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Dareus shines in strong defensive effort

Everyone knew that heading to Detroit would be a tall task for a number of reasons. The defense had to face QB Matt Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson; DT Kyle Williams likely wouldn't play due to injury; and it was defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's return to the team he was coaching just last year.

And what does DT Marcell Dareus do in the midst of all this baggage? He has a career day and earns three sacks – not to mention two tackles for a loss, two quarterback hits and a forced fumble.

"I mean it's just an everyday thing for me," he said of his stat line. "We're just out there having fun doing what we love and playing together as a team."

Dareus, who was drafted by the Bills third overall in 2011, has been playing well lately and is owed much of the success the defense has enjoyed this season.

Even in the loss to Houston, he was able to tally four tackles – a sack and three tackles for a loss. And over the last three weeks, he's recorded at least one sack and one tackle for a loss in each game. It's the kind of dominance the Bills expected when they made him the third overall pick in the draft three years ago.

It's not just Dareus either. The defensive line has been on fire so far in 2014 – something they have set out to work on since training camp. Dareus says he and the rest of the defensive line really set out to be the best rushing defense in the league. And they're not far off. Heading into Sunday's game with the Lions they sat third overall allowing 71.5 yards per game and were tied for second in yards per carry allowed at 2.9 yards per rushing attempt.

One of the main cogs on that line wasn't able to play against Detroit, however.

Kyle Williams was declared inactive before the game due to a knee injury he suffered in Houston and Dareus knew the defense would need to step up.

"We knew the task at hand without having Kyle (Williams) we knew we had to buckle down and play hard. And that's all. That's just what we did. We went out there and played our butts off."   

Photos from the Week 5 matchup between the Bills and Lions from Ford Field in Detroit.

The success of the defense can also be seen in the stats of Stafford.

Even though Calvin Johnson was barely present in the game, Stafford completed just 18 passes and 221 yards, both season-lows.

"[Stafford] can pick your defense apart if you let him so we just wanted him to be as uncomfortable as possible in the pocket," Dareus said. "With the receivers we just really tried to play up on them and do the best we can to get in Stafford's face and it just fell into our hands."

Dareus wasn't the only one happy about the win.

Maybe it was his own personal revenge or the emotion of the players that did it, but Schwartz was lifted onto the shoulders of Bills players and carried around the stadium after the win.

"This game really meant a lot to him especially when we lost to them during preseason," said Dareus. "You could see the disappointment on his face. In the meetings last night he told us he still has family here. His son is still here. He would love for his son to go to school and be happy and not let people mess with him. So it really meant more to him than just a game. So I took it and we all took it to ourselves that we were going to go out here and do the best we can for Schwartz and the team and we pulled it out."

The most surprising part of the day was that the Bills were able to hold Detroit scoreless in the second half as they allowed just one touchdown all day. Detroit's second touchdown was scored on an interception return.

When asked how you bounce back from an early two score deficit, Dareus said the approach is simple.

"Don't even look at the scoreboard," he said. "The game is not over, we've still got quarters, we've still got time to play so continue to play hard and don't worry about it. It will all pan out. Just let it play itself out and as long as we do our job things will unfold for us."

Hopefully this is a mindset that Buffalo can carry through in their pivotal division matchup with New England in Week 6.

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