Patriots

AFC EAST: Bills stymie Broncos in 26-16 win

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AFC EAST: Bills stymie Broncos in 26-16 win

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Tyrod Taylor threw two touchdowns and the Bills intercepted Trevor Siemian twice in the final 19 minutes of Buffalo's 26-16 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Taylor went 20 of 26 for 213 yards with a 2-yard touchdown to Andre Holmes and a 6-yarder to Charles Clay. Taylor got lucky on the touchdown pass to Holmes, as his pass deflected off the hands of Zay Jones just inside the goal line and bounced directly to Holmes in the back of the end zone.

The Bills (2-1) overcame their struggling running attack courtesy of Taylor's arm and a stout defense in a game LeSean McCoy was limited to 21 yards on 14 carries. Though he had seven catches for 48 yards, McCoy's latest poor outing came after he was limited to 9 yards rushing in a 9-3 loss at Carolina.

The Bills allowed just one touchdown, while Brandon McManus rounded out Denver's scoring with three field goals.

Rather than point fingers at the Taylor-led offense following the loss to Carolina, Bills defenders blamed themselves for failing to generate any turnovers. They made up for that against the Broncos on an unseasonably hot afternoon, with temperatures projected to reach the upper 80s, making the on-field conditions even warmer.

In falling to 2-1, the Broncos turned the ball over on each of their final four possessions, with Siemian being intercepted by E.J. Gaines and Tre'Davious White.

The Broncos also turned the ball over twice on downs.

Deon Lacey tackled De'Angelo Henderson for a 1-yard gain when Denver attempted a fake punt on fourth-and-2 at its own 31 early in the fourth quarter. And the Broncos' final drive ended when Siemian underthrew a pass to Emmanuel Sanders with under 2 minutes left.

Buffalo went ahead 20-16 on Taylor's 6-yard pass to Clay with 6:20 left in the third quarter, and then put the game out of reach on a pair of field goals by Stephen Hauschka.

Hauschka hit a 53-yarder after the Broncos were foiled on their fake punt. Hauschka also hit a 55-yarder in becoming Buffalo's first player to make two field goals 53 yards or longer in the same game.

Hauschka then sealed the win with a 37-yard field goal with 3:14 left on a drive following White's interception .

Von Miller didn't help the Broncos' cause on that drive. Though he had a sack and was in on six tackles, the star linebacker took a foolish penalty with 6 minutes left.

Offering his hand as if to help up Taylor, Miller then pulled it away at the last second right in front of an official, who flagged Miller 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

It was a disappointing performance for Siemian, who entered the game tied for the league lead with six touchdowns passing. Instead, he finished hitting 24 of 40 for 259 and two interceptions. Jamaal Charles scored Denver's lone touchdown on a 12-yard run five minutes into the second quarter.

Julio Jones presents Johnson Bademosi opportunity to prove he's not niche player

Julio Jones presents Johnson Bademosi opportunity to prove he's not niche player

None of us thought Johnson Bademosi would be starting this past Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Jets because -- well -- that’s not what we perceive the 27-year-old to be. He’s a special teamer. It’s how he’s made his mark in the NFL dating back to 2012 with Cleveland. So why would that change in mid-October for a team he’s only been with for six weeks? Because Bademosi is -- and has always been -- intent on proving he’s more than a niche player.

“I see myself as a football player,” he said, “and whatever position they put me in, I’m going to try to be the best because that’s how I operate and who I am as a person. Whether that’s as a cornerback, on special teams, if they ask me to play wildcat quarterback. Whatever…”

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Bill Belichick and his staff asked for Bademosi to go on the field and not come off. He played 73 defensive snaps in addition to his usual core four special teams duties. 

“I felt like I played a whole game,” Bademosi joked, before saying, “I love playing football so I’m going to go out there and empty myself.”

He did just that, getting targeted only two times in the 24-17 win over the Jets. It was hoped that Bademosi would return to his normal specialist role, but with Stephon Gilmore still out with a concussion, it now seems more and more likely that the sixth year pro will have to be an ironman again Sunday night in primetime against the Falcons. Historically, the Pats have defended bigger receivers. That means Bademosi may be responsible for one of the most dangerous players in the league, Julio Jones.

“He’s an amazing player," he said. “We all know what he’s capable of. As a defense, we have to be prepared for him.”

The Pats were on Super Bowl Sunday and Jones still made a couple of ridiculous plays with either Logan Ryan or Eric Rowe in coverage with safety help over the top.

“He’s fast. He’s physical. He can jump. He can run. He’s smart. He’s everything you want in a wide receiver,” said Bademosi without blinking an eye. That’s the kind of confidence you want from a player at that position and facing this type of challenge. 

“You gotta believe in yourself,” he said “ I’m confident in my abilities. I work hard and trust my preparation.”

Being an elite athlete certainly helps. Bademosi was a scholarship football player at Stanford -- “some guy named Jim Harbaugh called” -- before ending up in the NFL. But it’s Bademosi’s willingness to go all in in the film room that impressed safety Devin McCourty. 

“…I think, honestly, the most work he did was probably with just himself jumping into the film, watching more stuff to exactly see,” said McCourty Thursday. “You know, when you’re a backup more, you’re kind of trying to see everything because you don’t know what role you might be thrust upon once you’re in the game. But, I think once he knew he was starting, it was kind of like, ‘Alright, let me focus in on this.’ I thought he did an awesome job of just being ready and competing.”

Bademosi will have to compete his ass off Sunday night, even against what has been to this point a physically compromised Jones. Based on what he did several days ago, there’s no reason to believe the Pats cornerback won’t bring everything he has, trying to prove again that he’s more than just a special teams whiz.

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