They couldn't get to Philip Rivers much at all in the first half as the Los Angeles Chargers offense gained yards in big chunks on almost every one of their touchdown drives. Come the second half however, Buffalo's pass rush woke up as Rivers was hurried significantly more over the final two quarters.
Trent Murphy, Lorenzo Alexander and Jerry Hughes all got in the offensive backfield to harass Rivers, with Alexander and Hughes registering sacks. Hughes also had three quarterback hits. Alexander and Murphy had quarterback hits as well.
"I think we just started playing more together, more of a sense of urgency," said Trent Murphy. "Everyone started doing their job. We mixed it up on our third down packages a little bit. Kept 'Zo on the field. He's a monster—we always want to keep him rushing the passer."
Buffalo appeared to use disguised pressure to keep Rivers from diagnosing their defensive call and calling a play away from where the pressure was coming. That led to some hesitation by the Chargers QB at times.
"That's probably a better question for Philip, but he's a good quarterback," said head coach Sean McDermott. "I thought our players made some plays. I felt they were playing with a lot of energy. They were playing fast and physical and getting after it and that was fun to be a part of and watch that unfold. I like that they were flying to the football and we were getting pressure on the quarterback, sometimes with eight in the box, sometimes with seven, which is what you've got to do in this league."
The Bills also mixed in a few blitzes with safety Rafael Bush and cornerback Tre'Davious White among those being sent.
"Certainly, the second half adjustments were great," said Jerry Hughes. "We have to start the way we finished. I think the guys know that holding them to three points in the second half is great. We can take a lot of positives from that, one of which is we have to start fast. I think we're starting to understand that. We just have to put the pieces together."
With Vontae Davis' abrupt retirement and Phillip Gaines elbow injury that kept him out of the second half of Sunday's game against the Chargers, Buffalo's cornerback contingent is suddenly precariously thin. Here's a rundown of how things look on the Bills roster at the position.
Cornerbacks on the active roster – 4
Phillip Gaines – elbow injury Sunday
Taron Johnson – shoulder injury Week 1 – did not play in Week 2
Lafayette Pitts – played in relief at LCB after Davis' retirement at halftime
Tre'Davious White – healthy
Cornerbacks on the practice squad – 2
Ryan Lewis – first-year player, who was claimed off waivers from New England, released and placed on Buffalo's practice squad this past week.
Levi Wallace – signed by Buffalo as an undrafted rookie. Did not make the 53-man roster, but signed to the practice squad at the start of the season.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
284 – Chargers total net yards in the first half.
65 – Chargers total net yards in the second half.
4.3 – LeSean McCoy's yards per carry average Sunday.
4.0 – Josh Allen's yards per carry average Sunday.
0% - Bills third down conversion rate in the first half (0-6).
62.5% - Bills third down conversion rate in the second half (5-8).
AROUND THE AFC EAST
The Miami Dolphins did all their scoring in the first half sprinting out to a 20-0 lead, and their defense made it stand up holding the Jets to just a touchdown and two fields goals in the second half for a 20-12 victory. The Dolphins improved to 2-0, while the Jets fell to 1-1.
The New England Patriots were down a pair of touchdowns entering the fourth quarter against Jacksonville (24-10) and the Jaguars stayed aggressive ultimately winning 31-20 avenging their AFC Championship game loss in last year's playoffs. The Patriots fell to 1-1.
THEY SAID IT
"It feels terrible. I let my team down. Credit to them because they fought back time and time again. They gave me opportunities. It is disappointing for me personally. The team fought so hard. We expect to win that and I expect to make those kicks to win the game for the team."
Vikings K Daniel Carlson on missing three kicks, including two in overtime
"It was a malicious hit, intended to hurt (Cam)."
Panthers WR Jarius Wright on Atlanta S Damontae Kazee's helmet hit on Cam Newton that earned an ejection.
"It's on me 100 percent. I can't blame it on [anybody] else. It [stinks] because we were so close to that win, and it's been so long. I just let everybody down."
Browns K Zane Gonzalez on missing a game-winning extra point and a game-tying field goal back to back in a three-point Cleveland loss at New Orleans.