SB Nation and Gillette have partnered to present a new content series here at Buffalo Rumblings in which, after every Buffalo Bills game, we examine the top five defensive plays of the day.
Naturally, given the way that the Bills have performed defensively of late, writing this type of post - let alone reading it - is a highly difficult and aggravating exercise. In our first run, however, we're going to give it the old college try - all the while hoping that the team turns in a few big plays, circa Weeks 1-5, that will make this series far more tolerable than it will be this evening. Onward!
No. 5: Marcell Dareus stuffs Reggie Bush for a four-yard loss. I don't remember this happening; instead, I found it in the NFL.com play-by-play. If it's there, it happened, but clearly, it was also pretty meaningless. The game was well in hand for Miami.
No. 4: Chris Kelsay bats down a Matt Moore pass. In one of the more athletic plays you'll ever see from Kelsay, the veteran outside linebacker took on a chop block, defeated it, kept his balance, then leaped to bat a Moore pass out of the air. Again, the game was in hand and it was pretty meaningless, but a play's a play.
No. 3: Drayton Florence knocks a ball out of Brandon Marshall's hands. Marshall was held in check by Buffalo, but on this play, he beat Florence pretty cleanly. The veteran cornerback got back in time to knock the ball out of Marshall's hands right as he was going to make the reception. Then Florence ruined the effort by raising his hands in the air as if he were celebrating a pass breakup that ended the Super Bowl; in reality, he was already on the wrong end of a blowout.
No. 2: Nick Barnett sacks Moore. Buffalo's coverage does its job - novel concept - and Moore has nowhere to go with the ball. Barnett, playing a short zone, vacates it and sacks Moore after several excruciating seconds of meandering behind the line of scrimmage. It'll end up being the easiest sack of Barnett's career.
No. 1: Kelvin Sheppard ignites a safety. A quarter of Buffalo's scoring output occurred on an irrelevant safety with the outcome no longer in question. Pinned on their own goal line, Miami ran the ball, but Sheppard hit Dolphins runner Daniel Thomas in the end zone, and the rest of Buffalo's improved run defense had enough push to keep him there. Bam: Dolphins 35, Bills 8. 13 minutes remaining. Can you say comeback? Nope.