Nice post, OP. We've seen good defense during the stretch of mediocrity, and while it's still early, I don't think we've seen a defense like this.
The Pats game really stood out to me. We've seen the movie a million times before in years past, the defense plays heroically for the most part all game and by the last third of the fourth quarter, the big runs by the opponent start. It's obvious our defense is gassed and they can't keep up anymore.
It didn't happen this year. The defense shut down the Pats again, got the ball back for the offense, and we just couldn't close the deal. But the defense came through and stayed strong until the end.
Watching the end of yesterday's game, it felt like there were a couple blips leading to big plays and a touchdown, but the defense was so stout all game. There was no surprise when the D shut the door on TEN yet again.
Gunner made a good point about turnovers; we haven't even had a bunch. We're just playing strong defense throughout the game, and adjusting where necessary. Barring another nightmare Bills collapse, we're witnessing something new (a truly elite/dominant defense) and it can actually get better (we start getting more turnovers).
This kind of recipe (shutdown defense with a ball control offense and reliable special teams) is still very tightrope, with little room for error. Some years, you get none of the breaks and finish 7-9/6-10 despite having a historical defense. But other years, the schedule/sequence of league injuries COMPLETELY goes your way, and out of nowhere a team goes 13-3. This could be that year for them. Not saying it will happen but heading into the bye, I'm loving my Bills.