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Sweet redemption for Bills DBs

Posted Sep 26, 2011


The stat line following Week 2 was an embarrassment as far as the men in Buffalo’s secondary were concerned. They had come very close to allowing Oakland escape with a last second victory and in the process made Jason Campbell look like Tom Brady. And with Brady next on their schedule the men in the Bills defensive backfield had to rally. On Sunday they were Buffalo’s cavalry as their four interceptions led to 24 points for the Bills in their three-point win over New England.

“If you saw us in the meeting room last Monday it was a funeral,” said George Wilson. “Guys had a sour and bitter taste in their mouths. We knew throughout this week in practice and preparing that we had to redeem ourselves and we had to make plays when we got the opportunity to win (Sunday).”

Campbell had thrown for over 320 yards and completed 70 percent of his passes. Brady came into Sunday’s game for New England with 940 yards through the air in just two games and a 72 percent completion percentage.

Head coach Chan Gailey preached being aggressive. ‘Go out and be great’ was his message to his defensive backs. He didn’t believe the secondary needed an overhaul, just more of an attacking style.

Thanks to some timely pass pressure and some heady play by the men on the back end the Bills got Brady to throw four interceptions in a game for just the sixth time in his career, all losses.

“I credit our defense, (they) got four interceptions,” said Gailey. “I mean that just doesn’t happen against New England. That hasn’t happened in I don’t know when. They kept giving us a chance to get ahead in the ball game and finally gave us the go ahead touchdown and then we just kept fighting to come back and win it at the end.”

The first interception came late in the first half. With New England up 21-7 and moving deep into Buffalo territory Brady tried to hit Danny Woodhead in the flat, but it glanced off his hands and Bryan Scott made a diving effort to post the INT.

“It was a formation we had seen earlier in the week, the back to the flat quickly,” Scott said. “I just tried to get there as fast as I could. He kind of bobbled it and I just took it, got down and stayed in bounds.”

Buffalo was able to tack on a field goal and cut the deficit to 21-10 by halftime.

Come quarter number three after a three-and-out on the offense’s first possession, Buffalo’s defense got the ball back on the first play of New England’s subsequent drive.

On 1st-and-10 at the Patriots 43-yard line, Leodis McKelvin was the next to strike on a deep crossing route by Chad Ochocinco.

“I was just getting that route too many times,” said McKelvin. “I just took my chance. Coach told me if they go up underneath you better make that play and it happened. My eyes got big and as soon as I turned my head the ball was right there.”

McKelvin then shot down the far sideline 21 yards to the New England 39. Seven plays later Buffalo had made it a four-point game (21-17).

George Wilson then made the most acrobatic interception of the game as he trailed Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowksi down the seam. Gronkowski to that point had made life miserable for the Bills secondary with seven catches for 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Wilson however, went to school when one of those Gronkowski pass plays was made on him.

“Gronkowski caught a couple in the seam and early in the game I was lined up on him and I forced him with an outside release so I was inside technique and Brady did a good job of putting the ball on him high and behind me so I was running with no vision in coverage,” Wilson explained. “When we got back in the tight red zone area we know that (Brady) loves to target 87. So I played it a little differently.

“I forced (Gronkowski) to go inside so I could have vision on the ball (over my shoulder), and as I was running and looking at him I saw his eyes get big so I knew the ball was coming. I got my head around and was able to throw my hands up and get them on the ball and get the turnover and Ryan and the offense did a great job of converting it into points.”

The Bills extra possession would culminate in a one-yard touchdown run by Fred Jackson to tie the score at 24 with 10:36 left. From there the Bills took their first lead of the game on the next play from scrimmage.

“The tight end was over on my side and we just had a cover-two coverage called,” said Florence. “I jammed my guy and Marcell Dareus got the (deflection) and just playing the defense that was called being in the right place at the right time and obviously we needed a big play in that situation and I was able to take that interception back for a touchdown which was big for us.”

Florence returned the interception 27 yards for the touchdown to make it 31-24 just 12 seconds after the Bills previous scoring play whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

“Tom Brady is a great quarterback and one of the best in this business so for us to go out and get four turnovers and I think we scored off of all of them was very big,” Florence said. “We were down a little early giving up those seam routes to 87, but guys honed in and played the techniques and George came away with one and Leodis came away with one on a dig route. The more we can do that and turn the ball over and get sacks on defense the better we’re going to be at the end of the game.”

“You can’t come back from 21-0 unless your defense does something special and I thought our guys, with the turnovers and what they did obviously gave us a chance in that game to come back and it was such a good team effort,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Buffalo now leads the league in interceptions with six through the first three games, which is more than half of the interceptions the team had all last season (11).

 “Hats go off to our front,” said Jairus Byrd. “They did a good job of getting to (Brady) and getting some pressure. He made a few mistakes, and great play calling by our coaches, It was a whole team effort.  Guys made great plays, and we just won it, so hats go off to everybody.”