The Buffalo Bills’ pass rush had basically fallen asleep over the past two games.
It got the wake-up call it needed before Sunday’s 33-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns at New Era Field.
The Bills registered five sacks of Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III and applied consistent pressure throughout the lopsided win.
Outside linebackers Jerry Hughes and Lorenzo Alexander combined for 2.5 sacks, while defensive tackle Kyle Williams had 1.5 and inside linebacker Zach Brown had one.
“Our secondary, they did a fantastic job just taking away the first read, playing real tight coverage and making the QB hold the ball,” Hughes said. “Any time the QB holds the ball, we’re going to get there. So it’s great to just kind of match that up and get the rush and the outstanding coverage by those guys.”
Hughes got just his second sack in the past 10 games.
“We just wanted to go out there and execute in all phases,” he said. “We knew that we wanted to win at home. Just end that whole losing streak, and it was great to come up there and play well.”
Buffalo’s five sacks tied a season high and pushed its season total to 38, which is third in the NFL behind Denver and Carolina.
Alexander got his first sack since Week Nine. His 1.5 sacks gave him his fourth career multi-sack game, with three of them coming this year.
Rookie Shaq Lawson also forced a fumble for the first time in his career.
“This was probably the most complete team win we’ve had all year,” Lawson said. “All three phases played good. We hadn’t had a lot of sacks the past couple weeks, and we knew we could get after this guy. They take a lot of sacks, so this was our chance to bounce back.”
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor can say he passed Jim Kelly in the Bills' record book. In rushing yards, at least.
Taylor gained 49 yards Sunday, increasing his career total to 1,088 yards and moving past Kelly (1,049 yards) into second place on the team's all-time list. Taylor needs 87 yards to pass the record of 1,174 yards held by Joe Ferguson.
Taylor now has 520 rushing yards this season, putting him 48 yards behind his record of 568 for a single year that he set in 2015.
Brown was penalized 15 yards for roughing the passer in the third quarter on a hit that certainly appeared to be clean when shown on replay.
“Whenever you hit a quarterback hard, they’re going to throw the flag no matter what,” Brown said. “Even if it’s a shoulder-to-shoulder hit. I didn’t lead with my head at all. He just got hit real hard. There’s nothing much I could do about that.”
Don’t look now, but the Bills are getting healthier. Starting left tackle Cordy Glenn (back) and linebacker Lerentee McCray (concussion) were the only two players to miss Sunday’s game because of injury. Healthy inactives for the Bills were quarterback Cardale Jones, wide receiver Dez Lewis, running back Reggie Bush and tight ends Logan Thomas and Gerald Christian. Bush was inactive for the first time this season.
Cyrus Kouandjio started in Glenn’s place. The Bills' offensive line gave up just one sack.
Former Bills offensive lineman Gabe Ikard was one of the Browns' inactives.
The victory, which gave the Bills a .500 record for the fifth time this season, was the 400th in franchise history. … The Bills didn’t commit a turnover, marking the seventh time this season that has happened, establishing a new single-season record (it had been six games, set last year). Buffalo’s nine turnovers though 14 games ties an NFL record low set by New England in 2010. ... Neither team committed a turnover Sunday, making it the 14th game in team history in which that has happened. Interestingly, four of those games have taken place this season.
The Bills will alter their schedule slightly with their next game coming on a Saturday, when most of the NFL will be in action on Christmas Eve.
Players are off Monday, then will practice Tuesday through Thursday before holding a walk-thru Friday. The team will have Christmas off after playing the Dolphins.
“We’re still alive in this and we’re playing against a good team and that’s where our focus will be,” coach Rex Ryan said. “It’s straight ahead to Miami.”
Captains Sunday were linebackers Preston Brown and Zach Brown, safety Corey Graham, quarterback Tyrod Taylor and wide receiver Robert Woods.