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Defense steps up in Bills' 27-17 win over Chargers

Chargers Bills Football
Posted at 9:53 PM, Nov 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-29 21:53:22-05

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — Three turnovers in just seven offensive snaps certainly isn't a recipe for success. But the 2020 Bills got a 2019-level effort on defense against the Los Angeles Chargers to help seal the deal. It's been somewhat of a rarity compared to the standard the Bills set last season.

"The mindset never changes. Once we're out there, it's all about taking the ball away and trying to get the offense back to the offense with good field position," safety Micah Hyde said. "The defense was making plays in the second half, and that's what we needed."

"Anytime we have turnovers and there's a sudden change and the offense has some momentum, we have to take it away fast," linebacker A.J. Klein said. "Whether that's creative negative plays on first and second down, and getting them off the field on third down... and we got a big turnover by [Tre'Davious White]."

White's second interception of the year couldn't have come at a better time for Buffalo. It was something the secondary had picked up on throughout the game.

"We had seen the same formation and the same route a couple times," safety Jordan Poyer said. "[White] saw a key and he was able to make the play on the football for our team. Tre played outstanding today."

Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert was a point of emphasis all week as the Bills prepared for the Chargers. He put together 312 yards through the air, but along with White's interception, the Oregon product was also sacked three times.

"The plan was to get [Herbert] rattled. You know, put bodies in his face. I think we were able to do that on some plays," Hyde said. "I felt like he did a good job, but we were able to get after him a few times."

Of the three sacks, A.J. Klein contributed to one and a half of them. He had three tackles for loss and 14 total tackles in his best game as a Buffalo Bill. It's only building upon what he's accomplished the last few weeks with a larger role.

"I feel like I'm just playing more free. Faster reacting, and now I'm not thinking as much," Klein said. "I think the less I'm thinking, the more I'm reacting. And just trying to play football and have fun, the better I play."

Klein's resurgence has also contributed to an improved run defense for Buffalo. The Chargers were held to just 76 yards on the ground and barely mustered three yards per carry. The emphasis on that spilled over into the bye week as well; it's something the Bills have struggled with for most of the season.

"We knew that was one of our biggest issues," Poyer said. "We stayed composed, we were able to find a takeaway... and so we'll just take that momentum into the next couple weeks."

The Bills' next game is a Monday night matchup with the San Francisco 49ers. But as of Sunday night, there's no definite location for the game due to COVID-19's impact on Santa Clara County.

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