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Bills Today: A five pack of sacks


Here's the Bills news of note for December 19th.

1 - Five pack of sacks
Buffalo's pass rush broke out of a two-game sackless streak and wreaked havoc on Robert Griffin III all afternoon.

The Bills were still tied for fifth in sacks coming into the game, but a big reason that their defense struggled the past two games was the inability to get to the quarterback.

Kyle Williams' return from a back injury that sidelined him last week helped to open things up for the front seven.

"You don't replace a guy like that," Rex Ryan said. "I remember last year when we had him for like five games and that was pretty much it and then he went down it's like, 'Oh man.' The great ones, you notice when they're gone and certainly we missed him last week but we're happy we got him now."

With his 1.5 sacks on the day, the 11-year veteran now has 40.5 for his career, continuing to add to his  franchise record for most sacks by a defensive tackle in Bills history.

The Bills had five total sacks in the game, in addition to five quarterback hits. Lorenzo Alexander added to his team lead with 1.5 sacks, and Jerry Hughes and Zach Brown had a sack each.

The sacks were the first for Alexander, Brown and Hughes since Week 9 against the Seahawks.

Hughes said that his teammates on the back end did a great job in coverage, forcing Griffin to stand in the pocket longer than he wanted to.

"Our secondary did a fantastic job just taking away the first read, playing real tight coverage and making the QB hold the ball," Hughes said. "Anytime the QB holds the ball, we're going to get there."

2 - Finding a way to ClayOne of the added benefits of LeSean McCoy having a monster game on the ground was how much it opened things up the passing game, and particularly for Charles Clay.

Clay was all over the field on Sunday, hauling in seven catches for 72 yards--including a 19-yard touchdown grab near the end of the first half.

Clay's seven receptions were his most since Week 6 of last season, and he now has touchdown catches in consecutive weeks for the first time since Week 2 and 3 of last season.

McCoy's success forced the Browns to bring bigger players on the field to try and stuff him before he got to the second level of the defense. With the bigger personnel, it allowed Clay to be matched up with linebackers, exactly what the Bills wanted.

"We were watching the film, he could win the matchups versus the safeties and linebackers," Tyrod Taylor said. "Our 'tiger' personnel definitely forced their safeties and their linebackers to stay on the field because we run it out of that formation too."

Clay's touchdown grab came after he broke free from the linebacker that was covering him, and ended up wide open in the end zone.

"(The running game) opens everything up," Clay said. "You have to start loading the box for it. We get our one-on-ones on the outside, guys like Sammy (Watkins) Marquise (Goodwin), Woody (Robert Woods), you get your one-on-ones and then all you have to do is take advantage of it."

Clay was satisfied with his production after the game, but was happier that he could help lead the Bills to a victory for the first time in three games.

"I really don't worry too much about the numbers," Clay said. "I go out there and play as hard as I can and let the chips fall where they may at the end of the day. The biggest thing was being able to make some plays for the team and put us in a position to win the game."                                                                               

3 - Double dose of Tate
Even Brandon Tate was able to get in on the success of the rushing attack on Sunday.

In the first quarter, Tate took an end around 30 yards on a direct snap to Mike Gillislee and put Buffalo inside Cleveland's 10-yard line. Gillislee would score Buffalo's first touchdown two plays later.

Tate's run was Buffalo's longest offensive play of the afternoon, and the longest run on offense of the return man's eight-year career.

Although Tate has gotten less snaps on offense the last two weeks with the return of Watkins and Woods, he has continued to be dominant on special teams.

He averaged 11 yards on four punt returns Sunday, including a 29-yard return in the fourth quarter to set the Bills up at the Browns' 30-yard line. The Bills drove the ball all the way down to Cleveland's one-yard line on that possession. Tate also averaged 20 yards on three kickoff returns, and added a tackle, as well. 

Tate is averaging 11 yards per punt return this season, the highest average of his career.

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