Buffalo Bills Defense Making More Big Plays

MIAMI FL - DECEMBER 19: Quarterback Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins is pressured by Linebacker Chris Kelsay #90 of the Buffalo Bills during a game at Sun Life Stadium on December 19 2010 in Miami Florida. The Bills defeated the Dolphins 17-14. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Thanks to an abysmal start to the season in which they gave up 34 or more points in five of their first six games, the Buffalo Bills still only have the NFL's 23rd-ranked defense despite recent improvements. They are still the NFL's worst run defense, though the major gap that they held over the competition for that title has been narrowed dramatically by their own sturdier run defense as well as the "efforts" of the Denver Broncos.

Since starting 0-8, however, the Bills have reeled off four wins in their last six contests. At 4-2 since the midpoint of the season, only the Patriots (6-0) and Chargers (5-1) have better records in the AFC than Buffalo. (The Ravens, Jaguars, Chiefs, Jets and Steelers are also 4-2 in that time frame.) One of the biggest developments behind Buffalo's improvement has been their propensity to make big plays defensively.

Buffalo has forced at least one opponent turnover in each of their past seven games, and have forced multiple turnovers in four of their past five contests. During their 4-2 run, they've forced 14 turnovers. They've also done a better job pressuring the passer, with three multiple-sack performances in their past five games. The Bills have only registered 25 sacks this season - that's the fifth-lowest total in the league - but 13 of those 25 sacks have come during that 4-2 stretch.

Add in two defensive touchdowns - both turned in by Drayton Florence, by the way - and clearly, the Bills are making enough big plays defensively to hang with some good football teams. Chan Gailey's offense gets the bulk of the credit for the turnaround, but George Edwards' defense deserves some love, as well.

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