Share this article

print logo

Run-down feeling back as 'D' plummets to bottom

First, they couldn't slow down Cadillac. On Sunday, they couldn't turn off DVD.

It's safe to say the Buffalo Bills would be better off if they didn't face running backs with catchy nicknames.

One week after being run over by Tampa Bay's Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, the Bills were bludgeoned by the Atlanta Falcons' "DVD" trio of Warrick Dunn, Michael Vick and T.J. Duckett.

Dunn, Vick and Duckett combined to rush for 236 yards while averaging a robust 6.6 yards per carry. The Falcons' total was the most allowed by the Bills since Dec. 1, 2002, when the Miami Dolphins gained 270, including 228 by Ricky Williams.

"When we give up as many yards rushing as we have, that's personal," middle linebacker London Fletcher said. "We can't have that. That's unacceptable."

The Bills had the NFL's seventh-best run defense last season but were 30th after giving up 191 yards to Tampa Bay.

With Sunday's dismal showing, the Bills have virtually assured themselves a place at the bottom of the league rankings. They're allowing an average of 174 rushing yards per game.

"Obviously, we didn't make the corrections," said free safety Troy Vincent.

"We played terrible last week, and then to come out and do the same thing today is horrendous," added tackle Sam Adams.

With the Falcons' three-pronged rushing attack, they give defenses different styles. The Bills couldn't stop any of them Sunday.

Dunn is a slashing runner with quickness and vision. He ran 15 times for 97 yards, including a dazzling 59-yard run that took Atlanta out of the shadow of its goal line to set up a last-second field goal at the end of the first half.

Vick gained 64 yards on runs that can be described as otherworldly. The Bills had Vick trapped in the backfield only to see him leave a vapor trail as he sped downfield for big yardage.

Duckett is the muscle of the running game. The 6-foot, 254-pound battering ram powered his way for 75 yards while leaving his cleat marks on the Bills' defense.

"They're solid players, but you don't have to be that good to hit a hole," Adams said. "It's easy to run when you have the holes they had."

The Bills have taken pride in their defense the past two years and went into this season with the goal of being one of the best defenses ever.

But when it comes to stopping the run, the Bills have brought back reminders of the sieve-like units they fielded in 2001 and 2002.

"It's real easy to read your press clippings and believe you're all that," Adams said. "But what are you going to do when you face some adversity? We've had two weeks where everybody is dogging us and talking bad about us. How are we going to respond to it? We better do something. Are we going to come out swinging or are we going to lie down and do nothing?"

The Bills' run defense is in desperate need of repair because every team it faces will study the film of the past two weeks and try to duplicate the success.

"This is a copy-cat league," strong safety Lawyer Milloy said. "What we showed last week, we saw some of those things today. If we believe we're a top defense you have to be able to stop the run first. Right now we're not doing that."

If things don't change, Adams suggested there may be personnel changes.

"We'll get it fixed, and if we don't get it fixed we'll all be going somewhere else," he said. "That's it in a nutshell. You want your job? You've got to play for it."

e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

There are no comments - be the first to comment