The Bills placed Von Miller on injured reserve before Thursday night’s game against the Patriots and their defense’s first outing without Miller went just fine.
Patriots defensive back Marcus Jones moonlighted on offense and took a quick pass 48 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, but the team only picked up 194 yards over the rest of the evening and their performance left Patriots quarterback Mac Jones screaming into the abyss before the night was over. They only recorded one sack, but the defensive line produced four quarterback hits and three tackles for loss despite Miller’s absence.
Safety Jordan Poyer said defensive end Greg Rousseau “really stepped up” in his return from an ankle injury and linebacker Matt Milano also credited the return of defensive end A.J. Epenesa with helping to spark the defense to great heights.
“We had a good week of practice, and we came out flying around,” Milano said, via the team’s website. “The defensive line held it down and was controlling the line of scrimmage. Greg played well, A.J. stepped up and made some big-time plays. It was a super performance. The defensive line went crazy and when they do that it helps everyone out. The rush and coverage working together.”
The Bills will have at least three more games without Miller before he returns from his knee injury and that prospect should feel less daunting after Thursday night.