AFC East: Kyle Williams

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills had a pair of offensive players return to Tuesday's organized team activities (OTAs).

Wide receiver Mike Williams and running back Anthony Dixon, who were both not spotted at Monday's session, were back on the field Tuesday.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams remained out of Tuesday's OTAs, which is voluntary per NFL rules. He also missed Monday's practice.

Tight end Tony Moeaki had limited participation Tuesday after doing rehab work during Monday's practice. Other players working on the sidelines Tuesday were wide receiver Cordell Roberson, cornerback Darius Robinson, running back Ronnie Wingo, guard J.J. Unga, offensive tackle Chris Hairston, wide receiver Marcus Easley, and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin.

Goodwin injured his knee in Monday's practice. This is the first time that Hairston, who took some reps at right guard with the first-team Monday, had missed practice.

Defensive Bryan Johnson, who was carted off the field Monday with an apparent left knee injury, was not spotted. Offensive lineman Doug Legursky, defensive tackles Marcell Dareus and Alan Branch, and defensive end Manny Lawson were also not on the field.

Linebacker Kiko Alonso (hip) saw limited reps in red zone drills, while cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin (hip) and Stephon Gilmore (hip) also saw reps with the second team in one red zone drill. That was their first action in team drills of OTAs.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills began their final week of organized team activities with two injuries in Monday's practice.

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin came down hard on his right knee while diving for a catch. He met with trainers and briefly returned to practice before eventually leaving the field. His injury doesn't appear to be serious but is worth monitoring.

Meanwhile, rookie defensive end Bryan Johnson was carted off the field with a left leg injury. Johnson, who returned to practice Monday after sitting out two sessions last week, immediately grabbed for his left knee following a play during 11-on-11 work.

Coach Doug Marrone checked on Johnson before the cart left the field. Johnson is an undrafted rookie from West Texas A&M.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams, wide receiver Mike Williams and running back Anthony Dixon were not spotted at Monday's practice after participating in the final session of last week. Tight end Tony Moeaki spent practice rehabbing from an undisclosed injury.

Guard Chris Williams returned to action after missing two practices last week. Offensive lineman Doug Legursky remained out after sitting out last Thursday's session.

Running back Bryce Brown, who dealt with an undisclosed injury through the first two weeks of OTAs, was a full participant Monday. He moved well, catching a pass across the middle from Thad Lewis in stride at one point.

Linebacker Kiko Alonso (hip), cornerback Leodis McKelvin (hip), cornerback Stephon Gilmore (hip), and wide receiver T.J. Graham (hip) all sat out team drills. Defensive end Mario Williams saw some limited action in those drills.

Wide receivers Cordell Roberson and Marcus Easley, tight end Mike Caussin, guard J.J. Unga, running back Ronnie Wingo, and cornerback Darius Robinson all remained limited due to injuries.

Defensive end Manny Lawson and defensive tackles Alan Branch and Marcell Dareus were not present.

NFLN survey/respected player: Bills

January, 16, 2014
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In the Buffalo Bills' locker room, there is little question about who is respected. Running back Fred Jackson and defensive tackle Kyle Williams, two of the team's most-tenured players, provide leadership voices and veteran guidance.

Williams
But in ESPN's recent survey of 320 NFL players, Bills players drew only two votes: one each to Kyle Williams and defensive tackle Mario Williams.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was the leading vote-getter, with 86 players naming him as most-respected, while New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson were tied for second with 24 votes each.

Coincidentally, all three of those players are on the Bills' schedule next season, as they host the Vikings, travel to Denver, and face AFC East foe New England twice.

One ex-Bill drew some votes in the survey, as 11 players said that recently retired linebacker London Fletcher was the NFL's most-respected player.
The Associated Press announced its annual All-Pro team Friday, and a pair of Buffalo Bills players made the cut.

Defensive end Mario Williams and safety Jairus Byrd were both named to the All-Pro second team. Both were also selected to the 2014 Pro Bowl last month.

At defensive end, Williams was edged by J.J. Watt and Robert Quinn for first-team honors. At safety, Byrd was among six safeties named as second-team behind Earl Thomas and Eric Berry.

The only Bills Pro Bowler who was not selected to the All-Pro squad was defensive tackle Kyle Williams.

All-AFC East: Buffalo Bills

January, 2, 2014
Jan 2
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NFC Teams: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

It was all about defense this season for the Buffalo Bills.

The arrival of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and his pressure-based scheme turned around a defense that had ranked 22nd in the NFL last season, allowing 5.57 yards per play. Pettine's group this season jumped up the charts to No. 6, allowing 4.9 yards per play. It was no surprise then that the Bills sent three defensive players to the Pro Bowl: defensive end Mario Williams, defensive tackle Kyle Williams and safety Jairus Byrd.

It's also no surprise that those three players were among the four who were voted to the All-AFC East team by ESPN.com's NFL Nation. The writers for each AFC East team recently nominated and voted for an all-division team, and four Bills made the cut. Linebacker Kiko Alonso joined Mario Williams, Kyle Williams and Byrd as those making the cut for Buffalo. No offensive players were voted into the group.

It's tough to have any Bills honored as All-AFC East on offense, given Buffalo's performance this season. The Bills ranked 29th offensively, averaging 4.85 yards per play. However, there were still standout performers for Buffalo. Running back Fred Jackson leads that group, rushing for 896 yards, while adding 387 yards as a receiver. He had 10 total touchdowns. Making the cut in place of Jackson was New York Jets running back Chris Ivory, who ran for 833 yards. I think Jackson was more deserving.

Defensively, it was a tough break for Marcell Dareus, who had a strong season. He set a career high with 7.5 sacks but was edged out by two stronger candidates: Williams and Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who is a candidate for rookie of the year. A case could also be made that cornerback Leodis McKelvin was deserving of all-division honors, but it was tough to top New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib and the Miami Dolphins' Brent Grimes, who both had four interceptions.

Pro Bowl selections: Buffalo Bills

December, 27, 2013
12/27/13
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The NFL announced its rosters for the 2014 Pro Bowl on Friday evening, and three Buffalo Bills players were selected to the squad: defensive end Mario Williams, defensive tackle Kyle Williams and safety Jairus Byrd.

Despite finishing first in fan voting at their respective positions, linebacker Kiko Alonso and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus were not selected.

Fan voting accounts for one-third of the selection process. Votes from players and coaches make up the other two-thirds.

Alonso ranks fourth in the NFL with 145 tackles and has played every defensive snap this season. However, it could be argued that Alonso's tackles are inflated by the Bills' defense staying on the field -- it ranks seventh in the NFL in total defensive snaps -- while Alonso has not recorded an interception or forced fumble since the first month of the season.

Dareus set a career high with 7.5 sacks.

This is the third Pro Bowl appearance for all three Bills players selected.

Click here for the complete Pro Bowl roster.

Double Coverage: Bills at Patriots

December, 27, 2013
12/27/13
10:00
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C.J. Spiller and Tom BradyGetty ImagesTom Brady, right, and the Patriots hope to secure a postseason bye with a win vs. C.J. Spiller's Bills.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills will end the regular season the way they started it, by facing each other.

The Patriots needed a late drive to beat the Bills 23-21 in the opener, but the teams went in mostly opposite directions over the next 15 weeks.

Unfortunately for the Bills, the script is a familiar one. They haven’t qualified for the playoffs since 1999, the longest active drought, so now the focus turns to next season.

Meanwhile, the Patriots enter another finale with playoff positioning in mind after having clinched the AFC East title for the 10th time in the past 11 seasons. The Patriots could actually thank the Bills for that, because Buffalo’s 19-0 victory against Miami last Sunday handed the division crown to New England.

Here to preview the matchup are ESPN.com NFL Nation reporters Mike Rodak (Bills) and Mike Reiss (Patriots).

Reiss: Mike, this seems pretty obvious, but coach Doug Marrone is finishing his first season, and a win against the Patriots could go a long way toward the foundation he’s attempting to establish. What signs, if any, have you seen from Marrone that the Bills are on the right track?

Rodak: Mike, I think the past two games have said something about this team. After their 27-6 loss to Tampa on Dec. 8, the season was essentially over for Buffalo. They could have packed it in and waited until next season to make improvement. Instead, they have strung together their first back-to-back wins of the season. Does that matter in the long run? Probably not, but Marrone often talks about establishing a sense of accountability and resiliency in his team, and there have been some signs of that over the past two weeks.

Mike, the Patriots have shown plenty of resiliency this season too. Is this the best coaching job you've seen from Bill Belichick?

Reiss: Belichick and his staff have been coaching their tails off, no doubt about that. I have always rated 2008 at the top of the mountain, because when you lose Tom Brady on the 15th offensive play of a season and still manage to go 11-5, that’s pretty remarkable from this viewpoint. I think we’ve seen in recent years what often happens when a superstar quarterback is lost for the season -- the 2011 Colts with Peyton Manning as one example, which cost team president Bill Polian his job. We also see how the Packers are struggling this season without Aaron Rodgers. The Patriots have been hit hard by injuries this season too and also have quite a few young players who have been asked to take on significant roles. So it’s been impressive.

As for young players being asked to carry the load for the Bills, the big question from here is if EJ Manuel is a franchise quarterback to build around. What is your opinion on Manuel in that regard?

Rodak: That is a tough call, and it's going to be the biggest question Marrone and general manager Doug Whaley will need to address this offseason. From a leadership standpoint, Manuel has a presence and a poise that any successful quarterback needs. But it hasn't translated to consistency on the field. Since returning from his second knee injury, Manuel has thrown six interceptions and shown wild swings in accuracy as a passer. The Bills seem content with pressing forward with Manuel and allowing him to develop with live action each Sunday. That is the approach most teams take with young quarterbacks; it doesn't always work out. In most cases, deciding when to make a change is difficult. However Manuel's career unfolds, the Bills would be smart to have a Plan B, even as soon as next season. With J.P. Losman, that Plan B was Kelly Holcomb. With Trent Edwards, it was Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ultimately, neither of those veteran backups put the Bills in the right spot to win, which is why I think the organization must aim higher when hedging their bets with Manuel. Drafting another quarterback in the first round isn't an option that should be immediately dismissed.

This week, Marrone mentioned how the Patriots have several rookies playing roles on both sides of the ball. Watching undrafted defensive tackle Joe Vellano back in spring camps, I never would have thought he would be contributing as much as he has this season. But can the Patriots rely on Vellano and their other younger players in the playoffs? It doesn't seem that long ago when safety Patrick Chung, then in his second season, botched a fake punt that cost the Patriots in a divisional playoff loss to the Jets.

Reiss: Mike, I’d be shocked if the Bills take another quarterback in the first round. If they do in 2014, Buffalo wings on me from Duff’s for the next five years every time the Patriots come to western New York.

As for the Patriots, the rookies playing the largest roles are now [receiver] Aaron Dobson, [defensive tackle] Chris Jones, [cornerback] Logan Ryan and [punter] Ryan Allen. The others are sprinkled in from more of a complementary standpoint or as a short-term fill-in (e.g., Josh Kline at left guard vs. Baltimore). Vellano, for one, has seen his snaps decrease in recent weeks in favor of second-year defensive tackle Sealver Siliga. Anytime a team has rookies and youngsters playing front-line roles, it comes with some added risk. But I’d say this about the Patriots this season: As young as they are in certain spots, no moment seems too big for most of the players on the roster.

Defensively, the Bills look strong up front. What do you see from them on that side of the ball?

Rodak: They certainly are, Mike. At this point, it's safe to call it the best defensive line in the league. The Bills have benefited from career seasons from both Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus, who are both serious candidates for the Pro Bowl. Same with Mario Williams, who is enjoying his best season since signing his monster deal with Buffalo. But there have also been some under-the-radar contributors. Whaley's offseason swap of linebacker Kelvin Sheppard for defensive end Jerry Hughes has paid dividends. You can add Hughes to the list of players having career seasons under first-year defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. In the secondary, that theme continues with Leodis McKelvin, who had four shaky years before finding his groove this season. The Bills have also gotten big things from their smallest player -- 5-foot-7 slot cornerback Nickell Robey, who went undrafted in the spring but has played like an early-round pick. There have been bad moments for the defense, but in general, they came mostly earlier in the season. Right now, it looks like a unit on the rise.

Mike, one area where the Bills have been vulnerable at points this season has been their run defense. They rank 20th in the NFL, allowing 4.2 yards per rush. Is the Patriots' running game capable of exploiting that weakness? And perhaps more importantly, will the Patriots need their ground attack to advance in the playoffs?

Reiss: They are certainly capable of doing it, and last Sunday’s win against the Ravens is the evidence. The Patriots entered the game with a mindset of being physical, and they won the battle of the line of scrimmage, churning out 142 yards on the ground against a sturdy Ravens front that struggled against some zone runs. The Patriots ran it 34 times and had 28 dropbacks in the game. I don’t think they necessarily have to have that type of split in the playoffs to win, but like most offenses, this attack is at its best when it's most balanced. Ball security was a big issue the first few months of the season, mostly with running backs Stevan Ridley, and to a lesser degree with LeGarrette Blount (fumble in Oct. 6 loss to the Bengals), but that has subsided. One of the big keys with the running game last Sunday is it helped the Patriots in the red zone, where they are still recalibrating after losing tight end Rob Gronkowski to a season-ending knee injury on Dec. 8.

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Predicting Pro Bowlers for the Bills

December, 25, 2013
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The NFL is to announce the 2014 Pro Bowl rosters on Friday, so there is no better time to make a few guesses at who might make the cut for the Buffalo Bills.

We'll break it down into a few different categories:

LOCKS

LB Kiko Alonso -- The rookie burst onto the scene early in the season. While he hasn't snagged an interception since Week 4 -- he has four this season -- Alonso has played every defensive snap and ranks fourth in the NFL in tackles. As of last week, he was the leading vote-getter at his position.

Dareus
DT Marcell Dareus -- The third overall pick has been a force on the defensive line throughout the season, setting a career high with 7.5 sacks. He has received the second-most fan votes at his position as of last week, putting him in good position to make the Pro Bowl cut.

DE Mario Williams -- Williams ranks third in the NFL with 13 sacks. It's fair to question whether Williams tailed off after a fast start -- he had 4.5 sacks in Week 2-- but it's also worth noting that Williams draws the attention of most offensive lines. He has the third-most fan votes among defensive ends.

TOSS-UPS


DT Kyle Williams -- The Bills' second-most veteran player (behind punter Brian Moorman) is the fourth-leading vote-getter at his position. Like Dareus, Williams has benefited from the pressure-based scheme implemented by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. He has set a career high with 10.5 sacks.

LONGSHOTS

S Jairus Byrd -- The former Pro Bowler ranks eighth among free safeties in fan voting. While he's unlikely to make a return trip in Hawaii, Byrd has made four interceptions in just eight games started.

S Aaron Williams -- Williams converted from cornerback last offseason, and has settled in well at safety. He has four interceptions, and ranks seventh among strong safeties on the fan ballot.

Stevie Johnson likely out for Sunday

December, 18, 2013
12/18/13
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson is not expected to play in Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins after being excused from the team.

Johnson
Johnson's mother died unexpectedly last Saturday, but he played in Sunday's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"I don't believe that he will be available for our game on Sunday," coach Doug Marrone said. "Our thoughts and our prayers are with Stevie and his family."

The status of safety Aaron Williams, who left Sunday's game with an injury to his ribs, is up in the air.

"I think Aaron is going to be 50-50," Marrone said. I can't really say right now either way, so we're going to be monitoring that situation and going through that treatment process."

Veterans Fred Jackson (ribs) and Kyle Williams (Achilles) were both held out of Wednesday's practice for extra rest.

Here is the Bills' full injury report from Wednesday:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
S Aaron Williams (ribs)
DT Kyle Williams (Achilles)
RB Fred Jackson (ribs)
WR Stevie Johnson (personal)

LIMITED IN PRACTICE
CB Brandon Smith (ankle)
DT Marcell Dareus (ankle)
QB EJ Manuel (knee)

Bills near full health as season wanes

December, 6, 2013
12/06/13
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Well, at least they're healthy.

At 4-8, the Buffalo Bills are staring down their ninth consecutive losing season, but at the moment, injuries aren't the issue.

The Bills listed just two players on Friday's injury report. Both are probable for Sunday's game in Tampa.

Here's their full injury report:

PROBABLE
DT Kyle Williams (Achilles)
WR Marquise Goodwin (calf)

Kyle Williams active for Bills

December, 1, 2013
12/01/13
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TORONTO -- Defensive tackle Kyle Williams is active for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons in Toronto.

Williams
Williams had been added to Friday's injury report as questionable after tweaking his back getting out of bed.

The team's most tenured player is coming off his best game of the season, when he had two sacks and forced a fumble against the New York Jets.

With Williams active, all seven of the Bills' inactives are healthy scratches:

QB Jeff Tuel
RB Ronnie Wingo
CB Brandon Smith
LB Ty Powell
OL J.J. Unga
OL Antoine McClain
TE Chris Gragg

Welcome to the Rogers Centre

December, 1, 2013
12/01/13
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TORONTO -- Welcome to the Rogers Centre, where the Buffalo Bills host the Atlanta Falcons (Fox, 4:05 p.m. ET).

Roof closed: No shocker here, as the Rogers Centre roof is closed. Outside, the temperature is in the upper 30s with some light rain. Inside, the one factor to keep an eye on is the field. There have been complaints by Bills players in the past about the quality of the artificial turf inside this dome. According to the Toronto Sun, a layer of rubber padding has been added underneath the surface for this game.

Kyle Williams' status: Defensive tackle Kyle Williams cropped up on Friday's injury report after tweaking his back. He is listed as questionable for the game, so his status will be the biggest story when inactives are released around 2:35 p.m. If Williams can play, the Bills' seven inactives are all expected to be healthy scratches.

Ford expected in attendance: Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who has been in the international spotlight in recent weeks, is expected to be in attendance for today's game, according to the Toronto Sun. But he won't be the only celebrity in the building Sunday; the Beach Boys will also be playing at halftime.

Game-day chat: Once Bills-Falcons kicks off at 4:05 p.m., we'll have an in-game chat where readers can contribute questions and follow along with in-game observations. Look for a link to that later today.

Anderson gets the call: Veteran official Walt Anderson, in his 11th season as a referee, gets the call for today’s game.

W2W4: Falcons at Bills

November, 29, 2013
11/29/13
4:20
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TORONTO -- The Atlanta Falcons' season is effectively over, while the Buffalo Bills' playoff chances hang by a thread. But that doesn't mean there isn't any intrigue to Sunday's game.

For a young team like the Bills, each of their final five games will be an opportunity for players to step up and stand out as the front office begins to turn its attention to the 2014 season.

December football is officially here.

Here's what to watch for:

1. Can Manuel sustain his success? This will be the biggest question for the remainder of the season. The Bills have surprisingly few holes to fill on their roster entering next season, but if they want to eventually make waves in the AFC East, they will need EJ Manuel to take the next step. Coming off his best performance of his rookie campaign, Manuel had two weeks to prepare against one of the NFL's worst defenses. Let's keep it simple: If Manuel can keep pace from his last outing against the Jets, it's a little more weight off his shoulders. If he can't, the pressure will be back on.

2. Johnson & Woods back in fold: After taking the bye week to rest their respective injuries, Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods will return to the lineup Sunday. Way back in September, when Woods and Manuel were both nominated for NFL rookie of the month, the duo was beginning to develop some chemistry. This will be their first time back on the field together. Can they pick up where they left off? With Johnson also back in the fold, the picture at wide receiver has never been more crowded, so playing time for Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham is also worth monitoring.

3. Can Kyle Williams play? Friday morning saw an unexpected addition to the Bills' injury report: Veteran Kyle Williams tweaked his back getting out of bed and is questionable for Sunday. If he can't go, it will be a blow to a Bills defensive line that is coming off perhaps its best game of the season. Williams, who had two sacks in a win against the Jets, could be replaced by Stefan Charles. The undrafted rookie is a native of Oshawa, a Toronto suburb, and played at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan. The Bills are high on the 25-year old. So while Williams' injury won't do any favors for the defense, it could provide an opportunity for a closer look at a developing prospect.

4. How about this whole Toronto thing? The Bills need more than a winning effort by their team on the field. This is the sixth season they will host a game in Toronto, and at some point, they will need it to become more of a spectacle than it's been. Winning -- the Bills have lost four of their five contests north of the border -- is a big part of that, but from a business perspective, we'll be keeping an eye on the buzz surrounding the game. Is there excitement in the city for the Bills? How large is the crowd? How loud are they? Those are the some of the questions the Bills face as they look to "regionalize" their brand.

Bills' bye-week questions: Defensive line

November, 22, 2013
11/22/13
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The Buffalo Bills are on their bye week, and throughout the week we'll take a look at some of the biggest questions the team will face in the final five games of the season.

Williams
Next on the docket: Can the Bills set a new franchise single-season sacks record?

Boosted by the addition of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and his pressure-based schemes, the Bills have become one of the NFL's best pass-rushing teams.

"Coach Pettine, he wants us to have fun. He wants us just to cut loose and just play the game the way we like to play it," defensive tackle Marcell Dareus said Monday. "We just feed off each other and you make a play, I feel like I make a play. That’s just how we go about our game, and how we practice and go about our day."

The Bills have gotten push from both the interior and exterior of their defensive line, which is among the best in the NFL. Here's a look at some of the play-making contributions of the group:

Mario Williams: 11 sacks, three tackles for a loss, one forced fumble
Kyle Williams: Seven sacks, six tackles for a loss, one forced fumble
Jerry Hughes: Six sacks, two forced fumbles
Dareus: Five sacks, one tackle for a loss, one forced fumble
Alan Branch: Three tackles for a loss

The Bills have been consistently among the league leaders in disrupted drop-back percentage, which measures sacks, passes defended, interceptions, and batted balls per quarterback drop-back. They are currently fourth in the NFL, disrupting 19.7 percent of drop-backs.

The Bills are also tied with the Saints for the most sacks in the NFL, with 37. Buffalo's franchise record is 49 sacks, set in 1995.

Therefore, if the Bills want to surpass the 1995 mark and set a new record, they'll need to record 12.5 sacks over their final five games, or 2.5 sacks per game.

It's hardly a gimme, and if the Bills want to achieve the mark, they'll likely need to get more out of Mario Williams. The team's top pass-rusher has been quiet on the stat sheet recently, notching a total of three tackles and no sacks over the past three games.

Halftime thoughts: Bills 20, Jets 0

November, 17, 2013
11/17/13
2:34
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Offering some halftime thoughts as the Buffalo Bills lead 20-0 against the New York Jets:

1. This one got out of hand quickly. What looked like a low-scoring game -- it was scoreless through the first quarter -- unraveled for the Jets late in the half. Just as the Bills were set to punt on fourth-and-6, the Jets were called for a neutral-zone infraction. The Bills turned the second chance into a touchdown and then extended their lead after Jets quarterback Geno Smith was strip-sacked by Kyle Williams.

2. Williams' strip-sack hasn't been the only time the Bills' pass rush has shown up. Buffalo has sacked Smith three times, and hasn't allowed the Jets' rookie to get in a rhythm. In addition to his strip-sack, Smith threw an interception late in the second quarter.

3. While the wind has remained gusty throughout the afternoon, conditions have been dry to this point: That could change, and if so, the Bills could turn more to their running game as they try to protect their lead in the second half. Something to note: C.J. Spiller has gained just nine yards on nine carries.

4. Also worth noting: The Bills moved offensive coordinator Nate Hackett from the coaches' booth to the sideline for this game. No word on if it's a permanent change, or what exactly prompted the decision.

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