The Bills 35-0 shutout victory over the Dolphins on the road certainly drew the attention of some NFL national reporters Sunday.
The team's defensive performance prompted 'Football Morning in America' columnist Peter King to named Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier as the coach of the week for Week 2. Here's what he offered in his column.
Coach of the Week
Leslie Frazier, defensive coordinator, Buffalo. Credit Frazier and his D for Miami's miserable day on offense. Zero points, 216 yards, Miami quarterbacks sacked six times. The Bills might really have the pass-rush GM Brandon Beane has been angling for now: Miami quarterbacks were pressured on 33 of 57 pass drops, and Frazier now has the ability to shuttle his young rushers in and out to keep them fresh. Especially effective Sunday in the Miami heat: A.J. Epenesa, with nine pressures, and this year's first-rounder, Gregory Rousseau, with two sacks.
Meanwhile 'Monday Morning Quarterback' columnist Albert Breer spoke with head coach Sean McDermott after Buffalo's resounding victory Sunday and surmises that the team's Week 1 defeat at the hands of the Steelers might prove to be a blessing in disguise.
Here is Breer's assessment of how the Bills Week 1 outcome was folded into their Week 2 romp of a division rival on the road.
The Bills haven't gone anywhere, despite what Week 1 might've indicated.
In fact, I think after talking to Buffalo coach Sean McDermott on Sunday—and he didn't say this directly to me—that the staff there saw a real silver lining in how the team's first game went. In that one, the Bills were way too reliant on Josh Allen (he dropped back 54 times), and made critical mistakes in all three phases to lose to the Steelers. And with all of that came a gut check for a young group of players who are dealing with high expectations, and all that comes along with those, for the first time.
"I think that's one of the hardest things, Albert, on teams, or just as an individual, is how you handle success," McDermott told me postgame. "And it happens to many a team, and many an individual, out there. And so I think we learn from experiences all the time, and that's probably a better question for my team, but overall, I feel like their focus was there today and that's what I'm looking for every week. That's the humble and hungry approach that the Buffalo Bills take."
That humble and hungry approach churned out a pretty impressive 35–0 win over the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday. And the best part, to McDermott, was how the team managed to get the most out of every unit. The Bills' defense registered two sacks on the game's first three plays, then Isaiah McKenzie took the ensuing punt back 20 yards into Miami territory. Two plays later, Devin Singletary ripped off a 46-yard touchdown run. So it was 7–0 less than three minutes in, and Buffalo didn't have to lean on Allen for any of it, while getting contributions from two of last year's trouble areas (the pass rush and the running backs).
"We talked about that during the week, and the guys really did a great job with that, I thought, especially in the first half," McDermott continued. "Like the first quarter, we got out 14–0 there, then we stalled a little bit and again, that's where I thought that the offense did a really good job making some adjustments and coming back in the second half, really found a rhythm there."
With the defense's giving them the chance to do it, of course. And, as McDermott sees it, part of everyone's being able to chip in is simply who the Bills have become the last five years—with a healthy percentage of the roster out front in spending the last week making sure Week 1 didn't repeat itself.
"We've got captains, and we also have a leadership group of probably, honestly, 15 to 20 guys that have been around our building for multiple years now," McDermott said. "It's guys that have influence in our locker room, connect my message to the locker room, and I just thought they did a great job leading by example, more than anything [last week]."
Which means now the Bills can move forward with a better feel for what it's like to carry a target on their back as one of the conference's big dogs.