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Bills DE Greg Rousseau impresses against Jets

Rousseau steps up as a force on the edge in Von Miller’s absence

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

Buffalo Bills defensive end Greg Rousseau stuffed the stat sheet in Sunday’s 20-12 victory over the New York Jets with two sacks, a forced fumble, a pass defended, and two quarterback hits. He has continued to impress since returning from and injury, and since the team lost edge rusher Von Miller for the season. Let’s take an All-22 look into how Rousseau faired in Week 14 against the Jets.

Greg Rousseau sacks Mike White

The first thing I noticed about this play is how explosive defensive tackle Ed Oliver is once the ball is snapped. He almost gets the sack right off bat, and is the reason this play was disrupted. When the play starts, Rousseau seems to be playing the run more than trying to pass rush. Once he sees quarterback Mike White break out of the pocket, he does a nice job of getting off his block and using his long reach to sack White before he gets out of the pocket.

Greg Rousseau’s bull rush

The defense doesn’t always need to get a sack in order to make a difference. Sometimes a quarterback pressure is all that’s needed to cause an off-target throw. Rousseau does a fantastic job of exploding into the offensive tackle and driving him backward into the pocket. This causes White to be just off target, resulting in an incompletion.

Greg Rousseau disrupts screen pass with deflection

Different game, but the same story of Rousseau knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage. Even when he isn’t getting to the quarterback, he’s still affecting passing lanes with his length. What an advantage for the Bills’ defense to have his presence closing down throwing windows at the line of scrimmage.

Greg Rousseau strip-sack of Mike White

Another impressive bull rush from Rousseau on this play. What I love most about this rush is he’s able to have enough presence to tell when he’s at the depth of the quarterback. In doing so, he can disengage from the block and put a big hit on the passer, causing a fumble. These turnovers are huge momentum shifts in close games, and exactly what the Bills need as they approach the playoffs.

Don’t block Greg Rousseau one-on-one with a tight end

Rousseau shows some athleticism on this rush, and handily beats the tight end trying to block him by using a quick outside step and then sliding back inside. It helps that the Bills bring two extra rushers with a blitz to Rousseau’s side, which allows cornerback Dane Jackson to run free and Rousseau to have a one-on-one matchup with a tight end. With Jackson bearing down on White and Rousseau putting his hands up, there is nowhere for White to throw the ball, which results in a knocked-down pass.

Greg Rousseau reading the play fake

The Jets run play-action here, which causes Rousseau to pause his pass rush to check for the run. He locks out his defender with his long arms as he looks into the backfield, and then — when he realizes it is a pass play — he quickly disengages his block, takes off after the quarterback, and alters the pass to force an incompletion.

In summary

Greg Rousseau is arguably Buffalo’s best pass rusher now that edge rusher Von Miller is done for the rest of the season due to injury. He will be a vital part of Buffalo’s postseason run, and will be depended on to be the new “closer” for the defensive line. Could the rest of this season be Rousseau’s opportunity to become a top pass rusher in the league?