The Bills will be playing for their playoff dreams this Sunday against the Patriots and, like the past 17 years, they will need to slow Tom Brady to have any shot. With the secondary playing great football, the pass rush, especially from the d-line, will be the key to finding any success against their division rivals.
One player who will be counted on to make a difference in this game is the veteran all-time Bill, Kyle Williams. According Pro Football Focus’s pass rush grade, Kyle (-2.4) isn’t the force he previously was in this area of the game, but he still’s the Bills’ best inside rusher with 2 sacks, 6 QB hits, and 19 QB hurries. Kyle wins consistently with smarts, experience, a still impressive jump off the snap, and a motor that never stops. No player on the Bills’ roster knows Brady better, and Kyle is very capable of creating havoc inside the pocket, bringing pressure right to Brady’s face, forcing him to move off his spot.
Another key guy to bring the heat at Brady is obviously Jerry Hughes (+1.0 PFF pass rush grade). The Bills’ best pass rusher since Mario Williams left developed into a elite run stopping DE, but he still can rush the passer with his speed and technique. The sacks numbers (3) aren’t there so far, but he leads the team with 25 QB hurries and has nine QB hits.
The wildcard guy who will be very important to the Bills’ success in this game is the veteran pass rushing specialist Ryan Davis (+1.2 PFF PR grade). Since Shaq Lawson’s injury, Davis is rotating with Eddie Yarbrough at the left end spot, instead of with Hughes on the right side. This change has proven to be beneficial for him so far. With Yarbrough’s doing great against the run on early downs, Davis is taking advantage on passing downs. He has 15 QB hurries, 4 QB hits, and a team-leading 4 sacks. Davis is very dangerous rushing the passer because of his variety of moves and his smarts. He knows how to take advantage of one-on-one situations and is showing it in the last few weeks.
Those three guys will lead this group, with the help of Lorenzo Alexander on inside rushes in clear passing situations and Yarbrough, Adolphus Washington, Cedric Thornton, and Cap Capi playing complementary roles. Their performances will determine the success of the defense in slowing down Brady and giving the improving but still inconsistent offense a chance to score enough points to steal this one at Foxborough and keep the playoff dream alive.