Prior to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game, in my keys for the game to watch for, I made note of the importance of rookie safety Sean Davis going against the Buffalo Bills’ rushing attack and their mobile quarterback. I also made note in that article that there was a strong possibility that this would be a big game for him in terms of being used as a blitzer, and that he could get his first sack against Tyrod Taylor.
He got instead a sack and a half. And made me look smart as a result. Of course, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every so often, and Davis’ presence as a blitzer against the Bills just so happened to be the nut that I was fortunate to stumble upon.
It didn’t take long, either. In fact, Davis combined with Stephon Tuitt to sack Taylor on the Bills’ first play from scrimmage for a four-yard loss to kick off a strong defensive stand that forced Buffalo to a three-and-out right after they had gotten a turnover on an interception in the red zone.
Davis’ second sack—and his lone full sack—was not too far behind, as it came once again on the Bills’ second drive of the game, and still in the first quarter. Buffalo took over from their own 14-yard line after a poor kick return and only worked their way backward from that point on.
There was, in fact, an interception returned for a touchdown in between that was negated by penalty, which gave the Bills a first down on the 16, but after a hold and a run stop for a loss, it was second and 17 from the nine. Davis came in on a blitz and was the first of several defenders to get to Taylor, taking him down at the three.
Later in the game, in the fourth quarter, the rookie safety came in on another blitz, one of two defensive back blitzes on the play. His was the delayed blitz, and he rocked Taylor as he threw with a clean hit. While Taylor was able to complete the pass for an 18-yard gain—and the Bills went on to score on that drive—it showed Davis’ ability to stick and finish, even against a mobile quarterback.
That is certainly a far cry from where he was in his first start against the Browns several weeks ago. He had two shots at Josh McCown, and one he clearly whiffed on. On the second occasion, the running back picked him up late, but he still may have had a shot at at least affecting the throw, if not getting a hit.
Of course, Davis had more assignments over the course of the game aside from blitzing. He was second on the team with seven total tackles, although he also missed a couple. For the most part, however, he has undergone a pretty successful transition into the starting lineup for a defense with playoff aspirations.