After their first six games of the season, the Buffalo Bills may not have statistically been the NFL's worst defense, but anyone with half a brain knew the Bills were at the bottom of the barrel. In those six games - all losses - the Bills surrendered 33 points per game (including more than 34 points in five straight games), 379 total yards per game, and a whopping 175 rushing yards per game. They forced just four turnovers in those games, with three of them coming in a home loss to Jacksonville.
Things are quickly improving for Buffalo's defense. Statistically, they are not performing well, but vast improvement in two critical areas has allowed the Bills to play four consecutive strong football games, and it was the defense that carried the team to its first win of the season yesterday against Detroit.
In their last three games (Buffalo is 1-2 in those contests), the Bills are allowing opponents to score just 15.7 points per game. That's less than half the total they allowed during their 0-6 start. They are slightly worse defending the pass (allowing six more yards per game on average), but only because they've shaved a clean 25 yards off of their per-game rushing average, allowing 152 rushing yards in their last three games. That's even counting a dismal run defense performance in Kansas City; Chicago and Detroit have averaged 90.5 rushing yards in Buffalo's last two games. Perhaps most importantly, the Bills have also forced four more turnovers in those three games, equaling their output during the 0-6 start.
Buffalo's defense is now keeping scores manageable and making offenses more one-dimensional. It's no wonder the team is playing much more competitive football.