback, Kiko Alonso shuffled right to neutralize a potential threat. Reading a change in his target, he quickly reversed gears. With a few quick steps to the left, he found a ball in his hands and began to run.

That was the first of two interceptions against the Ravens for the rookie linebacker. The latter of which preserved the 23-20 win with one minute left on the clock in the fourth quarter after he snatched the ball out of the air on a 3rd-and-long throw from Joe Flacco at Buffalo’s 36-yard line.

“I was just looking at his eyes. The ball was in the air, I just grabbed it,” Alonso said.

The win against the defending Super Bowl champions brings Buffalo to 2-2. The prospect of the win validated the team’s work, including the five interceptions the defense netted.

“I think we proved that we’ve got a great offense and a great defense, and we’ve got a lot of playmakers that make plays,” Alonso said.

Few on the roster have come up with big plays as frequently as Alonso. In fact with four interceptions on the season Alonso leads the league. He has a takeaway in every games so far this season.

Alonso was again a central playmaker Sunday, adding two tackles and three assists, along with several pressure plays on Flacco to force unsuccessful throws. His work on the day found him trending on Twitter at the game’s close, and earning acclamation from statisticians and coaches.

“It’s something obviously we’re very happy with, we’re very proud of,” head coach Doug Marrone said. “You see a player that’s getting a better feel each week, getting better each week. He’s playing very well, at a high level.”

Bills defenders left the field saying defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s philosophy on the week -- do not relent -- contributed to the pick-laden day. 

“You have to keep playing until the clock reads 0:00,” strong safety Aaron Williams, who played again as a cornerback for the injured Leodis McKelvin, said. “When we have momentum going our way, the sky is the limit as long as we do our responsibilities. When we get off the field on third down and give the ball to our offense, there’s no reason why we should lose.”

Williams had two interceptions on the day to match Alonso, and Jim Leonhard added one more. The defense held Baltimore to a 19 percent third down efficiency. It was a vast improvement after allowing an unfathomable 52 percent success rate on 3rd-and-long situations through the first three games, including a handful against the Jets.

“As far as that game, we’re being more physical with the receivers,” Williams said. “We really emphasize putting our hands on the receivers because last week we really didn’t do a good job of covering our receivers. We let them off the line real easily.”

The injury riddled defense exemplified its capacity to improve. Justin Rogers had six tackles, two assists and even a pass defense, responding to his shortcomings from the week prior.

“Obviously we’ve had our share of adversity in that room and I think we’ve proven through four weeks that we have a room full of guys on the back end that will fight, week-in and week-out, whatever happens, whether we’re giving up big plays, or we’re making them,” veteran defensive back Leonhard said. “I think we’ve proven that we have a group that’s going to go out and fight for 60 minutes and let the chips fall where they may at the end of the day.”

To Alonso, it wasn’t the defense or the offense, the veterans or the rookies who stood out.

“It was a team effort,” Alonso told Buffalobills.com. “We’re just trying our hardest. We’re just all trying to make plays and help the team win.”

But with five takeaways in four games Alonso is becoming more and more difficult for the league to overlook.