Now that was more like it.
The Buffalo Bills rediscovered their pass rush Thursday night, and it paid huge dividends in their 13-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Alltel Stadium.
After recording just five sacks in the first four games, the Bills had a season-high four against the Jaguars. They also had a number of pressures as Jacksonville quarterback Mark Brunell was uncomfortable in the pocket most of the night and often had to scramble out of harm's way.
It was the kind of performance Bills coach Gregg Williams promised when he brought to Buffalo the highly aggressive 4-3 defensive scheme he used with the Tennessee Titans.
The oft-maligned defensive line thoroughly outplayed the Jaguars' offensive line. Defensive ends Erik Flowers and Aaron Schobel and tackle Pat Williams had one sack each. Defensive end Bryce Fisher, who started for injured left defensive end Phil Hansen, didn't have a sack, but he was in the backfield a lot.
"We had a real simple game plan," Fisher said. "We only had a few defenses called the whole game, but we played them real hard. We each took turns beating the one-on-one matchups. That was something we had trouble doing all year long.
"Coach (Williams) told us last night that if we're stuck on the line of scrimmage, he might go crazy. If anything, all we decided to do was take a chance and charge up field and see what happens. Now we have to see if we can do this every week."
Flowers, who took most of the heat for the Bills' lack of pass rush, had his strongest game of the year. He was active throughout and held his own against the run.
As for the defensive line's night, Flowers said a lot of credit goes to the secondary.
"We had a lot of time to get there," Flowers said. "Antoine (Winfield) and Nate (Clements) did a great job of shutting down their two top receivers. Without that, you're not going to get consistent pressure on a quarterback like Brunell. The secondary gave us the opportunity, and we had to rise up and help them out."
The pass rush was augmented by the linebackers getting a chance to bring some heat. Outside linebackers Jay Foreman and Keith Newman each played a role in disrupting the Jaguars' offense.
Foreman came up with a sack early in the third quarter on a well-designed play.
"I had the back end and (Jaguars running back) Stacey Mack was coming from that side, so I knew chances were good that he was going to block the safety," Foreman said. "That left me to rush. We had good coverage, the D-line was coming hard and Brunell just came right to me. We felt real comfortable with the game plan."
Newman was particularly thrilled to have a chance to rush the passer. Since Sam Cowart suffered a season-ending Achilles' injury, Newman has had to play more in pass coverage.
But his strength is getting to the quarterback, as he showed a year ago when he had eight sacks, second on the team.
"I got to come a little more tonight," Newman said with a smile. "I didn't get any sacks, but I got some good pressures and forced Brunell to throw quicker than he wanted to. We got to the quarterback, and we created some turnovers. That's going to be the key to our success as a defense."