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Bills run D slowing down the pace

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills haven't been asked to corral Gale Sayers lately, but their run defense has been highly effective lately.

Three games in a row, Dave Wannstedt's defense has held an opponent to less than 90 yards rushing and no more than 3.0 yards a carry.

The Jacksonville Jaguars ran 18 times for 50 yards Sunday. They had four rushing first downs. The Bills run defense played a significant role in the Jaguars converting only one of 11 third downs and none of their fourth-down attempts.

"We've got some guys running downhill, and everybody's been in the right spot," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "We've got guys playing the cutback. We've got guys filling the front-side hole. Everybody's being a lot more consistent about filling the correct gap.

"If I had to say there's one thing, that's the one thing. We are playing a lot more physical now than we were a month and a half ago."

Not worrying about Maurice Jones-Drew didn't hurt, but Buffalo's run defense still is on a nice streak.

The Indianapolis Colts ran 29 times for 87 yards last week. The Miami Dolphins had 24 carries for 60 yards a week before that.

Before this three-game stretch, the Bills ranked dead last in rushing yards per game (163.7) and yards per carry (5.5). The NFL averages at the time were 113.8 yards a game and 4.2 yards a carry.

Since then, the Bills have lowered those averages considerably, to 139.2 yards per game and 4.9 yards a carry.

Buffalo has put together a string of five straight games of keeping an opponent under the league averages on the ground. The Houston Texans ran 32 times for 118 yards in Week Nine, and the New England Patriots ran 29 times for 117 yards in Week 10.

Buffalo also has not allowed a running back to score a rushing touchdown three straight games. Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne scored on a 1-yard bootleg Sunday.

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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 | tgraham@buffnews.com


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 | mgaughan@buffnews.com


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 | jskurski@buffnews.com

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