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NFL Next Gen Stats Reveal how Bills' A.J. Epenesa was a Terror on Sunday

The second-year defensive end recorded nine of Buffalo's 25 pressures in 35-0 romp over Miami Dolphins.

Beyond the eye test, there's the NFL's Next Gen Stats, which in most cases back up what we see. How many Buffalo Bills' performances were measured in Sunday's 35-0 shutout of the Miami Dolphins served as perfect examples. 

Defensive end A.J. Epenesa, though held without a sack, may have made the biggest impact. He produced a game-best nine of his team's staggering 25 pressures (in 50 attempts) and delivered the clean hit that knocked starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa out of the game in the first quarter.

But it wasn't just Epenesa. The entire pass rush was a force on a day that the quarterback was sacked six times and hit five more.

Thus, the Bills' pass rushers were ranked as the No. 3 most underrated in the league for Week 2.

Here are the pertinent numbers besides those of Epenesa:

Defensive end Greg Rousseau: seven pressures, two sacks.

Linebacker Matt Milano: six pressures, one sack.

For Epenesa, the transformation from a two-gapping defensive end who played at 290 pounds at Iowa to a 260-pound pass rusher in the Bills' 4-3 now seems complete after a full offseason in their program. Epenesa didn't have that coming in as a rookie in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and struggled to get to his proper weight.

"[The offseason] definitely gave me a lot more confidence, a lot more ... juice in the game," he said, "And then have my teammates there as well, you know, gives you the confidence to keep playing, and with having the OTAs and this offseason, you know, that definitely contributes a lot to just having more reps and more experience and getting prepared for the season.

"Our D-line can get after it. I mean, it shows that all the hard work we've been doing is paying off and all the details that we work in practice, I mean, they're going to show up in the game. We worked that inside move and then [Justin Zimmer] coming around, I mean, we worked that and it out and happened to perfection in the game. So we pride ourselves on what we do out here is going to show up on the game field as well."

More encouraging news for Bills Mafia: Next Gen Stats reported running back Devin Singletary reached the fastest speed of his career at 20.29 miles per hour during his 46-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

The run also earned him a rating of +42 Rushing Yards Over Expected (RYOE).

That serves as more proof that his intense offseason program, which rivaled that of Epenesa's, is paying off too.

Nick Fierro is the publisher of Bills Central. Check out the latest Bills news at www.si.com/nfl/bills and follow Fierro on Twitter at @NickFierro. Email to Nicky300@aol.com.