Bills Defense | Tampa 2 Defense Wins


Head Coach Sean McDermott hangs his hat on his defense’s performance. That was readily apparent last weekend versus the New York Jets. The Bills’ defense, led by defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, upheld the respect of their new head coach.

New York could only muster up 38 rushing yards and 176 passing yards against the Bills’ stout unit. The combination of play calls, defenders’ discipline, and execution all played a part in the win.

The coaches schemed up ways to confuse Jets QB Josh Mccown. They showed several looks pre-snap, but then changed the post-snap picture on him. Disguising coverages is McDermott’s forte.

This caused McCown to get rid of the ball quickly, often throwing it short of the chains. For example, on the following third down play in the second quarter, the Bills want to bait McCown to throw it short, so they show pressure in the form of a double A gap blitz, another McDermott staple. The defensive backs show man coverage. Johnson is in press, as Gaines is in off coverage to the bottom of the screen. White shows man coverage to the top of the screen as well.

With the appearance of a double A gap blitz, McCown has to get rid of the ball. But as the ball is snapped, the defense drops into a Tampa 2 look. Johnson presses the wide receiver wide and then drops to his hook-to-curl responsbilities. McCown delivers, and Johnson is in perfect position to limit YAC and force fourth down.

The Jets were 4/14 on third down in week one, and that simply cannot win games. On this 3rd-and-8 play, the Jets have a great passing concept to beat the Bills’ coverage. Pre-snap, Buffalo again shows press man coverage. Post-snap, they drop into Tampa 2; the Jets counter with a smash concept. This concept is the kryptonite of cover 2. It is a high/low concept that attacks corners.


Even though the coaches dial up a money play, the execution fails. At the line of scrimmage, QB McCown appears to change the pass protection. The offensive linemen aren’t on the same page, and the miscommunication leaves LB Lorenzo Alexander and DE Jerry Hughes unblocked. The pressure doesn’t allow McCown to set and throw to the corner route that would be wide open. Instead, he is flushed from the pocket and forces a late throw, one that Poyer leaps to and brings down for the interception.



With the Bills up 21-12 and 1:44 left in the game, DC Frazier doesn’t hide anything. The Bills are showing a two high shell, and LB Preston Brown is manning the deep middle. It’s obviously going to be a Tampa 2 defense. The Jets have another phenomenal cover 2 beater, as they attack CB EJ Gaines with a high/low concept.


This would normally be an easy pitch and catch. Whichever receiver Gaines jumps, the QB would throw it to the opposite. But Gaines knows the down, distance, and situation as a whole. He shows tremendous discipline, ‘zone eyes’, and spacing into the boundary, causing McCown to second-guess throwing it on time. McCown double-clutches and reloads.

Safety Micah Hyde does his job just as well. He also gets to his landmark as the split field safety, just inside the numbers. As the receiver breaks for the sideline, Hyde does, too.

Simultaenously, DE Shaq Lawson, who is at defensive tackle, is running a twist with Lorenzo Alexander, and Zo comes free. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams and DE Jerry Hughes freestyle and run a ‘game’ of their own.

The pressure from the looping Williams and inside rush by Alexander put just enough pressure on McCown. Hyde drives and high points the pass for the interception to seal the win.

The defense played one hell of a game, and their ability to disguise coverages, change looks pre-snap to post-snap, AND for the defenders to execute their given assignments, will be critical as Buffalo moves forward.