Bills safety Da'Norris Searcy has been a defensive back since high school, but he channeled his inner wide receiver in the Bills 26-10 win over the Cleveland Browns.
Searcy had two interceptions on the day for 38 yards to post his first career multi-pick game. With Sunday's interceptions, he now has five for his career and three this season.
Even on a day that was so big for Searcy and the team, he wasn't completely satisfied with himself.
"It should have been four (interceptions)," he said. "I know a lot of people from back home are going to get on me about that. I dropped two of them. It was good to get two. It's good to get one, so when you get two it feels great."
Much of the success came from the on-field communication he and the rest of the defense had before the snap, he said.
"We were talking to each other in the huddle like, 'Watch out for this and watch out for that,'" Searcy said. "Once you notice those tendencies, you're able to play certain formations and jump certain routes and it all helped out. We covered them in the back end, the front four get the rush, and it all plays together as one defense."
Safety Aaron Williams reiterated the point by saying: "We do a lot of pre-snap reads. When we see something that was a high tendency, we would talk about it. You can see it in the film with our hand signals and you'll see us talking. Me and Searcy have great chemistry. We've been together since the NFL combine. Our chemistry on the field is phenomenal and like he did, he made great plays and that's what we needed in the secondary."
The first half was flat, Searcy admitted, but the defense came out of the locker room and challenged itself to fire on all cylinders and communicate better as a unit. And taking a look at first and second half receiving stats are indicative of this change.
In the first half, Cleveland completed 14 passes with six of them going to WR Josh Gordon. In the second half, the Browns were able to connect just nine times and only once to Gordon.
"We knew he's a dynamic receiver of course," Searcy said of Gordon. "He was hot early in the game. We knew we had to get hands on him. We had play more aggressively with him because in the first half we were kind of just letting him run. That's how he was making his plays.
"[Bills secondary coach] Donnie [Henderson] got on us, the secondary, saying we have to step up. It's on us because the front four are going to rush and get to the quarterback. We have to help them out and do our job by covering in the back end. Then we took it upon ourselves to go out and get the job done."
Head coach Doug Marrone agreed that Buffalo played stronger in the second half. He said the turning point came in the third quarter after the Bills stopped Cleveland on a three-and-out following QB Kyle Orton's interception. Buffalo scored on its ensuing drive and then again, 10 seconds later, after DE Jerry Hughes recovered and returned a Browns fumble.
Just like that, the Bills were up 14-3 and would score 12 points more before the end of the game – and again the defense is to thank for those points.
"Coach Schwartz always talks about how defense sets the pace," according to Searcy. "We always want to come out firing. We always want to get the crowd into it, get behind our offense like they get behind us. We know once we get rolling, the offense gets rolling too. Overall it was a good team win."