Second-half defensive heater is the difference in Bills 30-23 victory over Vegas

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Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson (90) recovers a fumble by the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — For the first time in the 2020 season, the Bills defense stepped up and played shutdown defense in the second half to take down the Las Vegas Raiders 30-23 on Sunday.

“We knew what happened those first three games, so we just took it upon ourselves, we wanted to learn from our mistakes and didn’t want to let that happen again,” Bills defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson said. “Our offense put up some points, and as a D-Line, the [Raiders offense] had to get guys out to go out for routes, so we were able to get our rushers out, that really helped too by getting some pressure on Carr making him step up, or low balls or whatever it may be, but it really helped. Our DB’s took it upon themselves to lock up guys, so it kinda helped.”

In what has been a taper off in the second half of the first three games of the season, the Bills played a completely different game against the Raiders.

Two forced fumbles, the first by Josh Norman in his first game as a Bill, and the second by Quinton Jefferson, changed the course of the game.

“The guys really invited me to the party. It was one of those things, it was a pizza party, and I was like shoot I’m knocking on the door, y’all not going to let me in? So I had to kick it down,” Bills cornerback Josh Norman joked about the play. “Coach was saying, “somebody make a play. Somebody make a play,” so I went out and made a play. I had my old T.O. mindset out there. Those guys are all hungry and ready to go out there and make something happen, so I’m glad we did that thing as a collective unit.”

Following Norman’s fumble recovery, Buffalo went on to take a four play, 60 yard drive to score the game-winning touchdown.

But what was more important for the Bills is that it brought a new life to the defense.

“That’s football. You build off the momentum of the plays that you make,” Bills safety Jordan Poyer said. “Obviously defensively we needed to make a play, then Josh Norman made a play, and that just carried into the next series and then the series after that.”

“We all feed off each other, we’re all out there juicing up each other, trying to make plays, not trying to wait for the next guy to make a play, we make a play,” Jefferson said. “It started with Josh, then little DJ made a play, then I was fortunate enough to make a play. We just gotta keep doing that at all levels, everybody taking it upon themselves to bring that juice and make a play.”

The Bills allowed Vegas only 86 rushing yards, another testament to the strength of the Buffalo defensive line.

“They played outstanding, made plays, strip sacks, they played lights out. I don’t know how many rushing yards they had, but I don’t think it was many,” Poyer said.

“It’s a long season. We’re just starting to mesh together, still getting a feel for each other. We’re only going up,” Bills defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson said. “We’re going to keep growing and keep meshing together, I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

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