Bills’ defense keeping it simple under Dennis Thurman

By Nick Shook
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There’s an old saying that can be applied to almost anything in life. It’s the KISS rule.

No, not the popular American rock band of the 1970s and 80s. It’s an acronym for Keep It Simple, Stupid.

That’s what the Buffalo Bills have done since their back-to-back opening losses that had the team on the brink of early season disaster, according to NFL Network’s Mike Silver. Buffalo jettisoned offensive coordinator Greg Roman and replaced him with Anthony Lynn, who pared down the playbook and played to the team’s strengths. The Bills did something similar on defense, retaining Rob Ryan but shifting playcalling duties to defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman.

Gone were the exotic blitzes for which the Ryan brothers were known. No longer were the Bills gambling with fancy schemes and rolling coverages to the extreme. Instead, it became old-school, simple football.

It’s since produced three straight wins and new life for the Bills, who have outscored opponents 79-37 in the victories. Instead of chasing ghosts, Buffalo is chasing New England and an AFC East title. That chase continues Sunday in western New York, when the Bills host the San Francisco 49ers.

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