The Buffalo Bills squeaked out a 24-22 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers to bring their winning streak to three games. During that three-game stretch, the team’s defense has played a key role during the biggest moments of each game.
As you may recall, defensive tackle Ed Oliver signed a four-year $68 million contract extension this offseason — and he’s earned every penny of that deal to this point. The 2019 first-round draft pick has been one of the most consistent and impactful defensive players this season, and his latest effort saw him record two huge sacks in the fourth quarter against the Chargers.
Let’s take a look at how Oliver was able to make a difference throughout last weekend’s victory.
Oliver made this look too easy. He locked the blocker out at the snap and looked into the backfield to find the ball. Once the runner committed, Oliver disengaged from the blocker and got in on the tackle.
Oliver performed a lighting-quick spin move to get off of the initial blocker and then found himself stood up by the center on the inside. Oliver doesn’t get knocked back though. He was still able to put pressure in quarterback Easton Stick’s face during the throw and helped cause an incompletion.
Nothing shows how much teams respect Oliver more than him getting triple-teamed on a pass rush. Since so much attention and resources are allocated to stopping Oliver on this play, his fellow teammate found himself to be free rusher toward the QB, which caused a bad throw.
These next two plays helped set up the sack at the end of the game. Notice here that Oliver used a stutter-step-and-go move and then worked inside with a bull rush to collapse the pocket. Ed Oliver is a disruptor and that’s exactly what he did during this play.
Oliver used the same stutter-and-go move to the inside for this play, but he ended up working back across the guard’s face to an open rush lane. He didn’t get the sack, but he made the QB move up in the pocket to his fellow defensive lineman — who recorded the sack.
Oliver is known for his high motor and he put it on display during this rep. His initial pass rush was stymied by a double team, but Oliver didn’t give up. Once he saw the QB break the pocket he worked back across the line of scrimmage and chased the QB down for a sack.
This might have been the biggest play of the game. This sack effectively put an end to the Chargers’ last-chance drive at the end of the game. The Chargers had no timeouts left and a sack not only pushed them back but kept the clock running. Refer to plays four and five above where Oliver used the stutter-and-go pass-rush move on the same guard. In both of those plays, he went inside. But for this play, he accelerated to the outside. The offensive guard was expecting an inside move from Oliver, but he switched it up and was able to bend around the corner with a shoulder dip and seal the game with a huge sack.
Ed Oliver has been a bright spot on Buffalo’s defense all season long, and the Buffalo Bills will need him to continue his dominant play as a true game-changing enforcer along the line of scrimmage as they make their push toward the playoffs. Oliver is making good on his contract extension and has become a leader and impact player on the defensive front. Oliver’s entering the prime years of his career and it’ll be fun to watch him go to work for the Bills for at least another four years.