ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Linebacker Preston Brown never realized how porous the Buffalo Bills defense played against New Orleans until being informed the Saints never had to punt.
“At all?” Brown said with a heavy sigh. “That felt like the longest game of my life.”
Brown and the Bills were trampled in a 47-10 loss on Sunday in a game the Saints totaled 298 yards rushing, ran for a franchise-best six touchdowns, had 32 first downs and enjoyed a nearly 23-minute edge in time of possession.
Suddenly, a defense that was hailed for being so opportunistic for forcing 17 takeaways through Buffalo’s first seven games, is now unraveling in having allowed a combined 492 yards rushing and nine touchdowns in its past two, following a 34-21 loss to the New York Jets on Nov. 2.
“It’s two straight games where you get embarrassed,” Brown told The Associated Press. “It has to change or we’ll be five and what, 5-11 if we don’t make a change.”
Brown was referring to the team’s record which dropped to 5-4 following a game in which the Saints scored on eight of nine possessions, not including two meaningless ones at the end of each half.
“I don’t know the last time something like that has happened where it looked like every time they ran the ball: 8 yards. Every time they passed the ball: 15, 20 yards,” he said. “It’s not much to say. We’ve got to get better.”
The Bills couldn’t stop Mark Ingram, who scored a career-high three times and added 131 yards rushing. Alvin Kamara added a 5-yard touchdown run. Drew Brees scampered in from 7 yards. And then Trey Edmunds capped the run of touchdown runs with a 41-yard score with 3:04 left.
Things got so bad that the Saints never passed during a 10-play, 94-yard drive that was capped by Brees’ score.
“It just snowballed into a nightmare,” defensive tackle Kyle Williams said. “Yeah, it’s terrible.”
Buffalo is giving up an average of 396 yards over its past seven games. And two of the past three outings — including a 34-14 win over Oakland — coincide with the Bills trading starting defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander refused to use Dareus’ absence as an excuse.
“We got whooped physically,” he said. “Guys are disappointed, frustrated, but at the same time, you can’t let that affect you.”
The only bright spot came when linebacker Ramon Humber forced tight end Josh Hill to lose a fumble at the Bills 9 to end the Saints’ second possession.
The offense wasn’t much help.
After Stephen Hauschka capped a nine-play, 57-yard opening drive with a 37-yard field goal, the Bills never crossed midfield over their next eight possessions.
The Bills managed 198 yards, and 10 first downs. And five of those first downs came on Buffalo’s meaningless final drive that ended with rookie backup quarterback Nathan Peterman hitting Nick O’Leary on a 7-yard touchdown pass.
“Horrible game,” said starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. “Our offense didn’t get anything going, and that starts with me.”
Taylor finished 9 of 18 for 56 yards passing and an interception. Kelvin Benjamin had three catches for a team-best 42 yards in his first game since being acquired by Buffalo in a trade with Carolina on Oct. 31.
“Everybody felt it,” Benjamin said. “5-4 is not bad as a record. We control our own destiny.”