Buffalo Bills: What to make of the defensive line after three games

Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
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Miami Dolphins Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1), on the ground after being hit by Buffalo Bills defensive end A.J. Epenesa (57), during first quarter action against Buffalo Bills during NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday in Miami Gardens.Dolphins V Bills 22 /

Biggest difference for the Buffalo Bills through three games

The Buffalo Bills’ defensive line has been fantastic so far this year and that comes from the two main changes from last season. The addition of lengthy defensive end Greg Rousseau who has been very good so far for Buffalo and the offseason development from A.J. Epenesa. Both Epenesa and Rousseau have changed Buffalo’s ability to rush the passer from a weakness to an asset. One of the most underrated things that both players bring is depth.

The depth that Buffalo has now rushing the passer has to be some of the best in the NFL. While the Bills do not have a superstar sack artist on their roster they may have some of the most talented 3rd and 4th defensive ends in the league with A.J. Epenesa and Mario Addison who currently trail Jerry Hughes and Greg Rousseau in snaps.

At defensive tackle not much has changed outside of the return of Star Lotulelei. In the two games Lotulelei has played this season the Bills have allowed only 74.5 rushing yards per game. That is a huge change from the 119.6 yards they gave up last season without the nose tackle Lotulelei.

The Buffalo Bills’ defensive line has not only improved against the pass but has been elite against the run this season. The additions made in the offseason have given Buffalo the ability to always have a fresh set of linemen on the field without having a significant talent drop-off.

Here are some stats that show just how much better the Buffalo Bills Defensive Line got.

2020 (League Ranking followed by actual stat)

  • Rushing Yards Allowed per Attempt: 25th (4.6 yards)
  • Sacks: 23rd (38 sacks)
  • Pressures: 18th (143 pressures)
  • Hurries: 23rd (50 hurries)
  • QB Knockdowns: 14th (55 knockdowns)
  • Leader in Sacks: Mario Addison/AJ Klein (5 sacks)
  • Leader in Pressures: Jerry Hughes (25 pressures)

2021 (through three weeks)

  • Rushing Yards Allowed per Attempt: 5th (3.4 yards)
  • Sacks: 7th (9 sacks, on pace for 51, *3rd in 2020)
  • Pressures: 2nd (40 pressures, on pace for 227, *1st in 2020)
  • Hurries: 2nd (20 hurries, on pace for 113, *1st in 2020)
  • QB Knockdowns: 10th (11, on pace for 62, *8th in 2020)
  • Leader in Sacks: Gregory Rousseau (2 sacks, on pace for 11.3 sacks)
  • Leader in Pressures: Greg Rousseau/AJ Epenesa (6 pressures, on pace for 34 pressures)

*All stats via pro-football-reference.com