Defense stands strong when needed against Falcons

Sports

Buffalo Bills’ Jordan Poyer (21) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Bills won 29-15. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Much like the offense, the Bills defense didn’t play a perfect game on Sunday against the Falcons, but they didn’t need to. They performed well when it mattered, and kept Atlanta out of the endzone in critical moments.

Perhaps the most critical moment came in the second half. After Atlanta scored 10 straight points on back-to-back drives to end the first half, the Falcons got the ball right back to start the third quarter when Josh Allen threw his third interception of the day. Even though Atlanta had good field position, the Bills held strong, forced a punt, and got their offense the ball back. It was a moment that got head coach Sean McDermott “fired up.”

“That was to me a big turning point in the game with momentum,” McDermott said. “The defense came out and I thought did a great job adjusting on their part in the locker room at halftime and shut them down.”

“Coaches came in and made some adjustments, guys talking on defense about what we have to do and went out there after that pick and was able to force them to no points so that was huge and gave us a lot of momentum,” safety Micah Hyde said.

The defense pitched a shutout the entire second half. It looked like the Falcons scored late in the 4th quarter, but a video review showed Matt Ryan was down at the one yard line. The Atlanta QB was called for a taunting penalty on that play and that backed the Falcons up 15 yards. Buffalo’s defense held tight and kept the Falcons out of the endzone.

“…to get them off the field with no points was a huge part of the game,” Hyde said of the red zone stand.

Atlanta was only 1-for-4 in the red zone all afternoon. They came away with just one touchdown in those four trips, and had to settle for field goals on the other two.

“It’s part of our mentality as a defense we will defend a blade of grass,” defensive lineman Harrison Phillips said. “That’s just a mindset of us regardless of when we get down there and the red zone.”

The Bills have the number two scoring defense in the league, only allowing an average of 17 points per game.

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