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Bills DBs riding high, but Denver up next

Everybody knows the Bills run defense is having a remarkable season. So much so that other teams are modifying their game plan to accommodate the disruption caused by Buffalo's front four.

But how about some love for the secondary?

After Buffalo's win over Cleveland on Sunday, it now sits in second with 25 takeaways behind Houston and tied for fourth in interceptions with 15.

The latter half of the season has also seen a spike in the secondary's productivity when it comes to limiting the opponent's passing game.

In four of their last six games played, Buffalo has held the opposing quarterback to under 200 yards passing (one of the two games over that mark was Miami with 205 yards in Week 11). A stark contrast to the first six games when each opposing QB passed for over 200 yards.

Before the Vikings game, Buffalo ranked 26th pass defense (269.2); following Sunday's game, the team is fifth in that same category.

The answer to the improvement: communication.

"That's been the most important part with us," DB Nickell Robey. "It's starting to come along now. It's starting to show up and pay off. We work so hard on it early on in the season, trying to be as efficient as possible on the back end making sure nothing slips out. Now it's showing up in the back end and we're proud of ourselves. Give ourselves a pat on the back. We just have to keep it going and be consistent."

"In the beginning of the year, we had a couple new fresh faces in the secondary that we had to work with. So we had to get used to working with each other," said safety Da'Norris Searcy, who had a career game against the Browns nabbing two interceptions in his first multi-interception game, added. "And now that we've been together for 12 games, we know how each other plays so now we just feed off each other. We know where each other is going to be so it makes it easier on the back end. Everybody is holding each other accountable and we're all out here getting the job done."

The DBs recognize, however, that the strength of the front four makes their job easier. With the pressure the tackles and ends create, they know passes are hurried and less accurate, which creates opportunities to make plays on the ball.

The improved depth of Buffalo's secondary has also been a factor in maintaining consistency. When CB Leodis McKelvin was declared out for the remainder of the year with a fractured ankle, some wondered if the play in the defensive backfield might be compromised. McKelvin left the lineup as the team's interception leader with four, a single-season career high. Losing a starter is never good, but the unit believes they possess the depth of talent where they won't miss a beat.

"We feel confident in the guys behind us to go out there and make plays," said safety Aaron Williams. "That's what's great about this group: when one person goes down, we have guys to back up and fill that hole."

The Bills will need that ability for everyone to step up in this week's matchup against the Denver Broncos.

QB Peyton Manning and his receivers are some of the best the league has to offer. Together they are first in touchdowns (36), second in passing yards per game (304), and Manning has the second-highest passer rating (106.9).

Individually, Manning has the third-most passing yards this year while WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are second and fourth, respectively, in the league for receiving yards. The two receivers are also tied for second in the league for 20 yard receptions (19).

But stats like these don't bother the Bills, especially Aaron Williams.

Last week at the prospect of facing Browns WR Josh Gordon, he said: "Easy. I go against Sammy [Watkins] every day. That's straight up. I feel like our receivers are better than theirs."

And the game against Cleveland, no Browns receiver had a touchdown catch for the second consecutive week – the only touchdown came at the end of the fourth quarter on a QB run.

The most notable thing about the secondary is their calm, but assured demeanor. That's what happens when a team has an unstoppable front four and the players are as confident as Buffalo's.

"We're not stressing ourselves over making plays," Aaron Williams said. "We let things come to us now."

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