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What they're saying: Where the Bills rank in the NFL at the quarter mark


2. Bills are 3-1 and the defense is great

The only thing keeping Buffalo from a 4-0 record is the time it was unable to score much against the Panthers in Week 2. The Bills are playing a ton of zone coverage on defense and it has paid off to the tune of allowing 54 points through four weeks, with the most allowed in a single game being 17. They intercepted Ryan twice, while also forcing three fumbles and recovering one. The defense looks like it is going to be great under Leslie Frazier, while Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy and Charles Clay could do just enough on offense to end Buffalo's 18-year playoffs drought. Buffalo has the Bengals next week followed by a bye, so it could remarkably be in first place in the AFC East after six weeks. I guess trading Watkins and Ronald Darby away wasn't that short-sighted after all.

The Bills also have a defense-minded coach in McDermott who simply has a long track record of success. While Sean McVay's work in rebuilding the Rams' offense has rightfully been lauded, it would be fair to similarly credit McDermott for immediately turning a defense which ranked 27th in DVOA last season into one that will likely top the DVOA charts after Week 4, even after the Bills lost a pair of Pro Bowlers -- Stephon Gilmore and Zach Brown -- this offseason. … The schedule gets tougher later in the season, but the Bills' defense is back.

The Preseason Means Nothing Award: Tyrod Taylor, Bills

No NFL team was dragged more in the preseason than the Buffalo Bills, a squad that couldn't move the ball on offense and inspired talk of tanking after trading away wideout Sammy Watkins, cornerback Ronald Darby and linebacker Reggie Ragland in August. Now they are 3-1 with the top scoring defense in football.

Tyrod Taylor takes home the hardware after averaging 3.4 yards per attempt and compiling a 27.9 passer rating in a preseason that inspired Bills fans to pine for rookie fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman as a Week 1 starter. Four weeks later, now that the games that matter have started, Taylor is averaging 7.5 yards per attempt with a 100.7 passer rating and at least two or three jaw-dropping throws a week.

Grade = B-plus

What has gone right: The defensive simplification made by new head coach Sean McDermott and coordinator Leslie Frazier has paid immediate dividends. The Bills are yielding a league-low 13.5 points per game and rank among the NFL leaders in interceptions (six) and sacks (11).

What has gone wrong: The passing game remains anemic, which makes the success of ex-Bills wide receivers Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins with the Rams even more painful. Tyrod Taylor is averaging a meager 186 passing yards a game, although he has done a nice job taking care of the football with just one interception.

What's next: Consecutive victories over quality opponents like Atlanta and Denver indicate the Bills may be for real. Buffalo also doesn't have to worry about facing its kryptonite — New England — until Week 13.


Best rookie performances in Week 4 –, Mike Rodak](

CB Tre'Davious White

Statistics: Four tackles, one pass defensed, one fumble recovery for touchdown

Analysis: As Stephon Gilmore stumbles in New England, the player tasked to replace him in Buffalo is flourishing. White has started each game this season and made perhaps his biggest play yet in Sunday's 23-17 win over the Falcons. Early in the third quarter, Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes hit Matt Ryan's arm as he reared the ball back, with Ryan able to push the ball forward downfield. White made the heads-up play of scooping the ball and running 52 yards for a touchdown that was upheld upon review. White, who was named the NFL's defensive rookie of the month last week, has not looked out of place as a starter since his first practice with the team in the spring.

Stephen Hauschka, kicker, Buffalo.He's tried seven field goals in the past two games—from 49, 55, 53, 27, 24, 56 and 55 yards—and made them all. The last three came in the upset of the Falcons on Sunday.

19. With all that said, maybe it's time we start paying attention to the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills, who have now beaten the Broncos and Falcons in back-to-back weeks.

20. Kudos to Bills rookie coach Sean McDermott for building a competitive team around defense, the league's stingiest entering the weekend, and protecting the ball. Buffalo has committed just one turnover all season.


Power rankings round-up**

No. 3 – Buffalo Bills

All chicken, no buffalo sauce. AFC East leaders allowing less than two touchdowns per week, while their plus-6 turnover ratio paces conference.

No. 8 – Buffalo Bills

This team is in first place in the AFC East and impressed winning at Atlanta. Sean McDermott has done a nice job.

No. 10 – Buffalo Bills

Hey, I'll admit the Buffalo Bills have surprised me this season, and I'll give them much respect. What they're doing on the defensive side of the ball is incredible. I just can't say enough about Sean McDermott and the way he's raised the level of discipline on that side of the ball.

This isn't a team with a lot of superstars on defense, but it forces teams to play mistake-free football. When they don't, they pay. The Bills proved that with a major win over the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Micah Hyde had two interceptions, and Jerry Hughes had a sack-fumble that was returned for a touchdown. These were turning points in the game, and they show how this Buffalo defense can force a team to beat itself with mistakes.

No. 15 – Buffalo Bills

Who would you pick as coach of the year after four games: Sean McVay or Sean McDermott? Tough call. Both have done remarkable jobs so far.

No. 15 – Buffalo Bills

One. That's how many pass touchdowns the Bills have allowed through four games this season. It's no wonder Buffalo has allowed the fewest points per game this season and currently owns sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

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