Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


Breaking down the Buffalo Bills dominating win over the Miami Dolphins

The Buffalo Bills put together their most complete performance of the season so far, in dismantling the Miami Dolphins with surprising ease. And I don’t care what anyone says, they didn’t see this coming.

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There were obviously some concerns coming into this game, after being shown up in the previous week’s clash with the New England Patriots. (The contest was not as close as the 40-32 scoreline suggests.) It didn’t help, that the Dolphins were preparing for their first home game of the 2015 campaign.

In the end though, none of it mattered, as the Bills dominated from start to finish. Let’s look at the good, the bad and the ugly from their 41-14 win at Sun Life Stadium:

Top Performers

1) Tyrod Taylor

Tyrod Taylor had his ups and downs during the first two weeks of the season. Sunday represented his best performance yet.

The Bills main man started off on fire, leading the offense on two consecutive long scoring drives to start the game. At that point, Taylor had a 158.3 quarterback rating, the highest a player can get.

The 26-year old finally calmed down, ending up with a rating of “only” 136.7, as he threw for 277 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. Interestingly, he only needed to run on three occasions, which gives some idea of how in control the Bills offense was against Ndamukong Suh and his teammates.

2) Karlos Williams

With LeSean McCoy still compromised by his hamstring issues, the Bills needed other players to step in and help with the ground attack. Enter Karlos Williams.

The coaching staff have been raving about the rookie running back, ever since he first arrived at training camp. And with every passing week, it becomes more clear why.

Sunday represented William’s first 100 game in the pros, as he continued to perform his poor-man’s Eric Dickerson act. If he can continue to play like this, he won’t be a poor-man’s anything for much longer.

3) Preston Brown

Preston Brown had the best day yet in his young professional career. In fact, it arguably doubled as the best individual performance so far this season, by any Bills defender.

Sep 27, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Preston Brown (52) runs to score with this interception as Miami Dolphins guard Jamil Douglas (75) chases in the 2nd quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports

The linebacker finished with seven tackles, including one for a loss. He also had two pass defenses.

Most impressive of all though, were two interceptions. This included one which Brown returned 43-yards for a touchdown, to effectively put the game away just before halftime.

Tough day at the office

1) LeSean McCoy

It now appears McCoy’s effort against the New England Patriots was a tad premature in terms of him finally being over his hamstring issues. His performance on Sunday showed he still has some way to go.

McCoy did manage a touchdown reception, but it was his output in the ground game, which leaves cause for concern. He finished with just 16 yards on 11 carries.

While it is understandable that the 2013 NFL rushing leading is an integral part of the offense, maybe he needs to be given a week or two off, to (hopefully) fully recover. In this respect, at least Williams has shown he appears capable of picking up the workload, although I wish Fred Jackson was still around. (Yes, that’s right, I’m still harping on about that!)

2) John Miller

The Bills rookie offensive lineman left early in this one. He suffered a groin injury and did not return.

In fact, this section should really just relate to the injuries in general, because almost every other aspect of the game went well for the team. In other words, hardly anyone had a bad outing.

However, I would ask Bacarri Rambo to play a bit smarter moving forward. I appreciate that football is an instinctive game, but the Bills have enough problems with suffering injuries caused by the opposition, never mind by your own players!

3) The Miami Dolphins

In theory, this section is meant to concentrate on the Bills. However, the Dolphins are still worthy of a mention.

Maybe we should have seen the signs, after struggling against the Washington Redskins and losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, no one expected the team to be this poor.

What is most concerning for the team, is the lack of passion and motivation in their play. Miami head coach Joe Philbin definitely has his work cut out in getting his team back on track, and I don’t envy him.

Play of the day

It has to be Charles Clay‘s 25-yard touchdown reception, to open the scoring. The truth of the matter is, he did most of the work, juking to allude several defenders, after taking a short pass from Taylor. (NFL’s YouTube channel have disabled the embed option, so you’ll have to click here, to see it again.)

The tight end was pumped up for this game against his former team. And he made them pay, going on to snag five passes, for a team-high 82 yards, including his touchdown catch.

The concerns about Clay’s knees may never go away. However, at this point, he has already become a key weapon for Buffalo to utilize in the passing attack.

Turning point of the game

Down 14-0, after being dominated in the early going, the Dolphins found themselves starting at the Bills 38-yard line. If Miami were ever going to get back into the game, this was the time to do it.

Alas, things didn’t work out as planned. On the very first play of the drive, Ryan Tannehill saw his short pass out to the right intercepted by Preston Brown.

Buffalo then proceeded to drive down the field, before Dan Carpenter nailed a 26-yard field. At 17-0, they never looked back again.

What we learned

1) The Dolphins aren’t as good as we thought they were heading into this season. Seen as the main obstacle to the number two spot in the AFC East, the path is now clear for the Bills to claim it and, more importantly, put themselves in a great position to qualify as a wild card team.

2) The Bills rookies are pretty damn good. We’ve already mentioned Williams, but Ronald Darby also deserves a shout out. The rookie cornerback continues to grow with every passing week, this time leading the defense with four pass defenses (along with an interception).

3) This team has mental fortitude. It was important to bounce back from the nightmare against the Patriots, and they did it in style. Rex Ryan even suggested the recover actually started during the fourth quarter versus New England, and he may well be right.

What needs to be answered

1) The Bills defense now appears to be back on track, but can it continue to perform well next week, when Eli Manning and the New York Giants come to Western New York?

2) How serious is Sammy Watkins‘ calf injury? As well as Percy Harvin has played, he needs Watkins lining up opposite him, to continue producing.

3) Should the Bills sit McCoy for a game or two, and allow him to fully recover from his hamstring injury? And if so, can Williams continue to pick up the slack?

Quote of the day

“This kid is legit. We know he is legit. When the protection holds up, he can burn you.”

Bills head coach Rex Ryan, talking about Taylor after the game.

Next: Predicting the result of every Bills game in 2015

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