The Buffalo Bills made an attempt to bolster their pass rush this off-season when they handed out $115 million in contracts to defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. Through three games, the Bills' new pass-rushing duo has combined for 2.5 sacks, and both are coming off of very strong performances in Sunday's 24-14 win over the Cleveland Browns.
Make no mistake about it, however: it's the Bills' defensive tackles that are making the new-look defensive line tick right now.
Kyle Williams is clearly back to his 2010 form after missing most of the 2011 season with an Achilles injury that required off-season surgery. Consistently the most disruptive force on the defensive line, Williams already has three sacks this season, and has been the best player on defense by a considerable margin.
Marcell Dareus has also flashed dominance in the early goings, though he has not been nearly as consistently disruptive as Williams has. With 1.5 sacks on the season already, Dareus has been much more noticeable defending the run, where he consistently eats up double teams and allows his teammates to make plays.
Even the team's two reserves, Spencer Johnson and Alex Carrington, have gotten into the act. Both players are getting roughly one-third of the team's snaps spelling the two starters; Johnson has been stout at the point of attack and batted two passes down at the line of scrimmage in Cleveland, while Carrington has flashed the ability to beat guards with ease as an interior pass rusher, registering a sack and forced fumble in Week 2 against Kansas City.
Buffalo's ends - including Chris Kelsay - have cranked up their play of late against two teams that looked pretty bad. The defensive tackle quartet has looked good from the get-go - Williams in particular - and appear poised to reap the benefits of playing alongside quality edge defenders for the first time in recent memories. Right now, Williams looks like an eventual Pro Bowl shoo-in, and the group as a whole has been excellent.