Kansas City Chiefs' Demarcus Robinson (11) holds off Buffalo Bills' Tre'Davious White (27) as Bills' Justin Zimmer (61) also pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Bills defence looks to rebound after consecutive losses

Bills defence looks to rebound after consecutive losses

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The usually stingy Buffalo Bills defence has yet to find its identity this season.

This might be the perfect week to create one.

Following back-to-back losses to the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs — games that saw the Bills struggle in just about every area defensively — the Bills face the winless New York Jets on Sunday.

For Buffalo, a game against one of the worst offences in the league appears to be coming at just the right time.

“We just haven’t found that niche yet of what’s going to work for us,” Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White said. “Is it going to be us holding teams to lower points, is it going to be us holding them to lower yards, or is it going to be us taking the ball away? We’ve got to find which defence is going to be us.”

Six games into the 2020 season, Buffalo’s defensive struggles have come as a surprise. The Bills rank 24th in yards allowed (387.5), 24th in pass defence (256.2 yards per game), 25th in run defence (131.3 yards per game) and 21st in points allowed (28 per game).

That’s quite the change from last season, when Buffalo finished third in yards allowed (275.9 yards per game), fourth in pass defence (195.2 yards per game), 10th in run defence (103.1 yards per game) and second in points allowed (16.2 points per game).

Ever since coach Sean McDermott and defensive co-ordinator Leslie Frazier arrived in 2017, the Bills have built their team around a strong defence. This year, Buffalo has had to increasingly rely on its passing offence, which has been unable to bail out the defence the past two weeks.

Buffalo’s coaching staff can point to its first season in charge for inspiration. That year, the Bills went through a winless three-game stretch that saw them allow 135 points. Buffalo went on to win four of its next six games and end its lengthy playoff drought.

“Look at the stretch that we went through and we ended up becoming a playoff football team,” Frazier said. “Been through it. The one thing you’ve got to do is make sure you don’t lose confidence in what you’re doing. There’s some times where things are getting a little haywire and you want to throw out the kitchen sink and start all over again.

“If you knee-jerk because you’ve had a bad game or a couple bad games … all of a sudden the players going, ‘What are we? Who are we?’ And you really have no identity as you try to fix some of those problems.”

The primary issues appear to be a revamped defensive line that has struggled to win at the line of scrimmage and a back seven that has been ravaged by injuries.

The Bills lost defensive linemen Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips in free agency and replaced them with veterans Mario Addison, Quinton Jefferson and Vernon Butler. Buffalo has yet to find a combination that works, which led to the unusual and surprising decision to deactivate Trent Murphy and Harrison Phillips against the Chiefs. Ed Oliver, the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft, has also struggled to regain his form from the end of last season.

Top linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano have also missed time because of injuries. Milano has missed three games with pectoral and hamstring injuries and was limited at practice on Wednesday. Edmunds suffered a left shoulder injury in Week 1, missed one game, and has been playing at less than 100 per cent since his return. Four of Buffalo’s cornerbacks —White, Josh Norman, Levi Wallace and Cam Lewis — have all been injured and missed time.

“We haven’t been doing a good job of winning our one-on-one’s and we’ve got to get back to the drawing board and see where we can put ourselves in position to make those plays,” White said. “We can’t panic, man. Who said we were going to go 16-0 or 15-1 and win the Super Bowl? You don’t have to win every game to win a Super Bowl. You have to win enough to get yourself in the playoffs. … We’re still in a good spot. We’re No. 1 in the division and we have another division opponent coming up this weekend. … We have the players here and we have the answers here. I feel like we’re going to be fine.”

NOTES: The Bills released guard Quinton Spain on Wednesday. Spain impressed last season and started all 16 games after his arrival from Tennessee. He signed a three-year, $15 million contract in March but was benched after two games. Spain tweeted his appreciation for the Bills and their fans but said it was “time for a change.” … The Bills signed defensive tackle Justin Zimmer to the active roster. Zimmer was one of Buffalo’s few defensive bright spots in the loss to Kansas City, making a career-high six tackles.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Mark Ludwiczak, The Associated Press

NFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced more than 1,500 active cases in Alberta Monday afternoon and five additional deaths. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
New COVID rules coming

Central zone active cases up by 100 in last 24 hours

Red Deer city council gave final approval to a mask bylaw that will go into effect on Nov. 30. (Black Press file photo).
Red Deer city council approves mask bylaw that takes effect on Nov. 30

It could be ‘superceded’ by a provincial mask bylaw, if one is announced Tuesday

The revised plans for the Dream Centre feature a two-storey renovated building. The centre launched a campaign Monday in hopes of raising more than a million to help with building renovation. (Contributed image).
Red Deer Dream Centre launches campaign, hopes to raise $1.4M

A proposed addiction treatment centre is hoping to raise $1.4 million to… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer area seniors facility pauses visits after staff tests positive for COVID

A Red Deer County seniors facility has put the breaks on visitors… Continue reading

Lynn Van Laar, chair of this year’s Christmas Wish Breakfast, said the event was planned outdoors to minimize the risk of COVID. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Outdoor Christmas Wish Breakfast helps central Alberta families this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to stop children from having a merry… Continue reading

Canada's head coach Dave Lowry during practice at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday, December 30, 2015. The Winnipeg Jets have hired Lowry as an assistant coach. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Former WHL head coach Dave Lowry joins Paul Maurice’s staff in Winnipeg

Former WHL head coach Dave Lowry joins Paul Maurice’s staff in Winnipeg

Felix Auger-Aliassime, of Canada, returns a shot to Dominic Thiem, of Austria, during the fourth round of the US Open tennis championships in New York on September 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Seth Wenig
A steady if unspectacular season comes to a close for Canada’s Auger-Aliassime

A steady if unspectacular season comes to a close for Canada’s Auger-Aliassime

Sacramento Kings' Alex Len (25) collects a rebound against Brooklyn Nets' Jarrett Allen (31) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Aug. 7, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ashley Landis
Raptors continue to shore up frontcourt, signing Alex Len to one-year deal

Raptors continue to shore up frontcourt, signing Alex Len to one-year deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Freeland says Liberals will deliver economic, fiscal update on Nov. 30

Freeland says Liberals will deliver economic, fiscal update on Nov. 30

Canadian Joint Operations Commander Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau speaks during a news conference on the recent Canadian Forces helicopter crash, Tuesday, May 19, 2020 in Ottawa. The Canadian Armed Forces is preparing to formally apologize to victims of sexual misconduct. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canadian Armed Forces to formally apologize to victims for sexual misconduct

Canadian Armed Forces to formally apologize to victims for sexual misconduct

Alberta Liberal Party David Khan at a campaign stop in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 11, 2019. The Alberta Liberal Party says its leader, David Khan, is stepping down. A news release from the party on Sunday evening says Khan is accepting a new job in law. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Liberal Party says leader, David Khan, stepping down to accept new job in law

Alberta Liberal Party says leader, David Khan, stepping down to accept new job in law

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson listens to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday, February 6, 2020. Iveson says he won't seek re-election next fall. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson announces he’s not running for re-election next fall

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson announces he’s not running for re-election next fall

In this Nov. 17, 2020, photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a Long March-5 rocket is seen on the launch pad at the Wenchang Space Launch Site in Wenchang in southern China's Hainan Province. Chinese technicians were making final preparations Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, to launch a Long March-5 rocket carrying a mission to bring back material from the lunar surface in a potentially major advance for the country's space program. (Guo Cheng/Xinhua via AP)
China launches mission to bring back material from moon

China launches mission to bring back material from moon

Most Read