ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Whatever concerns there were about the Buffalo Bills completely retooled secondary have yet to materialize on the field.
Three games into the season, the position group of newcomers — including rookie Tre’Davious White — stands second to none. They’ve yet to surrender a 260-yard passing outing or a touchdown passing following a two-interception performance in a 26-16 win over the Denver Broncos (2-1).
Safety Micah Hyde believes they can be even better.
“We made some mistakes today,” said Hyde, a fifth-year player who was the Bills’ prized free-agent offseason addition. “We gave up some big plays but at the same time, we will correct those and bounce back next week.”
Whatever miscues there were, it didn’t affect the outcome in putting a blanket over a Trevor Siemian-led passing attack that features Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas.
Siemian finished 24 of 40 for 259 yards passing, and closed two of Denver’s final four possessions with interceptions.
Even the Broncos’ plan to test White by targeting receivers he was covering backfired in the end. Down 23-16 and facing first-and-10 at Buffalo’s 24, Siemian was under pressure when he threw a wobbling pass off his back foot intended for Bennie Fowler, which was easily picked off by White.
“I wouldn’t say they were picking on me,” said White, Buffalo’s first round pick out of LSU. “Every pass, I was pretty much there. I tried to have a good day.”
E.J. Gaines, acquired in a trade that sent star receiver Sammy Watkins to the Rams last month, had Buffalo’s other interception.
The Bills’ defense as a whole is playing better under new coach Sean McDermott, who took over after Rex Ryan was fired in the final week of last season. One of Ryan’s downfalls was an under-performing defense that finished 19th in the NFL in yards allowed in each of his two seasons.
Buffalo (2-1) has allowed just two touchdowns rushing, including Jamaal Charles’ 12-yard score on Sunday.
Siemian complained of feeling out of synch, with Buffalo doing a good job of re-routing Denver’s receivers.
“It felt like every pick got blocked today trying to get to the line,” Siemian said. “We just never really got it.”
Some things to know from the Bills’ win over the Broncos:
FOUR-AND-OUT: The Bills also stopped the Broncos twice on fourth down.
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. It didn’t help that miscommunication led to Broncos cornerback Lorenzo Doss scrambling on the field at the last moment.
“We had a late sub on the field so we kind of gave them time to adjust,” coach Vance Joseph said. “It didn’t work, but in my opinion, it was the perfect timing.”
Denver’s final drive ended when Siemian underthrew a pass to Sanders with 1:47 remaining.
BRONCOS RAVE ABOUT TAYLOR: Taylor left a lasting impression on the Broncos after going 20 of 26 for 213 yards, while adding 13 yards rushing. On a 2-yard gain, Taylor twirled out of three tackles before finally being hauled down.
“He’s definitely one of the hardest quarterbacks to take down,” Miller said. “He’s a great quarterback; he plays at a level that lifts his teammates.”
FIELD-GOAL FEST: Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw two touchdowns, with the rest of the scoring coming from the kickers.
Stephen Hauschka hit all four attempts including 53- and 55-yarders to become Buffalo’s first player to hit two from 53 yards or longer in the same game.
Denver’s Brandon McManus was 3 for 3, with his longest from 38 yards out.
ANTHEM PROTEST: Bills linebacker and team captain Lorenzo Alexander was one of a handful of Buffalo players who knelt during the national anthem. He was directly protesting comments made by President Donald Trump on Friday in suggesting NFL owners fire players who protest the anthem.
“He’s our leader and that’s not what you want to see out of the president’s office. I always respect our authority, but at the same time, our authority needs to earn our respect,” Alexander said. “Hopefully, he has an awakening, which I don’t know is going to happen. But he needs to control his rhetoric a little bit better, I think.”