One of the many wrinkles Buffalo rolled out coming off their bye against San Diego Sunday was a different safety look. Instead of having Donte Whitner roaming near the line of scrimmage, Bryan Scott was lined up on the strong side with Whitner in centerfield. The main reason for the lineup switch, was tight end Antonio Gates.
"It's so hard to slow down Antonio Gates," said head coach Dick Jauron. "Bryan is a big, physical safety and we though we could just grind on him and pound on him a little bit because he's very, very difficult to cover with a linebacker or a secondary player."
"Antonio is a physical guy," said Scott. "His game really consists of getting his hands on whoever is on him and not doing anything illegal, but just giving you that extra little bump to create separation and the coaches wanted to eliminate that this week."
So Scott got his hands on Gates in an effort to throw the timing off between the tight end and San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers in the pass game. The results on the whole were effective as Gates was held to a rather pedestrian four receptions for 55 yards with the longest going for 19 yards.
But Scott's ability to mash with the tight end also served another purpose.
"We knew that they would run a lot of Power 'O's, a lot of bounces and to Bryan's side," said Whitner. "So you want a guy that up there that's 225 pounds that can keep his hands on the tight end and force the ball back inside. Bryan did a great job of doing that and I just played the middle of the field making sure nobody came across the middle out there and they didn't test me."
But they did test Scott. On a 2nd-and12 from the Bills 12-yard line the Chargers came out with a formation that left Gates isolated one-on-one outside with Scott. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers liked his odds.
"They're thinking they're going to Gates," said Whitner. "They feel like he can beat anybody whether it's a corner, safety, linebackers and Bryan did a good job. He's 225 pounds so the guy couldn't really push off of him."
The result was an incomplete pass.
"I was a corner in college so it goes back to those corner days," said Scott of the play. "It's not my first time competing against Antonio. He's a hell of a player. My mindset was re-route him and get a hand on him and I don't think he's faster than I am. So if I could just stay with him in his pocket hopefully long enough, the rush will get there."
For Scott, who hasn't seen a ton of time defensively in his two seasons with Buffalo, his job Sunday was a welcome assignment from defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.
"You're thankful for the opportunity and any time they call your number you have to be ready to go," Scott said. "I was hoping I'd have an opportunity and the opportunity presented itself this week."