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A.J. Epenesa: Sean McDermott challenged us this week

The Bills had a short week after losing to the Jets in the first Monday night game of the season, but the nature of the loss made it feel like a long one before they got on the field against the Raiders on Sunday.

When the Raiders cruised to a touchdown to open the game, it felt like it might be a long day as well. That changed when edge rusher Greg Rousseau batted a Jimmy Garoppolo pass in the air and linebacker Terrel Bernard intercepted it to end the second Raiders drive.

The Bills would outscore the Raiders 38-3 the rest of the way and Las Vegas managed just 151 more yards of offense the rest of the way. Edge rusher A.J. Epenesa said the unit was responding to a challenge laid down by head coach Sean McDermott, who is also serving as the defensive play caller this year.

“That’s as best as you can draw it up,” Epenesa said, via Matthew Fairburn of “This whole week we knew what we were about. Coach McDermott challenged us and said it’s a man-whooping-man day, we’re a man-whooping-man defense. That’s what we came out today to do. I feel like we did that.”

The Bills matched the defense’s effort with a more-balanced offensive attack that avoided the turnovers that ruined their hopes of beating the Jets in Week One. They’ll now turn their attention to making sure the change of fortunes proves to be a lasting one.