Bills defense steps up with four key takeaways

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Buffalo Bills’ Jerry Hughes (55) knocks the ball away from Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson (3) to force a fumble during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Bills recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Bills defense stepped up on Sunday and played one of their best games of the season as the Bills topped the Seattle Seahawks 44-34.

Faced with a tough task in playing league MVP frontrunner Russell Wilson, the Buffalo defense wasted no time in attacking the Seattle offense head on.

“That’s the number one offense coming into the game today, so we knew they were going to make plays, we knew they were going to score points,” Bills safety Jordan Poyer said to reporters on Zoom after the game. “That’s the type of team we have to continue to grind throughout the game and come out with the win.”

The Bills defense held Seattle to just 183 yards and one touchdown in the first half of the game, and Jordan Poyer came up big with an interception in the end zone in the first quarter that ended with the Bills kicking a 44-yard field goal to take a 17-0 lead over the Seahawks.

That was just the first turnover of the game for the Bills.

“Poyer’s pick in the red zone to start it off,” Bills linebacker A.J. Klein said after the game, “they marched down the field and bowed us up, so to force the turnover and keep them off the board was huge, and Poyer started it off.”

Coming out of halftime, Seattle ran only three plays before Jerry Hughes chased Wilson down and forced a fumble that was recovered by Tre’Davious White on the 23 yard line. Again, the Bills came away with points off the turnover, with Tyler Bass kicking a 22-yard field goal to increase Buffalo’s lead to 27-10.

“We knew we’d have opportunities to get after Russell,” Klein said. “We didn’t want to let him get comfortable, because we know he’s one of if not the best quarterback in the NFL on his feet of making things happen when plays break down. Making him uncomfortable was a key part of our game plan.”

But the Bills didn’t stop with those two turnovers.

Just under ten minutes left in the fourth quarter, back-to-back Wilson sacks by Mario Addison and A.J. Klein forced Wilson to throw on third and 25, but this time it’s White who jumps in front of the pass for the interception. After a return that gets all the way down to the three yard line, the Bills again turn the turnovers into points with a touchdown by Josh Allen on the very next play.

“We just wanted to bring everything,” Bills defensive end Quinton Jefferson said. “I don’t think he [Russell Wilson] reacts well to pressure in his face, that’s the biggest thing. We didn’t want to let him sit in the pocket and pick us apart, so we had to get after him.”

“We’re an unselfish group,” Bills safety Micah Hyde said. “We don’t care who’s making plays as long as someone is making the plays.”

With Seattle down 41-27, the Seahawks were on the move again with 6:30 left in the game, but again, the Buffalo defense steps up. On third and two, Klein chases Wilson down and sacks him, and at the same time he snags the ball away from Wilson for the strip sack. That would be the fourth and final turnover of the game for the Bills defense, and each of them were equally important.

“Any time you can get a turnover, it gives not only us juice, it gives the whole team juice,” Jefferson said. “For the offense, it gives them not only field position but another opportunity to score. Turnovers are key in this league. When you get two turnovers, it’s 80%, then three is 90%? So we have to get more turnovers, they give us opportunity and the odds are in our favor when we do. We gotta just keep that going.”

“Every week, you’re going to go through ebbs and flows and ups and downs. Being able to control those situations and staying mentally level, never getting too high, never getting too low, and I truly believe we have that on this team,” Poyer said. “We go through some adversity, but we still find ways to get out of it. We had a tough two game stretch, we found ways to get out of it. Now we have back to back to back wins after two losses. This is a resilient football team, we’re just riding the wave throughout the game, never getting too high, never getting too low.”

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