Although the Buffalo Bills dropped a 19-7 decision in Baltimore on Sunday, their much-maligned run defense played a key role in keeping the Ravens from getting into the end zone.
The Ravens ran 30 times for 111 yards (3.7 per carry), and it took a 30-yard run in the final two minutes for them to reach the century mark.
The star of the Bills defense on Sunday was rookie DT Kyle Williams, who lived in the backfield. He headlined an outstanding day for the defensive line, which was stouter at the point of attack, did a better job of getting off blocks and made a lot of plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage. With the D-line being active, the linebackers were allowed to flow to the ball and make plays.
Not to be overlooked was the use of Jason Jefferson in the defensive tackle rotation with Williams and Larry Tripplett. The little-used Jefferson played ahead of Tim Anderson, who was inactive. The move obviously worked Sunday as the run defense enjoyed one of its better days.
Here are some plays that illustrate the Bills' success stopping the run:
First and 10 from the Bills' 16: Buffalo counters Baltimore's two-back, two-tight end formation by bringing Coy Wire in as a fourth linebacker. Wire and SS Donte Whitner are close to the line of scrimmage, giving the Bills nine men in the box. RB Jamal Lewis runs to the right, where he has some room. But DE Chris Kelsay dodges FB Ovie Mughelli's block and OLB Takeo Spikes fights off RT Tony Pashos to hold Lewis to a 1-yard gain.
First and 15 from the Ravens' 4: The Bills show an eight-man front with Whitner flanked off of DE Aaron Schobel on the right side. On the snap, DT Tripplett gets double-teamed by RG Chris Chester and LT Adam Terry but doesn't give ground. Williams stands up C Mike Flynn. Mughelli runs into this wall of people and is brought down by Williams and MLB London Fletcher after a gain of 2 yards.
Third and 1 from the Bills' 35: From their base I-formation set, the Ravens run a reverse. They attempt to fool the Bills by pulling Chester to the left and pulling Flynn to the right. QB Steve McNair fakes the handoff to Lewis and hands the ball to WR Derrick Mason coming from left to right. DE Ryan Denney is intentionally not blocked as Baltimore is counting on him going after Lewis. But Denney doesn't bite on the fake handoff and his penetration forces Mason to make a wider turn in the backfield. Although Mason avoids Denney, Williams pursues and slows down Mason by diving at his legs. This gives Fletcher time to corner Mason near the sideline for a 4-yard loss.
First and 10 from the Ravens' 46: Against an eight-man front, the Ravens run to their left side. OLB Keith Ellison attacks the line of scrimmage and gets taken out by Mughelli's block. Lewis has a hole off left guard, but Williams sheds Flynn's block and slices inside to hold Lewis to a 1-yard gain.
First and 10 from the Bills' 24: Wire and Whitner are close to the line of scrimmage and matched up on two tight ends lined up on Baltimore's right side. Lewis runs left. The Ravens get blocks on Spikes and Jefferson. However, Denney pursues down the line and limits Lewis to 1 yard.
First and 10 from the Bills' 25: Running right Lewis has three blocks in front of him. But Kelsay gets away from Pashos to force Lewis inside. Williams nearly pushes Flynn into Lewis and then gets off the block to tackle the back after a 3-yard gain.
First and 10 from the Ravens' 29: Lewis takes the handoff and looks to run to the right side, but Whitner powers through Mason and forces Lewis to alter his route. He can't bounce to the left because Schobel has the outside contained. Lewis cuts up the middle and into the awaiting arms of Williams, who whips Flynn again to stuff Lewis for a 1-yard pickup.
Second and 7 from the Bills' 41: On a run up the middle, Chester walls off Tripplett outside and Williams gets turned inside by Flynn to create a hole for Lewis. But Spikes quickly shoots through the gap and stops Lewis for a 1-yard gain.
* Although QB J.P. Losman threw two big interceptions, he showed toughness and poise against the pressure of the Ravens' pass rush. The Bills' offensive line only allowed three sacks to a team that had 57 entering the game.
* Speaking of pass rush, Bills Pro Bowl DE Schobel wasn't able to generate one. Terry, who replaced injured Ravens Pro Bowler Jonathan Ogden, played well but Baltimore also gave Terry help from a tight end or running back.