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Bills discover it's better to be pursued

LOS ANGELES -- The Buffalo Bills have produced a slew of inspiring stats while winning three straight games and resurrecting what looked like a cadaver of a season.

This stat might be most important: Over the past three games, the Bills have trailed a grand total of 7 minutes, 9 seconds.

"Wow," was Bills center Eric Wood's response upon being told after a 30-19 victory over the Los Angeles Rams at the Coliseum.

The Bills scored first and never trailed against either the Arizona Cardinals or New England Patriots. The Rams kicked a field goal on their first possession Sunday, but the Bills answered with a touchdown on their first drive.

Not a bad formula for digging out of a 0-2 grave to start the season. The Bills never led against the Baltimore Ravens on opening day and stayed ahead of the Jets for just 10:09 in Week Two.

"We've started better offensively," Wood said after his 100th NFL game. "The first two games we were terrible with three-and-outs, which put our defense in terrible positions.

"We've moved the ball better of late, and our defense has done a great job of getting us the ball back."

The Bills did have four three-and-out series Sunday, with three of them over the span of four possessions in the second and third quarters. They also failed to get a first down late in the game with the Rams trailing by four points.

"We haven't done a great job of just dropping a hammer on teams and really pulling away," Wood said.

But the Rams Rammed it up full Ramstyle by failing on a fake punt it their own territory to set up a quick Bills touchdown with 2:37 to play.

On the Bills' first three-game win streak in five years, they have nine takeaways and only one turnover; they have converted 37.5 percent of their third downs while stopping opponents on 25.6 percent.

In the Bills' first two games, they moved the chains 26.1 percent of the time while getting pushed backward on 50 percent of opponents' third downs.

"Our defense actually didn't get off to a good start today," Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams said while walking to the team bus. "But the last couple weeks we got off to a good start on defense and the offense fueled off us.

"That's what makes these team wins."

Williams was dubious when discussing whether a team's psychology should alter while playing with a lead or trying to come from behind.

"It really can't change that much," Williams said. "The NFL is play by play, series by series. If you let your mentality go up and down with the ebbs and flows of the game, you'll get yourself in trouble."

Above average

Lorenzo Alexander is 33 years old and in his 10th NFL season. He wasn't drafted, but has survived to play 132 games, mostly as a special-teamer.

Before this year, Alexander had started 16 times. He had nine sacks, never more than 2.5 in a season.

The journeyman joined the Bills this year and has started all five games. He has at least one sack in each. He exploded with three sacks against the Rams, all of them on third down.

The dude has seven sacks. Seven. Sacks. Seven of them.

Jerry Hughes and Mario Williams tied for the team lead with five sacks all last year.

Alexander threw a block on Case Keenum while Nickell Robey-Coleman returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown and then made a terrific tackle on the ensuing kickoff.

Alexander also shoved Rams running back Todd Gurley out of bounds for a 5-yard loss in the fourth quarter and pressured Keenum into throwing the game-ending interception.


LeSean McCoy ran five times for 85 yards in the second quarter. McCoy ran only nine times for 39 yards in the second half, but he inflicted enough damage to keep the Rams' defense in check.

His 150 rushing yards were the most for Buffalo since C.J. Spiller ran for 169 yards four years ago.

When McCoy rushes for 100 yards, his teams are 25-3.


Buffalo had zero pass breakups until late in the third quarter. That's when Robey-Coleman jumped in front of rookie Pharoh Cooper with nothing but green real estate in front of him with 3:54 left in the third quarter. Robey-Coleman, returning to USC's home stadium, iced the game with another interception in the waning moments.


Hughes apologized to the rest of the Bills' defense when he tried to strip Keenum near the Rams' goal line rather than sack him, allowing the Rams to pick up 31 yards early in the fourth quarter. The Bills were up, 23-16.

"I wanted to end the game right there," Hughes said. "A fumble probably would have given our offense a great chance to score a touchdown. I have to do a better job of securing the tackle."

That extended Rams drive reached the Bills' 4-yard line, where they kicked a field goal rather than try to score a touchdown with 5:51 to play.

Had the Rams scored a touchdown there, Hughes would have regretted his decision significantly more.

"It was bad football," Hughes said. "I was playing the ball completely. I anticipated his arm breaking away. But when I swiped, he tucked and threw me off.

"I've got to wrap him up. They end up getting a long gain. I'm pissed. My guys are mad because they're still on the field."

Thanks, Obama

Dan Carpenter missed another extra point. He hit a line drive into defensive tackle Cam Thomas' mitt early in the second quarter.

The miss was Carpenter's second in five attempts. He made his last two tries Sunday.

We good here?

There have been myriad "yeah, buts" throughout the Bills' three-game win streak.

Yeah, but the Cardinals were coming from far away. Yeah, but the Bills played the previous game on a Thursday night, so they had extra time to prepare.

Yeah, but Tom Brady wasn't on the field when the Bills won in Gillette Stadium.

Yeah, but the Rams' defensive line was missing three of its starting four Sunday.


Yeah, but the Bills are above .500 and have a healthy chance to win again when the 1-4 San Francisco 49ers visit New Era Field next Sunday.

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