For months, the Buffalo Bills weren't sure if they'd face Tom Brady in Week 2. The four-time Super Bowl champion faced a four-game suspension for his alleged role in "Deflategate."
So much for that.
Here comes Brady again. Ralph Wilson Stadium has so often been the quarterback's home away from home — the last three wins he has completed 62 percent of his passes for 989 yards with nine touchdowns and only one interception. Indeed, the AFC East still goes through the Patriots, through Brady. Another game against Jimmy Garoppolo would've been a mirage more than anything else.
“You always want to play the best," Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams said. "My favorite wrestler growing up was Ric Flair. To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man. You always look forward to a great challenge and I think we’ve got the guys who are up for it.”
No, Williams didn't let out a "Woooooo!" But point taken.
And at 38 years old, Brady is still as good as he ever has been.
This Bills' defense excelled under both Mike Pettine and Jim Schwartz. But for as great as the unit was against Aaron Rodgers, it was the same old story against Brady in 2013 and 2014. Under Rex Ryan, confusion reigns. As we wrote in our day-after analysis, Ryan got into Andrew Luck's head. The blitz and illusion of the blitz confused the Indianapolis Colts quarterback. And Williams was surprisingly a major part of that, too. The 6-foot-1, 303-pound veteran stood upright next to the 5-foot-8, 165-pound Nickell Robey on one Robey sack, moving around just as the likes of Manny Lawson and Jerry Hughes do.
Ryan is the one coach who has had success against Brady. Expect more disguise in Week 2 and beyond.
"We're going to line up all over the place," Williams said. "I'm going to line up all over the place. Mario, Jerry, everybody's going to line up all over the place. It's something that you have to get comfortable with. We tried to comfortable in OTA's and training camp. You can tell what the confusion and the disguise can do to an offense. Whether we're blitzing four or more or whether we're just bringing four. We're giving that look. It's a good thing for us to do, especially against those elite quarterbacks.
"You have to be able to throw wrinkles at them to confuse them. You can't just line up and say, 'Hey, this is what we're going to do,' because they'll find a weakness in it."
Asked if he enjoys this new role, Williams repeated that "it's different," but is all for it if it works.
"Rushing three, rushing four, bringing everybody," he said. "It's the sum of all the parts and all the different things that we can do that makes us dangerous."
Granted, there isn't too much that Brady, the NFL's Ric Flair, hasn't seen scheme-wise. From Ryan, from anyone. He has played in 239 career games.
Williams wasn't surprised by the defense's success against Indianapolis — it was "expected," he said, after such a strong week of practice.
This week, it's on the Bills to devise another effective plan.
"He's probably seen a good bit of everything," Williams said. "And he's adjusted well to everything. So as he adjusts during the game, we're going to have to adjust. He's going to continue to compete all the way for 60 minutes. He's never going to shut down. As the game goes along, we're going to have to adjust the way that they adjust."