1 – Dareus trade leaves starting DT job open
With Marcell Dareus now on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster following the Friday evening trade, Buffalo's defensive tackle contingent has a starting role up for grabs. Even though Dareus did not get the bulk of the playing time, he started three of the team's first six games at defensive tackle alongside Kyle Williams.
Cedric Thornton got two of the other three starts against Denver and Atlanta. Adolphus Washington got the starting nod at Cincinnati. But Thornton was inactive this past week against Tampa Bay. And in the game against the Buccaneers, after Williams' 45 snaps and Dareus' 41 snaps, the defensive tackle to get the most playing time was Jerel Worthy with 29. Washington saw 27 snaps.
With one fewer defensive tackle it's more likely that all four defensive tackles will be active. No matter who gets the starting assignment next to Williams on Sunday, the heavy rotation should give all the defensive tackles ample time on the field to make a case to start on a regular basis.
2 - Taylor receiving recognition this season
Bills quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, is putting together a solid season. Last week he posted a season-high 268 passing yards and proved he can command a comeback. Taylor's well known for what he can do with his legs, but possibly his best quality is his mistake-free football. All this contributes to the Bills QB being ranked alongside the best in the game.
NFL.com does a weekly index where they rank the top-15 QBs in the NFL. Around The NFL Editor, Greg Rosenthal, had Taylor in the middle of the pack at seventh. His top-seven were: Tom Brady, Alex Smith, Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, Dak Prescott, and Taylor. Here's what Rosenthal had on the Bills signal-caller.
Taylor's the perfect quarterback for this talent-starved Bills offense. On third-and-10, Taylor runs for 26 yards. On third-and-14, he hits a pass rusher with a crossover step that Allen Iverson would be jealous of before tossing a 32-yard gainer to Nick O'Leary. Given more than three minutes to tie a game late, Taylor has a 44-yard, drive-starting bomb to recent pickup Deonte Thompson. This fuels a touchdown drive that takes less than a minute, setting up another comeback victory for Buffalo.
Taylor makes minimal mistakes while running the offense. He has gone 33 straight games without throwing multiple interceptions. That ranks as the longest streak in the league by 10 games. He didn't have a single turnover last week against Tampa Bay en route to their comeback.
"I think one of the most important ones was finishing the game. We've been in situations where those games haven't been particularly a win, and some of that's on me," Taylor said. "I think I took a step, I think we a step as offense to be able to go out there and finish those games. [There's] definitely some things that we can clean up… but it was close and we were able to focus and pull out a win."
3 - Alexander dominant in defending runs and passes**
Buffalo's 11-year veteran, Lorenzo Alexander, has shown this season that age is just a number. The 34-year-old has been a force on the Bills defense. He has had positive contributions in stopping teams on the ground and in the air.
According to Pro Football Focus, Alexander ranks fifth this season among edge defenders in highest run stop percentage. The top-five are: Khalil Mack (11.4), T.J. Watt (11.1), Shaquil Barrett (10.7), Frank Zombo (10.6), and Alexander (9.9). He has the second-most tackles on the Bills with 39.
Alexander is also making life tough for opposing quarterbacks. He ranks fifth among edge defenders in highest pass rush productivity. The top-five include: Cameron Wake (17.1), Von Miller (15.9), Carl Lawson (15.9), DeMarcus Lawrence (15.0), and Alexander (14.4). He has two sacks and seven quarterback hits this season that contribute to his ranking.
The Oakland Raiders come to town in Week Eight with a high-octane offense. The Bills lively linebacker will look to disrupt them this Sunday.
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