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Observations: Leslie Frazier's defense has turned things around

The middle of an NFL season isn’t usually a time for reflection.

Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, however, has gone against conventional wisdom. He has reflected plenty of the disastrous first six quarters turned in by his defense.

“I know exactly what we would do different,” Frazier said Monday. “That’s for another day. … In my mind, I felt like I knew what our issues were, and we went through something similar a season ago where we had a three-game streak that was not the best football. You just have to take a look at where you are and figure out what the solutions are.

“If you believe what you’re doing, you can usually get it turned around if you have the right people working around you. It’s a long season, there are a lot of ups and downs. You just can’t push the panic button, and those players understand that as well. If you believe in what you’re doing, and you have the right people, you can get it turned in the right direction.”

The Bills’ defense has certainly done that. They turned in another dominant performance Sunday, although it came in defeat. Buffalo held Houston to 13 points, but the Texans came away with a 20-13 victory, getting the winning points on a pick-six of backup quarterback Nathan Peterman.

The Bills now rank third in the NFL in yards allowed per game (311.7) and 13th in points allowed per game (23.0).

“It’s such a long season and there are so many ups and downs over the course of a season,” Frazier said. “I don’t know if I could point to one thing. I just know that it’s a long season, and where we are today, you just want to keep building on where we are. Just keep building and improving -- that’s the goal.”

Given how good the defense has been lately – and how bad the offense has been – it’s human nature that frustration might start to set in.

“It’s a team game and you keep battling,” Frazier said. “There are going to be some Sundays where we’re not going to have our ‘A’ game and we’re going to need the offense and special teams to pick us up on defense. It’s our job on defense to hold the fort down and give us a chance to win”

Plays that Shaped the Game: Valiant Bills' defense gets overshadowed

2. Coach Sean McDermott said he looked into the report Sunday before the game that wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin declined to run routes with rookie quarterback Josh Allen.

“The research that I was able to do and follow up on, I’m very comfortable with the answers that I got, both from Josh and from Kelvin,” McDermott said. “Some things happen in pregame warmup. Guys have their own rituals. What was conveyed to me was that Josh asked Kelvin if he was good, or if he needed anything else, and Kelvin said he was good and ready to go.”

3. In addition to rookie quarterback Josh Allen, running back Taiwan Jones will be classified as week to week. Jones suffered an undisclosed injury against the Texans. Left guard Vlad Ducasse (knee) and defensive end Trent Murphy (undisclosed) are listed as day to day, according to McDermott.

Bills QB Josh Allen considered week to week with elbow injury

4. Frazier raved about the performance of linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who finished with four tackles, 1.5 sacks, two quarterback hits, a pass defensed and an interception in just 20 defensive snaps.

“The way he played yesterday was incredible,” Frazier said of the 35-year-old. “He’s playing defensive end for us. We line him up inside at tackle at times in our third-down defense. He’s playing inside linebacker, outside linebacker, making plays. It’s great for our young players to see a guy who has kind of evolved as a player over the course of his career. Tremendous leader, great teammate, and obviously terrific player as well. I don’t know if I can pinpoint where he found his fountain of youth, but it’s working out really well for him and our defense as well.”

5. Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula issued a statement Monday night about the death of Seattle Seahawks owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen: “We were saddened and stunned to learn that Paul Allen passed away earlier today. We deeply admire the impact he made on the Pacific Northwest community and the National Football League. More importantly, his work with the Allen Institute will resonate for years to come. On behalf of the Buffalo Bills organization, we extend our deepest sympathies to his family and the Seahawks organization during this time.”

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