Bills head home after easy win in their home-away-from-home
Thanks to Buffalo's 23-0 victory over Washington
on Sunday and New England's 25-17 loss to Pittsburgh, the Bills have
technically moved into first place in the AFC East with a 5-2 record.
The Patriots are also 5-2, but they lost to the
Bills back in Week 3, and head-to-head results are the first tiebreaker.
Up next for the Bills is another team that's right
in the thick of the AFC East race, the 4-3 Jets, who will visit Orchard
Park, N.Y., this weekend.
There is no question that the Bills will be
thrilled to return to their regular home at Ralph Wilson Stadium, but
even they had to admit their visit to Toronto's Rogers Centre this year
wasn't all that bad. After losing the first three games in the
five-year Toronto series, the Bills had little trouble dispatching the
"I know I was very critical of the environment and
I talked about giving this crowd something to cheer about," said strong
safety George Wilson, who let it be known before the game that playing
"home" games in Toronto had grown tedious for the Bills. "We had a
chance to make a lot of plays, and the fans were really excited and
into the ballgame. This was definitely the most exciting crowd we've
had since we've played up here."
Of course this time, unlike the first three games
in Toronto, all losses, the Bills played well from start to finish and
dominated the Redskins on both sides of the ball. It was the kind of
performance Buffalo will need when Rex Ryan's Jets come calling, fresh
off their bye week.
On defense, the Bills pitched their first shutout
since 2006, and their nine sacks were the second most in franchise
history behind only an 11-sack performance against Denver in 1964. This
was the first time a team on which Mike Shanahan was the head coach or
the offensive coordinator has ever been shut out.
"It was amazing to get nine sacks against that
team," said Buffalo coach Chan Gailey, whose team had only four sacks
coming into the game, fewest in the NFL. "I don't think anybody
expected that. I know I didn't. They gave such a great effort."
The caveat for the Bills, though, is Washington
was beset by injuries and was missing three of its top playmakers. The
Bills won't have that luxury when they face the Jets and their trio of
talented pass catcher, Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Dustin Keller, plus sturdy backs Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson.
One of the keys for the Bills was the switch of
rookie Marcell Dareus from end to tackle to replace injured Kyle Williams. The 320-pound Dareus was a mountain in the middle of the
line, and he recorded 2 1/2 sacks.
"I kind of took it personally because as a front,
I don't think we've been doing a good job getting to the quarterback,"
said Dareus, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 draft. "It doesn't
matter where they want me, I'm going to do the best I can."
LINEUP WATCH: Andy Levitre is the third player to
start at left tackle for the Bills this season. Normally the left
guard, Levitre had to slide to the outside against Washington because
starter Demetrius Bell has missed the last three games with a shoulder
injury, and his replacement, rookie Chris Hairston, suffered an ankle
injury in the Oct. 16 game against the Giants. Levitre, who played left
tackle in college at Oregon State, had little trouble against a
Washington pass rush that was tied for the league lead in sacks.
BY THE NUMBERS: 9 -- Sacks by the Bills in their
victory over Washington, the second most in a single game in team
history behind only an 11-sack outing against Denver in 1964, the year
the Bills won the first of their two AFL championships. Marcell Dareus
had 2 1/2 sacks, the most in one game by a Bills rookie Cornelius
Bennett had three in a 1987 game.
--QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, playing his first game
since signing a $59 million contract extension, completed 21 of 27
passes for 262 yards with two TDs and one pick in the win over
--RB Fred Jackson had another huge game, as he
rushed for 120 yards and caught three passes for 74 yards.
--DT Marcell Dareus enjoyed a breakout game, as he
recorded 2 1/2 sacks and was in on five tackles.
--TE Scott Chandler, who had been relatively quiet
after scoring four TDs in the first three games, had two more against
the Redskins to snap a three-game drought.
--WR Stevie Johnson had a quiet day with six
catches for a pedestrian 57 yards.
AFC East: Bills Back On Top
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