Article originally published at BostonHerald.com.
Rob Ninkovich walked into Ralph Wilson Stadium yesterday with one sack this season.
By the time he left, the Patriots defensive end had four.
Ninkovich’s three sacks led a Pats defense that brought down Buffalo Bills quarterback Kyle Orton a total of five times in a 37-22 victory to move alone into first place in the AFC East.
“I think that different games, there are different ways to play,” Ninkovich said. “In this game, the quarterback really doesn’t move too much, so I was able to pin the ears back a little bit more and get after him.”
Ninkovich finished with six total tackles, including four for loss, and four hits on Orton.
“Orton in the pocket is different than somebody that’s a scrambler,” Ninkovich said. “With a guy that’s going to be more stationary, you have more of an opportunity to work the edges more, work counters more, and you know that he’s not really going to go anywhere.
“We did a good job executing and understanding that if we got him off the spot and got some pressure on him that he was going to try and get rid of the ball quickly. He was obviously trying to get the ball downfield, so coverage did a good job and I was able to get to him a few times.”
Ninkovich’s sacks were all timely. Each one came on third down — one each in the second, third and fourth quarters.
As he was being interviewed at his locker after the game, fellow defensive end Chandler Jones stuck his head in front of the camera and yelled “three sacks!”
“He taught me some moves this week,” Ninkovich said of Jones, who had a sack of his own. “I was able to work those things.”
Not only did Ninkovich harass Orton all day, he also contributed to a run defense that held Bills backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson to just 45 combined yards and Buffalo as a team to 68 yards on 23 carries (3.0 average).
“The edge is pretty critical there, especially when you’ve got a guy like Spiller that can get out there and run,” Ninkovich said. “I think we contained him well. I think they tried to change their running scheme a little bit to more inside stuff after they realized me and Chandler were going to be firm on the edge and not let them get out there.”
Even before finishing getting dressed, Ninkovich already had started thinking about Thursday night’s home game against the New York Jets.
“I’m going to sleep in the (ice) tub tonight,” he said jokingly. “We’ve just got to continue to push forward here and look forward to a Thursday night game, because it’s going to come quick.”