It was a game that was there for the taking. The Bills were nursing a four-point lead midway through the third quarter. The 49ers had just moved into Buffalo territory and were facing a 3rd-and-1 at the Bills 40-yard line. Preston Brown and Zach Brown stepped up and met San Francisco RB Mike Davis in the hole stuffing him for no gain. When the 49ers lined up to go for it on 4th-and-1 they tried Davis again and the Bills had an answer. Preston Brown, Lerentee McCray and Kyle Williams all flew to the ball to drive Davis back from the line of scrimmage for no gain and a turnover on downs.
"That was huge," said Lorenzo Alexander. "We had an all-out blitz on both of those plays. It was pretty much who was going to be more physical? You knew they wanted to run the ball and try to convert there to keep themselves in the game. They were still in striking distance at that point and we pretty much stood up and balled out on that and made both tackles."
Four plays later the Bills were in the end zone at the other end of the field and up 24-13.
While the offense deserves a ton of credit for an epic rushing day and scoring the most points in a game since 2010, the lopsided nature of the score can be chalked up to Buffalo's defense holding the 49ers down.
The game was tight through the first two quarters, but the Bills held Colin Kaepernick and the Niners offense to just 109 total yards in the second half and just a fourth quarter field goal.
"I don't think we ran the ball very well in the second half," said 49ers head coach Chip Kelly. "We have to give credit to Buffalo in terms of shutting down some of the things we did but we didn't get the production out of the running backs that we needed to get to be successful." said 49ers head coach Chip Kelly.
Kaepernick proved to be San Francisco's most effective rusher. He had 66 yards on eight carries. The Niners three backs ran for a combined 67 on 20 carries to average 3.35 yards per rush.
"We take pride in stopping the run," said Zach Brown. "We are not going to try and let anybody get a 100 yards on us. You might have to feed someone the ball 30 times to get 100 yards, but other than if it is under 30 you are not going to get 100 on us. That is our thing."
Buffalo came into the game with the second-ranked red zone defense allowing opponents to reach the end zone just 37.5 percent of the time. That figure has now dropped to 33 percent after forcing field goals on each of San Francisco's two red zone possessions.
"Red zone defense we did a decent job there again," said head coach Rex Ryan. "We were upset we gave up our first completion for a first down there, so we're doing a great job. Coaches are doing a great job of running things and we've got a good plan and we stayed with it. We never really altered the plan at all. We just stayed the course and things worked out. We tightened down the screws in our pass coverage and played much better in the second half."
Kaepernick's inaccuracy certainly helped, but the bottom line was Buffalo's defense got off the field on third down as San Francisco converted just three of their 13 opportunities on third down.
It all translated into another solid defensive performance, but the players know it's all rooted in one key factor.
"It is just like the last few weeks," said Kyle Williams. "Really the thing that won the last few games was our preparation. We have prepared really, really well and we will have to do it again this week."