76.7 = Buffalo's opponent passer rating
The Bills have made life difficult for opposing quarterbacks all season long. Buffalo's defense has thrived in holding the games of opposing quarterbacks in check to keep the point total low. Indication of that comes in the collective passer rating of the signal callers who have faced the Bills this season.
Buffalo's opponent passer rating of 76.7 ranks second in the NFL. Only New England has a better opponent passer rating with an anemic figure of 57.4. Baltimore is third at 78.5.
Part of the reason the Bills figure has been climbing to the top of the league in recent weeks is their surge in sacks and takeaways. Buffalo has 20 sacks in their last five games, almost half their season total (42). They also have nine takeaways in their last four games good for almost half their total turnovers this season (21).
"We always have the mindset of we have to make a play," said Micah Hyde after Sunday night's win at Pittsburgh that included five turnovers and four more sacks. "Tre' (White) had two big interceptions. (Poyer) had one. Levi (Wallace) had one. (Poyer) had a fumble recovery. Matt (Milano) had a punch out. It's a team effort with guys going after the football. We've practiced it and that's what we'll continue to do."
Even Buffalo's opponent passer rating on the road is good for fourth in the NFL at 79.8. That'll be important come playoff time.
"When you pack up your defense to go on the road, you want to be able to lean on us," said Trent Murphy. "We want our team to count us in that phase and everybody else does their job, we do our job and that's how you want it to work."
2 = Bills defenders with production in these seven different defensive categories
There are a host of talented players on Buffalo's third-ranked defensive unit. Headline players like Tre'Davious White and Micah Hyde. Emerging players like Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano and Jordan Phillips. And then there are unheralded players who fly under the radar even though their production is evident across the board.
There are two such players on Buffalo's defense. Two players who have put a production statistic in every defensive category. In fact, they are the only two players, who in addition to making tackles, have at least one sack, one tackle for loss, one interception, one pass breakup, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery for the Bills this season.
Those two players are Trent Murphy and Jordan Poyer.
Poyer is second only to White in takeaways with five total. Three of them have come on fumble recoveries.
Murphy also has crooked numbers in every defensive statistical category as well with tackles for loss and quarterback hits being his two most productive areas this season.
In Sunday night's win, two of the better all-around defenders for Buffalo poetically combined for a takeaway, with Trent Murphy forcing a fumble late in the first half and Jordan Poyer recovering the loose ball at the Buffalo nine-yard line.
The takeaway came two plays after Buffalo had just turned the ball over on an interception.
"The tackle blocked down and the guard pulled, so basically I'm supposed to hammer the guard and send it back to everybody," said Murphy. "I just try to disrupt the mesh point. They kind of mishandled the snap. They aren't used to doing it, and then I just kind of got a hand in there while he was trying to secure the football. We were able to blow s—t up and get it out."
Poyer then pounced on the loose ball to take points off the board for Pittsburgh. Buffalo's safety also came down with an interception in the end zone when he read Duck Hodges' pass with two minutes left to try to tie the game, again taking points away from the Steelers.
Other numbers to know
1964 – The last time the Bills were 6-1 on the road after their first seven road games.
105 – Tremaine Edmunds total tackles on the season, which eclipsed the century mark for the second straight year. Edmunds is 16 tackles away from his total in 2018 (121).
5 – Number of running backs active for the Steelers on Sunday night.
15 – Number of carries by Steelers running backs against the Bills.
10 – Josh Allen's number of games with at least one passing and one rushing touchdown tying Steve Grogan for the second-most games in a player's first two NFL seasons.
89 – Devin Singletary's total scrimmage yards Sunday night made him the first Bills rookie with five consecutive games with at least 75 yards from scrimmage since Marshawn Lynch in 2007.
27.3 – The rate at which Buffalo's defense sends their opponent 3-and-out, good for second in the NFL.