BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Filling the void left by Von Miller is no easy task and it won’t be done by one single player alone. The Bills knew it was going to be a “by committee” approach and in their first game since they got the news Miller would be out the rest of the season, the young pass rushers stepped up.
Greg Rousseau had a monster game in a 20-12 win over the Jets with two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.
“We know we gotta step up but Von’s still with us. He’s still paying attention, he’s still in our meetings, on the phone, zoom all that. We’re doing it, we’re doing it for him, we’re doing it for us, so we don’t see it as he’s out. We just see it as we gotta step up, do our one eleventh out there and make plays and get the job done,” Rousseau said after the game.
Ever since the offseason, Sean McDermott has talked about how important it is for this young trio of Rousseau, Boogie Basham and A.J. Epenesa to take that next step in their development and become “primary contributors” for this defense.
Epenesa ended with a sack, five tackles and a pass breakup against the Jets as well.
“It gives us a whole bunch of confidence, I mean we all believe in each other, believe in ourselves that we can go out there and win these one-on-one’s and make big plays. But now that things have unfolded the way they have we just have that much more belief in each other,” Epenesa said in the locker room after the game.
As a team, the Bills had four sacks and Shaq Lawson had the other. He started at defensive end opposite of Rousseau for the second straight game, and this game gave him extra juice facing his former team.
“This game was a little personal for me, I took this to heart. I got cut last year before the last game of the season, before we played Buffalo. I mean I feel like it was just a shot to my face so when I made that play, every tackle I made I just let the whole sideline over there hear me and feel me,” Lawson said following the game.
He said he celebrated a little longer after his sack for a loss of 11 in the fourth quarter.
“I probably ran 50 yards but I was just letting them know I still got it.”
And being one of the older guys in the Bills defensive end room, he continues to help bring along the younger guys.
“All our d-ends are either first or second round picks in the past, I mean they drafted them and they brought me back for a reason so I feel like we can do it. And that’s what I tell them boys, continue to have faith.”