ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — The Bills defense could not find its groove early in the season.
Injuries played a part, with linebackers and corners in and out, but defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier never gave up on his players.
Frazier started to see a shift in his players Week 6, when the Bills lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in primetime. Despite the loss to the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the Bills D showed flashes of its dominant self. He saw how hard his team worked, despite their frustration with early season struggles, and recognized his players’ talent from day one.
“You know you have the right stuff but it would take a little longer than it ordinarily would,” said Frazier. “You gotta be patient, you gotta be encouraging because if they see you sweat, they’re gonna sweat.”
Patience and encouragement from Frazier paid off. The Bills recorded the team’s first defensive touchdown since 2017, a pick-six by Taron Johnson. Buffalo has takeaways in eight straight games, with multiple in four of the team’s last five games.
“I knew a day like last night was coming for these guys as long as they continued to work hard as long as they continued to believe good things would come,” said Frazier.
Good things came for the offense in Sunday night’s win as well. Immediately following the game, Sean McDermott said the final drive stuck out to him as a full offensive effort. Seven minutes, 13 plays, and 52 yards kept the ball away from Pittsburgh and gave Buffalo the 11 point win over the Steelers.
“It requires a tremendous amount of detail, a tremendous amount of execution, and a tremendous amount of teamwork,” said offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.
Daboll put a lot of trust in rookie Zack Moss. During that final drive, he accounted for 24 of 52 yards. It provided an opportunity to boost Moss’s confidence after fumbling in the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers.
Moss sat for the majority of the 49ers game, only entering again for one touch in the fourth quarter. Daboll spoke with Moss after the game and let him know his confidence in the rookie had not faltered.
“Whether it’s a young vet or a ten-year player, it doesn’t matter,” Daboll said. “We all need a little encouragement time and again. We make sure they understand they’re on our team for a reason. Zac is a good football player for us, and by no means does one game reflect to the next game.”
“I think if you’re clear and you’re honest and the players know you care about them, and they know you have confidence in them, that’s important.”