Bills Thunder

Byrdís picks help Bills down Panthers

During the Buffalo Bills first glory years, in the mid 60s, there was a cornerback with the last name of Byrd. Butch Byrd was one of the greatest corners in their history. Now there's another Byrd roaming the secondary, and doing a great job picking off passes.

Jairus Byrd had two picks against the Carolina Panthers, both wich set up touchdowns. Byrd now has 4 picks in the past two games. The Bills beat the Panthers 20-9 to the delight of the many transplanted Bills fans in attendance in Carolina.

The rookie Byrd has a lot of ground and picks to make up if he wants to catch Butch. The elder Byrd holds the Bills' career records for interceptions (40), interception return yards (666) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (5). With that said, Jairus is getting off to a great start with 5 in his last 3 games!

The Bills have not had a pickoff ace in several decades. Not even in the 4 Super Bowl teams era was there one. The last one the Bills had who could be considered as a interception kind was Butch Byrd. Now the Bills have another Byrd of a feather. Bills Rookie safety Jairus Byrd is now 2nd in the NFL with 5 pickoffs, and he has gotten all of them in his last 3 games.

It was Byrd's picks that set up the Bills only two touchdowns and if he keeps this up, he could be the answer the Bills have desperately needed in their secondary for years.

"The second one he ran a dig route," described Byrd about his second interception. "I saw it coming. We've been practicing it all week, and I just stayed back on it and made sure there weren't any double moves. It hit his hand, bounced off and I caught it."

The Bills defense gave up tons of yardage, but they were able to tighten up and shutdown the Panthers when it mattered the most, in the red zone.

Ryan Fitzpatrick started the game slow in his first start at quarterback for the Bills, but improved in the second half. His quick release pass to Lee Evans from 2 yards out surprised not only the Panthers, but the commentators doing the broadcast for CBS (one being former Bill Steve Tasker).

"I'm going to throw it at you as hard as I can Lee, so you'd better catch it,' " Fitzpatrick warned Evans before the play. "It was closing fast, that window, so I gave it all I had behind that throw, and Lee made a great catch."

Fitzpatrick, replacing the concussed Trent Edwards, threw for 153 yards, going 11 of 22 and the one TD. Marshawn Lynch scored the other Bills TD, after the first Bryd interception.

Offense still struggling

The Bills offense was once again inept. They couldn't make any long drives so the defense had to step in and get them into position where they could score. The Bills had 3 picks, two by a rookie named Byrd, each of Byrd picks put the Bills in the red zone, and they capitalized.

Carolina completely dominated the clock and the yardage, outgaining the Bills 425 to 167. But when the Panthers got close, the Bills D fought and clawed their way into preventing the Panthers from finishing off the drives with TDs. The defense definitely won Buffalo this game and now the Bills are 3-4 with 2 or 3 more weak teams on their schedule. Buffalo will still have a hard time making .500, but the signs are there for another 7-9 finish. Next week the Bills get a tougher test when the Houston Texans come to town.

Copyright © 2009 Bills Thunder & Rick Anderson, all rights reserved.


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