There is statistical evidence in the NFL that if your team wins the turnover battle, you will more often than not win the game. Buffalo's Week 8 matchup with the Jets at MetLife Stadium may be the best example this season where that premise held true.
The Bills forced six turnovers on the day (four interceptions and two fumble recoveries) for a game-differential of 6 and season-differential of 7.
Half of those takeaways came early in the game for Buffalo – facing New York QB Geno Smith. The Jets signal caller has been in the hot-seat of late, and the Bills made sure he stayed there.
"That's something we wanted to focus on during the game," said DE Jerry Hughes. "We wanted to find ways to force turnovers. That's what we focused on during the offseason for us to put that together against a divisional opponent is huge. We can kind of start to build some momentum and start putting wins together. No more one and out, one and out—kind of just really get on a roll."
New York opened the game with a three-and-out drive and then suffered interceptions to three separate Bills players on the next three drives.
The easy diagnosis for these mistakes falls on the shoulders of Smith, but safety Aaron Williams gave all the credit to the Bills defensive front.
"When you've got the best D-line in the league it gives the secondary a chance to make plays like that," he said. "It's hard for the quarterback to read his reads when he's too worried about getting sacked. That makes it easy for us."
Veteran QB Michael Vick showed some promise in replacing Smith in the lineup as he helped the Jets score 23 points. But with two fumbles and an interception owed to him (in addition to two more fumbles that New York recovered) the game would be all Buffalo's.
According to LB Nigel Bradham, who finished the game with 11 tackles, 10 of them solo, one pass defended and one QB hit, the Bills were not expecting to see Vick under center and that may be why he was able to bring some productivity for New York. Vick brought a lot of different looks, he said, that the defense hadn't prepared for but thanks to the turnovers early in the game, they were able to hang on.
Heading into this game the Bills had a season turnover margin of 1 and had been -5 over Weeks 6 and 7. It is good for Buffalo to get back on the positive side of the battle – the team takes it as a sign that the hard work is paying off.
"I feel like we're doing pretty good," Aaron Williams said. "We have a high standard for ourselves as a defense. We're trying to do a lot better than we did last year. We were a top ten defense last year. So we put a lot of pressure on ourselves and put a lot of pressure on our D-line, our secondary, and our backers. Just do your job, and not do anything more."
Following the bye week, Buffalo faces Kansas City at home in Week 10, and then travel to South Beach to take on the Dolphins for a Thursday Night Game in Week 11.
"We've got to keep it going," Bradham said. "We've got a bye week. We'll be pretty much just working on everything we need to work on. Come back and we got two tough teams we have to play in a short week coming back. We've got to come back ready and come back hot."
Here are some other facts on the day for Buffalo and their takeaways:
- Six takeaways are the most by Buffalo since at New York Jets' on October 18, 2009.
- This is the first time the Bills have had a 6 differential since December 5, 2004 at Miami (seven takeaways, one turnover).
- Four takeaways in the first half is the most for one half since December 13, 2009 at Kansas City.
- 6 differential is tied for second most in team history, behind 9 at Denver on November, 19, 1961.
- The Bills became the first team with three takeaways from two quarterbacks in one game since New Orleans at Arizona on December 22, 1991.
- The four interceptions are the most by Buffalo since last year against Baltimore when the team grabbed five.
- Three interceptions in the first quarter made them the first team to do so since Arizona at Atlanta on November 18, 2012.
Photos of Bills pass rushers sacking and pressuring opposing QBs during the 2014 season.