Even after the Rams botched a fake-punt attempt and turned over the ball on their 25-yard line with 2:37 remaining, the defense could have saved the day once again.
That is what it has been doing all season:
Except that play never came in the Rams’ 30-19 loss to the Bills at the Coliseum on Sunday. The defense just wasn’t equipped to make it. The defensive line was missing three starters — ends
"I just think we didn't play our best as a defense. I feel like we were missing tackles," Donald said. "Up front I feel like we didn't dominate as we usually do."
Donald, the only regular starter on the line, was joined by defensive tackle
He sees that every week, and he did not use the absence of Quinn, Hayes and Brockers to rationalize the Rams finishing with two sacks or McCoy running all over the field.
"I just have to find ways to beat it, you know? I can't use that as an excuse, I still have to get to the quarterback some way, somehow," Donald said. "... It's been like that every week, so you just have to find a way."
McCoy did most of his damage in the first half, running for 111 yards on just nine attempts.
The Bills rode 148 rushing yard to 16 first-half points, and then didn't score another offensive touchdown until Taylor found Goodwin with 1:04 left in the game. By that time, the Rams' fate was already spelled out.
In two losses this season, the Bills have run for fewer than 100 yards. In their three wins, they have gone for 208, 134 and 193.
The key for the Rams was to stop the run. The absence of three key players made it very hard to do so.
"They're our horses, so it's a big part," Sims said of Quinn, Hayes and Brockers. "They bring a lot to this game, those three being out means a lot to us. We have the next-man-up rule, but losing those three was a big part."