Under the guidance of head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, the Buffalo Bills beat Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday using a gameplan unlike any of the previous 86 created in McDermott’s five-plus seasons as the team’s head coach. They did not blitz at all, keeping at least seven men in coverage on every play for the first time under McDermott.
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The result was a 24-20 win in Kansas City that gives the 5-1 Bills control of the AFC. A matchup of two of the most electric offenses in the league turned into somewhat of a defensive struggle that ended with Bills defensive back Taron Johnson picking off Mahomes in the final minute of the game.
"Taron Johnson with the THEFT!!!"
📺: @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/AFADsHLO0K
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) October 16, 2022
Frazier — who’s spent more than two decades coaching defense in the NFL — acknowledged after the game he doesn’t ever remember using a strategy quite like the one Buffalo deployed to beat Mahomes.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a game where we didn’t pressure at least once,” he said. “So this was unusual. But for this opponent, it was the right thing to do.”
The @buffalobills defense had multiple personalities and was 2-faced vs Mahomes#nfllive pic.twitter.com/Zwg9vHb4hY
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) October 17, 2022
McDermott hired Frazier as his defensive coordinator when he arrived in Buffalo ahead of the 2017 season. The two previously worked together with the Philadelphia Eagles at the beginning of their coaching careers.
Fraizer’s time on that staff was significant. He said during an appearance on the “Faith on the Field” show this past July that he and other members of the Eagles organization would get together for a Bible study every morning during training camp.
“That period of time [in Philadelphia] really helped me to grow my faith, and it helps me to this day,” Frazier said. “So, when I’m in those moments where things that happen I really don’t understand, I turn to my faith in those moments and I pray, and I trust that God is in control and that things are gonna work out.”
Frazier has played an instrumental role in turning the Bills into a perennial Super Bowl contender. His defenses have finished in the top three in yards allowed three of the past four seasons. Last year, the Buffalo allowed the fewest points (17.0 per game) and yards (272.8) in the league. Through six weeks in 2022, they rank first and second, respectively, in those two categories (13.5 points, 281.5 yards).
The 63-year-old knows the demands of the NFL better than most and relies on his faith to help him navigate season after season.
“Just to be able to hear the Lord say, ‘Well done, My good and faithful servant,’ I will be very, very pleased,” Frazier said on “Faith on the Field.” “So, my faith is what gets me through some of those challenging times that we face in our league, some of the ups and downs you face during a season. It’s my faith that gets me through those times.”
The success of Frazier’s defenses in Buffalo has led to calls for him to get a head coaching job in the next hiring cycle at the end of this season. Frazier served as the Minnesota Vikings head coach for 54 regular-season games from 2010-2013, leading the team to the playoffs in 2012.
He has not been a head coach since and finds peace knowing his future is in God’s hands.
“My purpose is to bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ,” Frazier said on “Faith on the Field.” “And so maybe He wants me in Buffalo for this period of time to be an example of who Christ is. And, you know, if it’s not in the plans for me to be a head coach again, that’s OK. As long as I’m filling what my purpose is, if I’m doing that, what God has called me to do, I’ll be fine.”
Buffalo is currently on its bye week and returns to action Oct. 30 when the Green Bay Packers visit Highmark Stadium.
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