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Defense turns up the heat

Posted Aug 17, 2013

The Bills D started fast in Buffalo's win over Minnesota

Buffalo’s defense got off to a quick start and didn’t stop until the clock expired.

Jerry Hughes opened the game with a sack on Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder for a seven-yard loss. Hughes finished the game with three tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble.

“Since minicamp, from training camp practice, we’ve been practicing being stingy, everybody flying around to the ball creating havoc,” Hughes said. “So with us practicing like that, it’s great to see us put it on the game film.” 

Head Coach Doug Marrone said he was curious to see what type of player Hughes would be following his game against Indianapolis.        

“(He played) outstanding. One of the things I told him this week was a lot of times people play well against the teams they were on prior to,” Marrone said. “I said it’s going to be interesting this week to see who you are. Are you going to be able to play with the same intensity, play with that same production and he did. He probably had more production.”

Another player with a big defensive effort was Jamie Blatnick, who recovered a botched snap in the end zone for Buffalo’s first touchdown of the game. He said everything happened pretty fast, but the timing worked out just right.       

“I got off the rock, I saw (Bryan) Scott in front of me. I thought ‘Hey man, he’s gonna jump on it, it’s gonna pop out.’ It was timed just right. He jumped on it, quarterback jumped on it, ball popped out and I got on it.”

Even with Mario Williams sitting out, the defensive line brought the pressure, breaking through the Vikings offensive line and rushing the quarterbacks on numerous occasions.

“(We were) putting pressure on them, trying to make it easy for the DBs,” said Dareus. “From the field playing, you don’t really know how close you are, just trying to do the best we can and give all the effort you can.”

Dareus and Marcus Dowtin also had a sack. Jay Ross contributed to the defense’s success with two batted passes. Nigel Bradham and Chris White both finished with three tackles and two assists.

Manny Lawson added two more tackles, including one for a five yard loss after a botched snap went over Ponder’s head.

Mike Pettine’s defense totaled for 44 tackles. Linebacker Nigel Bradham said he likes the intensity of the defense and wants to see it continue into the regular season.

“He definitely is an aggressive play caller, but we like it,” Bradham said. “That’s what we like that as a defense. We’re going to take on his aggressiveness and use it on the field. We’re gonna be physical and compete every play.”

The defense was penalized four times of the team’s fourteen total infractions for 25 yards. Marrone said the defense still has some miscues they have to address, but likes the effort he sees out of them.

Center Eric Wood said the team is developing an attitude and through these two preseason games the defense has stepped up, which helps spark the whole team.

“They’re playing dominant. Our defense has played great. Our twos have played great,” Wood said. “Mike Pettine has done a great job of instilling a great attitude over there.

Hughes, Dareus and Alex Carrington all praised Pettine’s play calling, saying they don’t know if he’s put in all the defensive looks he has. They’re just focusing on doing their jobs.  

“He’s like a Mad Hatter back there,” Hughes said. “He’s creating the plays, we just go out there and execute.”

Bryan Scott said there is an energy among the team that everyone can feel. He added it’s only the preseason, but it’s the foundation of the energy they’ll have for the remainder of the year.

Marrone hopes the identity the defense played with can travel with them throughout the season.

“They made some things happen. I was very happy with the defense. They we’re excellent on third down,” Marrone said. “I think the big thing I look for is adversity. We wound up throwing an interception, the defense comes onto the field and (the Vikings) miss a field goal. I think that’s big because the defense takes the field and the mentality is they’re going to have to earn points.”