Although the Buffalo Bills remain a blitz-conservative team, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has turned up the heat over the last few games in an effort to get to the quarterback more consistently.

Heading into Week 12, The Bills rank around league average in pressure rate (15th per Pro Football Reference). That’s not a bad number for a team that rushes with four for the most part but it’s still an area that could improve.

There’s no denying Gregory Rousseau’s absence has been felt by the Bills. All season he had been second to Von Miller in production and not even by that large of a margin. It’s been the most underrated injury of the season by a mile.

Rousseau didn’t practice on Monday’s walkthrough ahead of Thursday’s Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions. Now A.J. Epenesa joins the injury report which is another blow to the team’s pass rush.

After weeks and weeks of talking about how the Bills don’t blitz at all (9th lowest blitz rate), Frazier has looked for help by sending Bills linebacker Matt Milano after the QB.

During the game against the Cleveland Browns, Oliver Connolly from The Read Optional (Hall of Fame blog name, by the way) posted this in his Substack chat:

The Bills have unleashed Matt Milano as a pass-rusher over the past two weeks. Through his first seven games, Milano averaged a blitz a game. Last week, he blitzed seven times. So far (vs Browns), he’s already up to seven blitzes.”

Such efforts paid off, too. The linebacker recorded a sack for Buffalo, after all. But the efforts go even further back as PFF credited Milano with four pass rush snaps against the Kansas City Chiefs which resulted in four QB pressures. Against the Vikings, he rushed six times and gained two pressures.

The one exception since Week 6 has been the game against the Green Bay Packers who didn’t even throw that much.

But there’s no questioning the Bills are leaving behind their rush-four ways little by little. At full health and against top quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Von Miller’s squad will still be able to rush with four.

However, Frazier is finding ways to keep quarterbacks on their toes even with injuries plaguing the defense.


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