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All-22 analysis: Buffalo Bills defense a bull in a china shop against Houston Texans

We could all use a pick-me-up, so here’s an All-22 defensive highlight-reel from the Bills vs. Texans

Buffalo Bills v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

It’s been quite the ride the last few days for the Buffalo Bills with no shortage of bad news. It started with lackluster quarterback play from Josh Allen against the Houston Texans. That went from bad to worse when Allen exited the game with a throwing-elbow injury. A glimmer of hope in the form of a Nathan Peterman touchdown was only a mirage as the Bills went on to lose in heartbreaking fashion.

In the aftermath, there’s been no shortage of added drama. The uncertainty of Allen’s elbow prognosis loomed large with threats of him missing time all the way into next season. As fans, we could use a lift. So let’s watch the defense completely dominate the Texans for this week’s All-22!

Play 1

Every turnover. Every sack. Let’s do this! Rafael Bush screams in from the side as the line goes to work. The blitz sets up three different one-on-ones and from there it’s all up to talent. Bush subtly works his way by at full speed while Kyle Williams keeps his arms extended so he can push and disengage. Both close in on Deshaun Watson and the defensive masterpiece is underway.

Play 2

This is the very next play. The guard passes Kyle Williams off to the tackle and Kyle bats him right out of the way. Watson sees Kyle coming at full speed but can’t get away. If he had, Trent Murphy is waiting anyway. And stepping up meant being victimized by Matt Milano. Of interest on this play, usually Milano is closer to the line than Tremaine Edmunds but pre-snap they switch it up. At the snap, they take on their more typical roles adding yet another layer to the deception. And yeah, Jerry Hughes drops into coverage. The versatility on the defense has allowed the Bills to frequently confuse opponents this year.

Play 3

Lorenzo Alexander is filling in for Trent Murphy and is able to bend right around Kendall Lamm. Alexander gets to Watson incredibly fast (and hits the thigh to avoid a penalty). While Watson is wrapped up, Kyle Williams overpowers Zach Fulton and strips the ball from Watson. Eddie Yarbrough and Harrison Phillips have also shut down their half of the pocket. In addition to versatile players, the quality of depth on the defense has allowed for big plays at any moment.

Play 4

The Bills have used this speed package on the defensive line to great effect this year. Alexander subs in as a tackle and the ends are in the infamous “Wide 9” alignment (well outside the tackles). Alexander chips the guard as Murphy stunts behind to attack the same block. He swims right over the top and Watson is only saved as a result of what looks like Murphy trying to avoid a penalty. Watson tries to escape but Alexander introduces him to the turf yet again. The resulting off-target pass is there for the taking and Jordan Poyer is more than happy to step up.

Play 5

Lorenzo Alexander forces the second interception as well, as his excellent day continues. Watson’s pocket disappears like a magic trick. As he attempts to make a play over a sea of Bills, Alexander tips the pass to himself.

Play 6

Here’s the depth players again as the backup defensive line gets to Watson. Eddie Yarbrough rockets in, flushing Watson out. Meanwhile, Harrison Phillips and Shaq Lawson have collapsed their half of the pocket leaving a narrow lane for Watson to possibly scramble through. Both Phillips and Lawson spin off their blocks and it’s Lawson who gets there first. Pre-season murmurs that Lawson has put in the time to refine his game seem to have been undersold.

Play 7

Trent Murphy and Jerry Hughes are both facing a single blocker. They almost eerily mirror each other and converge on Watson. The ball comes loose and Harrison Phillips is there to recover.

Play 8

More trickery as the Bills only rush three on this play. What’s incredible is how effectively those three make Watson uncomfortable. Lorenzo Alexander drops back to spy the quarterback. As Watson sees what he thinks is daylight, Alexander is there to “nope” all over his scramble.

Play 9

Hughes swims right over Julie’n Davenport and is in Watson’s face immediately. Kyle has easily moved around Senio Kelemete and forces Watson to choose the Bill who will take him down. Stand tall and get hit by Kyle? Step up and get enveloped by Star Lotulelei? Or try to run to the edge and get chased down by Hughes? As you can see, Hughes gets the hit and another strip sack. That brings the total to three forced fumbles (one recovered), two interceptions and seven sacks.

It’s frankly amazing that there’s really no need to stop at nine plays. Above we have the best of the defensive line, but the back end more than held their own. Many of these sacks were helped by tight coverage in the secondary.