Bills rookie Dareus' presence felt on defense

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Marcell Dareus' body is sore, yet his confidence remains unshaken with his rookie NFL season coming to a close.

Though Dareus fell short of his preseason objective to turn the Bills into immediate contenders, the rookie first-round pick out of Alabama believes a bright future isn't far off for a team that will miss the playoffs for a 12th straight season.

Dareus has done his part in shouldering much of the load on a young and injury-riddled unit. He leads the Bills with 5 1/2 sacks. And he's played a key role in helping the defense improve against the run a year after it allowed a league-worst average 170 yards a game.

Dareus and the Bills (6-9) prepare to close their season at New England on Sunday.