ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — If there's anything this Buffalo Bills team has been able to consistently rely on, it's their defense. The unit once again showed up in the team's week 17 game against the New York Jets on Sunday, dominating from start to finish and ending the regular season on a high note.
"We show up each and every practice, try to get better, emphasize takeaways, the line getting after the quarterback, the back seven getting after the football, and it's just a blessing," safety Micah Hyde said about the defense. "It just shows the love we have on this defense and the guys just want to go out there and play for each other."
The team was facing rookie QB Zack Wilson for the first time in his young career after he missed the week 10 game back in October. Wilson had been playing really well over the last few weeks, but that went away on Sunday when the Bills defense made him uncomfortable from the first snap.
The pass rush dominated the line of scrimmage, registering nine sacks for 82 yards with Jordan Poyer and Mario Addison leading the team with two a piece.
"Everybody was on it today. It seemed like everyone was flying around. He [Wilson] wanted to run around and that opened things up and everybody was just rushing," defensive tackle Ed Oliver [two TFL, 1.5 sacks] said. "That was exciting to see in a game like this with so much on the line."
"Those guys are a huge part of what we do on defense," safety Jordan Poyer said about the defensive line. "When they go, we all go, and it's a fun group to be a part of."
The stat sheet shows just how good this Bills defense was on a day where the offense struggled to find consistency. The defense allowed just four first downs and 53 total yards [1.2 yards per play], and kept the Jets out of the red zone.
"That was a dominating performance," head coach Sean McDermott said. "It is Leslie's [Frazier] defense and those coaches have done a phenomenal job. It was an outstanding performance tonight and there'll be bigger challenges ahead."
With the regular season over, the Bills defense finishes as the top unit in the NFL. They led the league in pass defense [163 ypg], scoring defense [16.9 pts allowed], and yards allowed [272.8 ypg].
"Big praise to coach Frazier the way he's called the defense all year, the leadership we have with our captains and the older vets in the room, and the growth of players like Ed and guys stepping up," defensive tackle Harrison Phillips said. "It takes 11 players every play to be a successful defense and we've had that happen more times than not."
And they did all of that without one of their top defensive guys in cornerback Tre'Davious White, who suffered a season-ending injury back in November. The Bills secondary entered Sunday's post game press conference as a unit, speaking and answering questions as a unit, and laid White's jersey on the table during the Q&A portion.
"It shows the love we have for each other. These are my best friends," Poyer said. "We've been putting the work in ever since we stepped foot in this building. It's extremely special to win the AFC East at home. We definitely wish 27 was here but we know he's gonna bounce back."
"They're together in every way, shape, and form," McDermott added. "When they lose a guy like that or anyone for that matter, we miss those guys and the they're a part of this with us."
The Bills will be back inside Highmark Stadium next weekend for Wild Card weekend. The team's opponent and schedule has yet to be determined.