Bills Need To Shore Up Run Defense As Chargers Activate Starting Running Back

Austin Ekeler

Getty Austin Ekeler

The Buffalo Bills have one of the worst rushing defenses in the league this year.

Heading into Week 12, they’ve allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game (135) and have given up the fifth-most rushing yards (1,350) to opposing running backs.

It’s been a problem for the Bills throughout this season. They’ve allowed opponents to rush for over 100 yards five times this season and both the Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs ran for over 200 yards in their respective matchups.

The Los Angeles Chargers might make it that much harder for the Bills after activating starting running back Austin Ekeler off the injured reserve list Saturday night.

Ekeler hasn’t played since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 4, but when he’s in the lineup he’s been dangerous for the Chargers.

In the four games Ekeler has played in this season, he’s caught all 17 of the passes thrown to him for 144 yards and he’s also rushed for 248 yards and a touchdown on 49 carries.

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Austin Ekeler Has Been Teasing His Return

Although it’s unclear whether or not Ekeler will play, or how much he will play if he does, the former undrafted rookie free agent out of Western State has been teasing at his return all week long.

On Monday, Ekeler posted a workout video to his Twitter page of him squatting and it appeared that his hamstring was holding strong.

During a Twitch stream on Thanksgiving Eve, Ekeler also said that he was “trying to make his hamstring hurt” to see how much it could hold during practice.

“I was pushing myself as hard as I could last week, I was trying to make this thing hurt,” Ekeler said during his stream. “I said let’s see how much this thing has healed because it’s healed a bunch and I was out there literally trying. I was like okay let’s see if my hamstring can handle this. I was doing full sprints, I was running as fast as I can, I was cutting and it didn’t have any pain. So, I’m like alright, let’s play.”

Although he’s missed Los Angeles’ last six games, Ekeler is still second on the team in rushing yards behind rookie running back Joshua Kelley, who has a team-high 311 yards and one touchdown on 102 carries.


What The Bills Defense Needs To Do On Sunday

The Bills defense has been trying to establish its identity throughout the 2020 season. In the past few years, it has been simple for them as they were one of the top defenses in the league. But, they haven’t even been close to their former self through 10 games.

They have shown glimpses of hope though. In the second half against the New York Jets, they only allowed four net yards.

While the defense has allowed a lot of yards this season – they currently allow 373.3 yards per game – they have shown at times to be able to step up at the right time. Their defense has been predicated on causing turnovers and getting to the quarterback. They’ve picked off seven passes this year and recorded 27 sacks.

So, when the Bills defense takes the field at Bills Stadium on Sunday, look for them to wreak havoc. They need to get to Herbert and make him feel uncomfortable while also disguising their looks to make him confused and safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are two of the best in the league at doing so.

Getting pressure and causing turnovers will allow the offense to build a lead against a team with a 3-7 record that doesn’t paint the whole picture.

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