That’s how many games it had been since the high-powered Buffalo Bills’ offense had been held to 10 points or less. Buffalo came in to its Divisional Round playoff game with the Cincinnati Bengals averaging nearly 31 points per game.
That’s how many yards per rush the Bills averaged against the Bengals Sunday afternoon. Nineteen carries for 63 yards. The longest rush of the day? Eight yards. Coming in, Buffalo was averaging over 139 yards on the ground and 5.2 yards per carry.
“Great performance by our guys,” said Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator, Lou Anarumo. “[They] executed the plan, as always. Here we go, movin’ on.”
But was this the defense’s best game of the year?
“So far,” Anarumo agreed. “We just need to put a couple more of those best games together. It’s gonna take our best effort next week at Kansas City, for sure.”
It took a group effort to get the job done against the Bills. Leading the way was slot cornerback Mike Hilton, who recorded eight total tackles, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hits. Logan Wilson had seven total tackles and a quarterback hit, Cam Taylor-Britt came up with six solo tackles and Vonn Bell had the Bengals’ lone sack to go along with six total tackles. B.J. Hill turned in a pair of quarterback hits and Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson had one each.
“I thought Lou and the staff did a great job formulating a plan,” head coach Zac Taylor said after the game. “I thought our defensive line led the way by harassing him, and everybody else fed off that. There was great communication in the back end. So highlight the defensive ends, because they really got the party started, but I thought the whole defense played excellent throughout the whole game.”
While the men up front harassed Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen throughout the day, the defensive backs, led by cornerbacks Taylor-Britt, and Eli Apple and safeties Bell and Jessie Bates, III, held Allen to his lowest overall rating since a Week 9 loss to the New York Jets.
Taylor-Britt picked up his first interception of the season when his diving grab of an Allen pass intended for Cole Beasley with 1:02 left put the exclamation point on the victory.
“I feel like I’ve improved tremendously throughout this season,” Taylor-Britt said afterwards. “There’s plenty more to go, most definitely. Just growing throughout these games, you see a lot from these quarterbacks and these offenses. Coming up this weekend we’ll see one of the top offenses, just like last weekend and so we’ve got to be on our P’s and Q’s with that.”
Cincinnati’s defense will be ready. And so will Taylor-Britt.
“Watch,” he said. “I’m a going to get one this weekend.”