Last weekend, Tom Brady dropped 466 passing yards on what was supposed to be one of the NFL's best defenses in the NFL. The New England Patriots quarterback got the ball out quick, negating the Buffalo Bills' expensive, expensive pass rush.
Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman addressed this 40-32 loss on Thursday.
A lot went wrong that day but he doesn't view the pass rush as the primary problem.
"You can't prevent a guy from throwing the ball that quickly. No one can," Thurman said. "But once it's out of his hand to whatever receiver he's targeting, if he's going to catch it you have to be there to minimize the gain."
So as a couple players noted after the game, maybe the coverage behind this quarter-billion dollar pass rush was the issue. The Bills' defensive backs played off the Patriots' receivers, giving them room to operate underneath. Slot receiver Julian Edelman, for one, was targeted 19 times.
Asked if the Bills will bring their cover corners up, Thurman said "We'll find out on Sunday."
So just as a run-heavy scheme may be the adjustment on offense, tighter coverage with the likes of Stephon Gilmore, Ronald Darby, Nickell Robey and the linebackers could be the adjustment on defense.
As long as the Bills do it, you know, within the confines of the rules. Penalties have been up across the league, especially here with the NFL leaders.
"You know I'm not going to touch that," Thurman said. "Roger Goodell has a fine system.
"Sports are played with your eyes and your feet. Your eyes show you where to go. Your feet get you there. When you're using your hands, you're probably not going to be very effective."
As for the communication issues on defense --- something players noted afterward --- Thurman said it's about "talking, hand signals, the usual." With Aaron Williams recovering from his neck injury, the Bills lose a big part of this communication, too. Bacarri Rambo has worked with the starters next to Corey Graham at safety, as Duke Williams has also gotten reps.
Thurman was sure to point the finger back at the defensive coaches, too. Very quickly, they realized their plan for the Patriots was flawed.
"You have to go out and get your job done," Thurman said. "It's that simple. It started with the coaching staff, it's not just the players. It started with us. Our gameplan wasn't up to par. We knew it midway through the second quarter. We felt like we didn't give our players the best opportunity to win the football game."