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Monday Morning Breakdown

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Eric Wood | 5 opinions on the Bills' 10th win of the season

Levi Wallace (39) interception. Buffalo Bills vs Pittsburgh Steelers, December 13, 2020 at Bills Stadium. Photo by Bill Wippert
Levi Wallace (39) interception. Buffalo Bills vs Pittsburgh Steelers, December 13, 2020 at Bills Stadium. Photo by Bill Wippert

1. Offense bounced back after slow start

I feel like at times this year and especially the past couple of years when the offense has started slow, it's been an indication of a bad night for the offense. So, when you're playing the No.1 ranked defense in a bunch of different categories, having a slow start with the cold and wintry conditions is completely understandable. It took the Bills a few drives to get their footing and the Bills defense was able to keep getting them the ball back, which helped. I just loved the resilience of the offense to keep sticking with it. Brian Daboll adjusted his play-calling a little bit. They did some more of the quick game to get the ball out of Josh's hands faster to keep the defensive line from getting home on the quarterback. When you play two guys like Cam Hayward and T.J. Watt, you could put those guys on different sides because it's hard to double-team them and they are two of the best in the NFL for a reason. I think Darryl Williams played great and I was just really impressed with the Bills on offense after a slow start. They were able to come back and make some plays against a really talented defense.

2. Bills defense is making difference-making plays

Taron Johnson's interception return for a touchdown was so important for the Bills because in the first half that was really the only difference between the two teams. The Steelers had one touchdown drive and the Bills had one field goal drive. But Taron Johnson makes a play for a pick-six and that's why the Bills took the lead going into the half. Then they also got the football back to start the second half, so his play created a whole bunch of momentum for the Bills. And at times this year, teams have attacked him in the nickel position, so it was great to see him make a play and step up when the Bills needed him to. Overall, as far as the Bills defense goes, what they've been able to do since Week 7 from a sack and turnover standpoint, has been great. They might be giving up more yards and points than they did last season, but the team has a better record, and the defense is making big plays now. That may be their identity. This defense looks like it's getting more aggressive and at the perfect time with the playoffs in a few weeks.

3. Bills third-quarter success

The third quarter will probably continue to be a topic of conversation just because you nit-pick everything when you cover one team. The national narrative on the Bills is not that they have third-quarter struggles but throughout Buffalo with the people who do follow the team as closely as we do, it has become a thing. So, to see Josh play so well, to see them make a few halftime adjustments that truly paid off, offensively, was great to see. The Bills won the third quarter 14-0. And in a lot of games, you're playing with more of a lead and so maybe play-calling on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball get a little bit more conservative. But in this game, against one of the league's best, when you come out and play your best football in the third quarter that's a great sign of things to come with the playoffs quickly looming.

4. Bills defense peaking at the right moment

With the Bills offense having a slow start to the game, the team truly needed their defense in this one and you're going to have that at times. I definitely love the direction of the defense; they have been playing much better since returning from the bye week. And you'd rather have them playing great later in the season than you would early on in a season. You love to see the Bills defense peaking at the right time at the end of the season especially as the weather starts to get colder and more unpredictable.

5. How the Bills stack up against the rest of the NFL

The Bills sit near the top of the AFC standings at 10-3. They beat the Seahawks and the Rams, two teams at the top of their division and two of the top teams in the NFC. Then when you look at how they stack up in the AFC, the only two teams in front of them are the Steelers, who they just beat, and then the Chiefs. I know this team would love another crack at the Chiefs, hopefully not too early in the playoffs, but they would love another chance to go up against them. But the way they're playing complementary football on offense, defense, and special teams. With the way they're coached and the way they show up every week, this is a team that nobody in the NFL wants to play.

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