One of the oldest sayings in football is turnovers wins games. The Bills defense has struggled mightily getting turnovers this year. Coming into the game against Cincinnati, the Bills ranked last in the NFL in turnovers with eight but that changed in a second half that saw the Bills come away with three turnovers leading to an incredible comeback game at Paul Brown Stadium.
Cornerback Drayton Florence's fumble recovery proved to be the turning point in the game as his return for a touchdown turned the momentum completely in Buffalo's favor.
Through film study in preparation for Cincinnati, the coaching staff saw that Cedric Benson carried the ball loosely, and re-emphasized that fact at halftime.
"In our film study we saw this week we saw the vulnerability and the inconsistency of the ball security with their running backs," said George Wilson. "We all talked about the first guy going in and wrapping up and hold him up and the next two or three guys come in and rip the ball out."
On Cincinnati's second offensive play from scrimmage defensive co-captain Marcus Stroud forced Benson to fumble.
"I saw Marcus Stroud going in and try to knock it out," said Florence. "I thought they were going to blow the whistle as a dead ball, so anytime we see the ball on the ground in practice we scoop and score and that is what I did. I was waiting for the whistle to be blown but they didn't blow it so I went in and got the six."
Florence also made the game-clinching interception at the 2:37 mark in the fourth quarter when the Bills were up by 11.
After the success of last season when the Bills were tied for second in the league in takeaways with 28, Florence was glad they could finally turn a game around on defense, knowing it's been a struggle to force turnovers this season.
"They come in bunches," said Florence. "We got four or five (interceptions) now and this is the first week that a DB has got one. George Wilson had one in the end zone and I was able to get one late which was able to close them out. It is good to get interceptions, but it is better to get the 'W'."
Wilson also contributed, getting a key interception when the Bengals were at the Buffalo five-yard line returning the Carson Palmer pass 56 yards.
Wilson admitted that missed opportunities for takeaways had become frustrating through the course of the season. To be part of a big takeaway day defensively Sunday was rewarding.
"I definitely enjoyed it," said Wilson, who now has seven career interceptions. "A couple weeks ago against Kansas City I let one go right through my hands and that was something that has haunted me in my sleep. I let a big opportunity go for us that day that could have really helped us win that ball game."
After missing a tackle earlier on the drive, Wilson was determined to make a play and stop the Bengals from scoring.
"We had a chance to get off the field," said Wilson. "Earlier on that drive I missed a tackle on the slant on Chad (Ochocinco) and I knew I had to make a play to try to keep points off the board… I saw Carson (Palmer) looking outside and I jumped it and caught it deep in the end zone. I saw nobody out in front of me and I just wished I would have cut back on Carson and took it into the end zone."
The three turnovers, which all took place after halftime, helped the Bills shut out the Bengals in the second half and were instrumental in the team's ability to make a historic comeback. The Bills became the first team in NFL history to win a game by 18 or more points after trailing by 17 or more points at halftime.
And provided the takeaways become more frequent, George Wilson and the rest of the Bills defensive backs will be sleeping a lot easier.