Saints OL vs. Bills DL
In Drew Brees' 11 previous seasons with New Orleans, the Saints have had a top-10 rushing attack only twice. Once was in 2009, when the Saints won the Super Bowl. New Orleans entered Sunday's game ranked No. 7. They're likely moving into the top three after a 298-yard destruction of the Buffalo Bills. The Bills' defensive line got no penetration.
"It all starts up front, and the offensive line did a phenomenal job all game long," said Brees. "We had so many long drives, and we kept sustaining drives, driving from our end of the field to their end of the field."
"We had a plan coming in with the conditions," said center Max Unger. "In a cold-weather game – at least to us – a tough environment, running the football is paramount. We had a bunch of plays dialed up. We were able to get into the game plan, set plays up."
Tyrod Taylor vs. Saints DBs
The Bills showed once again that when they need the passing game to jump-start the offense they can't get the offense going. The Saints defense played a lot more coverage than rush, even though their identity is to blitz. New Orleans led the NFL last season in blitzing, rushing five or more at the quarterback on 40 percent of pass plays. They mostly dropped back against the Bills, forcing Taylor to execute a possession passing game.
Taylor & Co. could not get it going. His 56-yard passing total was embarrassing. New No. 1 receiver Kelvin Benjamin was targeted by Taylor just three times in the first three quarters. He caught one pass from Taylor, a 9-yarder. He was covered by Saints top cornerback Marshon Lattimore. But the Bills couldn't exploit the fact the Saints were without slot corner Kenny Vaccaro.
Third downs vs. Saints defense
The Bills converted 2 of 11 third-down situations. New Orleans converted 6 of 12. The way to contain a high-powered offense is to keep it on the sideline. Of course, the problem was the Bills were dominated on first- and second-downs, as well. Six of the Bills' 11 third-down situations were third and 9 or longer.
Still, the Bills could not stay on the field when they still were in the game in the first half.
Key plays: Taylor was off target on a pass for Kelvin Benjamin on a third-and-9 play from the Saints' 18. The Bills settled for a field goal. Taylor was incomplete for Deonte Thompson on a third-and-2 play from the Buffalo 38 in the second quarter. Mike Tolbert was stuffed for no gain – he didn't hit the hole hard enough – on a third-and-1 late in the second quarter.