Facing the team that is tops in the league in sacks and interceptions is the kind of thing that can make for a long day and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan hopes one of the toughest stretches of his career ends positively Sunday against that Buffalo Bills defense.
Ryan said hearing an opponent is a league leader in sacks and picks makes for unpleasant news for a QB, but he anticipates the Falcons will be ready. The Bills’ have 37 sacks in the league to go along with 16 interceptions, led by rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso’s four on the season. Defensive end Mario Williams leads the Bills with 11 sacks, but the Bills are seeing production from all over the field with seven players registering at least two sacks this year.
Williams isn’t a secret around the league and the free-agent prize of the 2012 offseason has lived up to expectations. Alonso has come out of nowhere this season to emerge as one of the team’s leaders on defense, adding 112 tackles and two sacks to his four picks. Ryan said Alonso, a second-round pick in this year’s draft, in the middle of that Bills defense is a dangerous player.
“When you turn on the film, (it’s) an extremely aggressive front seven, really good defensive linemen,” Ryan said. “Kiko Alonso, their middle linebacker, is playing really, really well. He flies around, makes a lot of plays. It’s going to be a tough challenge for us.”
After missing the first five games of the season, the Bills have gotten strong play from their two-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd. Byrd has three interceptions in six games this season and his 21 interceptions since entering the league in 2009 is second in the NFL.