Monday, October 18, 2004

Defense Pressure Creates Turnover, Bills Win

Gregg Pastore,

Why is history important - or even significant? It's been said that those who ignore history, are condemned to repeat it.

The Bills have played the Dolphins at least twice every season since 1966. The home team has now won 12 of the past 17 games and the team winning the turnover battle has taken 15 of the past 16.

Sunday's meeting between the two teams, before a crowd of 72,714 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY, offered proof of that old axiom.

The Bills defense did in fact win the battle, 1-0, and the lone turnover proved to be the difference as the Bills etched their first victory of the season, 20-13.

On Miami's second possession, Bills linebacker Takeo Spikes stepped in front of a Jay Fielder screen pass intended for fullback Ron Konrad and returned it 11 yards untouched for the game's first points.

"It was basically a man-to-man play, and I knew the guy had to account for the blitzer coming from the outside," said Spikes. "Once I saw him faking like he was going to block, I knew he was going to run the screen, so instead I just ran in the gap where he had to throw it, and Fiedler threw it and I knew I had to make the play"

Although the Bills defense didn't force another turnover the rest of the way, they were disruptive throughout the remainder of the game. Defensive end Aaron Schobel had 2 ½ sacks, for his seventh multi-sack game of his career, and defensive tackle Ron Edwards added a pair sacks as the Bills limited Miami to 212 yards of net offense.

On several occasions, Fielder was forced to rush his throws by blitzing Bills players.

The Bills also did a good job of making adjustments.

After former Bills running back Sammy Morris rushed for 81 yards on 12 carries in the first half, the defense put eight guys in the box and contained Miami in the second half, holding him to 10 yards on six rushes.

Buffalo has not given up a 100-yard individual rushing performance this season and dating back to the beginning of 2003, the Bills defense has yielded only three individual rushing performances in the last 21 games.

With the first win of the season behind them, the Bills are now focusing on another streak.

"It's been a long time since we've gotten a win," said Fletcher. "A lot of people in Western New York can go have a good week at work now. A lot of guys sleep easier tonight. But, we still have a long to go to be the type of football team we want to be."