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Mark Gaughan’s Matchup Winners: Joe Barry’s ‘D’ much better than Rex’s

Joe Barry vs. Rex Ryan

The Bills can’t fall back on excuses this week. Yes, the Buffalo defense is banged up without starters Stephon Gilmore, Nigel Bradham, Aaron Williams and Kyle Williams. But the Washington defense has lost five starters to injury since the start of the season. Still, Buffalo’s defense had five former first-round draft picks on the field and one second-rounder. Washington’s had one first-rounder and one second. Buffalo let Washington roll up 261 yards in the first half. Kirk Cousins completed 22 of 28 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns. Washington’s offense was ranked 25th in the NFL. Barry was the defensive coordinator of the 0-16 Detroit Lions in 2008. Barry has his defenders playing together. In winning three of the last four games, Washington has yielded an average of 17 points per game.

Kirk Cousins vs. Tyrod Taylor

Cousins outplayed Taylor because he was a little better throwing from the pocket. But let’s consider the degree of difficulty. Washington’s defense put far more pressure on the quarterback than Buffalo’s. Taylor was knocked around all day long, taking five sacks to just one for Cousins. Taylor produced 314 yards (235 passing and 79 rushing). Cousins produced 330 yards (319 passing and 11 rushing). Cousins had five TDs, counting his scramble for a score. Taylor produced two TDs. Chris Hogan dropped a well-thrown bomb by Taylor. In the red zone, Cousins threw a perfect fade-pattern TD. Taylor overthrew Sammy Watkins on a fourth-down fade pass. It was the sixth 300-yard passing game for Cousins, who has 22 TD passes and 11 interceptions on the season. Taylor has yet to throw for 300 yards in a game. He has 20 TD passes and five INTs.

Ryan Kerrigan vs. Jordan Mills

Washington’s best defensive player was too much for the Bills’ journeyman, stop-gap right tackle. Kerrigan, the 16th overall pick in the 2011 draft, finished with onlythree tackles. But he was a problem for the Bills all game long. Kerrigan beat Mills on a third-and-5 play in the secondquarter to run Taylor into Jason Hatcher for a 9-yard loss. Hatcher beat John Miller. On the next series, Kerrigan beat Mills with an outside move for a 7-yard sack. Kerrigan had two more hurries against Mills but Taylor escaped the pocket on scrambles. In the fourth quarter, Kerrigan forced Mills into a holding penalty. Then late in the game he came unblocked off the right side but Preston Smith got to Taylor first after leaping over a poor cut block by Cordy Glenn. Kerrigan had 13.5 sacks last year. He has 8.5 this year.