Trench warfare: Bills win battle up front on both sides

Buffalo Bills

Miami Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett (14) is sacked by Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Matt Milano (58), back, and Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver (91), second left, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s a cliché saying, but it’s also a true one, games can be won and lost in the trenches. Last week, the Bills offensive line lost its battle with Pittsburgh’s defensive line, and it showed with how much trouble their offense had gaining momentum. This week, both the offensive and defensive line showed up big, and that led to victory over the Dolphins.

On offense, the line struggled in week one, allowing three sacks and committing multiple holding penalties against the Steelers. They turned it around Sunday afternoon, allowing just one sack and two holding calls, one of which was a penalty offset by a flag from Miami. Left tackle Dion Dawkins agreed that they played better, but also knows there’s work to be done.

“We put the right foot forward,” Dawkins said. “We still have a lot of things to clean up. Like everyone sees the score but there is a lot of little things they go into it that we take personal and we’ve got to do a better job because it will hurt us in the long end but as long as we just stay on it and just keep pushing, the o-line will be all right.”

The guys up front got a great push to help the running game have more success as well. On the opening drive, they helped spring Devin Singletary for a 46-yard touchdown. They also helped create lanes for Zack Moss to score two TD’s.

“Anytime a running back can run without getting touched or even just getting into the end zone, we also take very personal so hats off to [Singletary] and those running backs, the ‘skinny guys’ that I called them, and we are going to try to continue to get them in the end zone more and more and more times without getting touched,” Dawkins said.

Quarterback Josh Allen said the line dealt with some last-minute changes, which adds to the

“…we changed stuff yesterday into our run game, put in new plays and our guys rolled with it and figured out a way to go out there and apply it so being an o-lineman is not easy by any means,” Allen said. “There’s so many different bullets flying at you and they get the blame sometimes when they really shouldn’t. People do not know our blocking schemes and our run schemes and where our fits are supposed to be and stuff like that so again these are my guys.”

Defensively, the Bills were even more impressive. They created a lot of pressure on the Miami offensive line and came away with six sacks on the day.

“Really all about just going out there and playing hungry,” rookie Greg Rousseau said. “Obviously we lost last week and we didn’t have our best game so we knew we’d have to come out and start fast and that’s what we did.”

Rousseau had a great game himself, racking up two sacks, the first two of his young career. He said the defensive line feeds off each other’s success.

“AJ [Epenesa] makes a play, Jerry [Hughes] makes a play, it just gets you more excited now you wanna go and get one,” Rousseau said. “It’s really like a snowball effect.”

Last year the team struggled to take down the quarterback, but so far in two games, they appear to be doing much better on the defensive line.

“We’ve got some guys up front they can get after the quarterback so anytime we get it by a couple of scores and force them to one dimensional football, passing the football, those guys upfront are going to eat so good for Greg and just happy to see those boys up there eating,” safety Micah Hyde said.

Ultimately, on both sides, it was a much improved performance after a disappointing result in week one.

“It just says that we learn from our mistakes and that we know how to let things go and move on to what’s next,” Dawkins said. “That just shows the type of character of the guys that we have in our locker room that we did not let what happened last week destroy us.”

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