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Defensive playmakers step forward

Posted Nov 26, 2012

Another strong defensive effort by the Bills was all for naught in Indianapolis Sunday, as they were sent home with a 20-13 loss.

The Bills held Indianapolis to 312 total yards of offense and just 13 points. The other seven came off a punt returned 75 yards for a touchdown by T.Y. Hilton. Buffalo’s front four had another impressive effort holding the Colts to 87 yards rushing and registering four sacks.

Defensive end Mario Williams had one of his most impressive performances since becoming a Bill this past summer, with Buffalo's last top two draft choices playing supporting roles.

On consecutive plays from the Buffalo 47 late in the first quarter, Williams pressured Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck to throw an incompletion on 2nd and 10 and then sacked him for a three-yard loss on the next play. The Bills’ marquee free agent acquisition finished the game with three sacks, giving him eight and half on the season.

Williams admitted his confidence has really boosted since repairing his wrist. He has five sacks in the four games since his surgery.

“I said this week that the biggest thing for me is my morale and feeling better, and that helped me tremendously,” Williams said. “I just want to go out and play ball   and try to help us win.”

Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and cornerback Stephon Gilmore, both former first round draft choices, also helped bolster a Bills defense that was ranked 25th in the league coming into the game, averaging 387.4 yards allowed per game.

Dareus tied his season highs with five tackles and one sack while consistently providing a big push in the trenches. After Buffalo scored to pull within seven in the fourth quarter, Dareus made an impressive tackle on Luck as he tried to escape the pocket on the first play of the Colts ensuing possession. Two plays later Willams registered his third sack of the game on 3rd and 2 forcing the Colts to punt and give the Bills a shot to tie the game.

Dareus said although he played well, he’d trade his statistics for a victory.

“I think I did pretty OK,” Dareus said. “But what I did up front really didn’t mean nothing.  I contributed to the team stats or whatever, but without the W it really didn’t mean much to me.”

Linebacker Nick Barnett praised the teams’ defensive line for pressuring Luck all game.        

“They did an awesome job rushing the quarterback,” Barnett said. “Our guys up front and a couple of guys we got him on the move and kept him on the move. We let him get out of the pocket once or twice on some key plays and we have to fix those, but I’m very proud of our front and the way they rushed the quarterback. We’ve just got to continue to do much more of it.”

Gilmore finished the game with six tackles, to tie for the team lead, with one forced fumble and two passes defended. Gilmore made a game-altering tackle seconds before the half. On the Buffalo three-yard line, Luck fired a pass to Wayne on the right side, but Gilmore took him down at the 1, before he could reach for the end zone.

Wayne finished the game with eight catches for 102 yards, but was held without a touchdown for the third consecutive game. Gilmore said he played aggressively during the game, but the defense needed to get more stops of third downs as the Colts went 8-for-16.

“They got us a couple of times,” Gilmore said. “We have to shut it down on third downs and try to get off the field. There are plays to be made out there on third down, and we just didn’t make them.”