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Chan Gailey explains why Bills stayed in nickel defense

By Jay Skurski

With the New England Patriots piling up yardage at a historic pace Sunday, you might have asked yourself why the Bills stayed with their nickel defense, which has linebacker Bryan Scott and cornerback Justin Rogers on the field, as opposed to their base 4-3 scheme with linebackers Arthur Moats and Kelvin Sheppard.

Coach Chan Gailey explained Monday: "We tried to play eight in the box, and they were still running the football. We’ve got to make sure that we play more on their side of the line of scrimmage. We played on our side of the line of scrimmage too much," the coach said. "We’ve got to create more penetration, linebackers more downhill, things like that. That’s the one thing you can do to create a difference. If we play them again, that would be our thought process, how can we play more on their side on the line of scrimmage?"

The Patriots became just the second team in NFL history to have a 300-yard passer (Tom Brady), two 100-yard receiverst (Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski) and two 100-yard running backs (Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen).

Gailey said going back to the 4-3 to slow the Patriots on the ground was an option, but cautioned, "you have to choose what you want to do there because you do not match up nearly as well."

New England gained 580 yards -- the most the Bills have ever given up in a home game.

With Barnett and Scott at linebacker, both of whom weigh less than 230 pounds, the Bills do not have ideal personnel on the field to stop the run.

"That is a concern, and that's where you have to weigh who's going to play in there. How do you play your ends, how do you play your tackles? How much do you blitz to try to offset some of that? We know the problems, and how do you offset some of that," Gailey said.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |