After a four-sack performance in the season opener against the New York Jets, the Buffalo Bills' defense had just two sacks in three weeks heading into their matchup with the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The defensive line and blitz packages were able to pressure opposing quarterbacks, but the defense was thriving more in other areas.
Led by defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, the flood gates opened on Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was sacked five times on Sunday. Phillips provided a much-needed spark up the middle of the trench battle, finishing the day with three sacks.
The 27-year-old interior lineman leads the team with four sacks on the season, which is a career-high for the veteran.
"We have a great secondary and a great defensive line," Phillips said following Sunday's win. "We all work together and I was the one that was able to get the sacks."
While the sixth-year defensive tackle was able to hit home more than any defender, for Phillips and the defense, the result is the only thing that matters.
"It's a team effort," Phillips said. "We don't care who gets it, the sacks, the tackles, as long as they get down and we get the win it doesn't matter."
Phillips has stepped into a key role after the season-ending injury to defensive tackle Harrison Phillips earlier in the season. His pass-rushing skills are crucial in removing a quarterback's ability to move up through levels of the pocket.
"If you go back and look at my film I always have a good get off," Phillips said. "That is what I use to my advantage, I'm a big guy that can get off the ball and it gives people problems."
Along with Phillips, defensive end Darryl Johnson and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander also got in on the action, finishing with one sack a piece.
With the continued tight coverage in the secondary, a surge up front made things even more difficult for Mariota and the Titans, who finished with just 183 yards through the air.
If the pass-rush can string together performances like the one Sunday, a top defensive unit in the NFL could get even better.