Niagara Gazette


November 30, 2009

BILLS DVR REWIND: Defense kept Buffalo in Sunday's win

ORCHARD PARK — Since the offensive outbursts have been few and far between, it’s understandable why the focus after the Bills’ 31-14 victory over Miami on Sunday has been squarely on the offense’s contributions.

But before we anoint Perry Fewell as the next Mike Martz, let’s remember that Buffalo’s interim head coach has always been a mentor on the other side of the ball. And it’s distinctly possible that Fewell’s fourth-quarter gambles were a sign he knew his defense was on the ropes.

How could it not be, right? In recent weeks, the offense has left the defense out to dry. And at one point during Sunday’s third quarter, the Dolphins held a 26:02 to 13:03 edge in time of possession, meaning the Bills were gasping.

But the unit regrouped and exposed Henne as the rookie he is down the stretch.

Instead of breaking down specific plays, let’s take a look at some of the underappreciated catalysts.

• Donte Whitner announced his intentions quickly Sunday. On the Bills’ first defensive play, Whitner came late off the backside and got a piece of the ball as Chad Henne released it. Whitner stuffed Ricky Williams after a short gain on the next play. And even though Miami converted on a third down, Whitner charged in again, nearly getting to Henne on yet another blitz.

The message to Whitner sounds like the same one Fewell made last week to Terrell Owens — we’re getting you involved.

The former first-round pick even added an interception in the late going, stepping in front of a bad throw from Henne.

Many have been quick to write Whitner out of the Bills’ plans next season, even though he’s been capable in the past. Maybe this was his signature game — 10 total tackles, two pass deflections, one interception — and a sign that he intends to keep his job in Buffalo.

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