The Miami Dolphins faced their toughest test yet this season on Sunday going up against the Super Bowl favorites, the Buffalo Bills. How did Miami pull off the improbable to remain the only unbeaten team in the AFC?
The doubters, the naysayers, and mostly Buffalo Bill fans all said it would take a miracle for the Miami Dolphins to win this week, even though they were playing on their own turf. Vegas went so far as raising the odds to BUF minus six, showing that they too had little faith the fins could keep it a close game. Yet, the Miami Dolphins were winners yesterday. It wasn’t fourth-quarter heroics by the offense that paved the way to victory this week. It was a stout top-ten caliber defense that held one of the league’s most high-powered offenses to just 17 points.
Just like I predicted in the bold takes write-up on Saturday. I’m unsure of what it will take for the sports media to take the Miami Dolphins seriously as a threat in the league, but I think yesterday was the biggest step yet in doing that. Before the game Kyle Brandt, who has been one of Miami’s more vocal supporters after moves they made this off-season, predicted the Dolphins to lose and said their “Nice little story in Miami is over this week.”
And yet the story continues. Let’s dive into a recap of how Miami showed they can depend on either side of the ball to win football games.
Dolphins Defense Holds
If I told you Sunday morning before kickoff that Josh Allen threw for 400 yards, two touchdowns, and the Buffalo Bills possessed the ball for almost forty-one minutes of the football game, you’d probably be thinking “How bad did the Dolphins get beat?!” The problem for Buffalo is those two touchdowns were the only ones accounted for on the day.
If you look at the team stats you would think Buffalo had their way on the ground having rushed for 115 yards on the day. If you watched the game, however, you know that almost half of that came on Zack Moss’ 43-yard run that resulted in a missed field goal by Bills kicker Tyler Bass. Other than that run, and a 19-yard scamper by Josh Allen, the Miami Dolphins’ front seven got the job done containing the Bills on the ground.
Another part of the bold take I made Saturday was “Jevon Holland and Brandon Jones are going to be dangerous in the secondary and show everyone that they are the best safety duo in the NFL, even when the Bills have a fully healthy roster.” Take a gander at how that panned out on Sunday:
The Miami defense spent most of the day on the field, but held in crunch time and made huge pass breakups (though multiple should have been intercepted) when it really mattered. Buffalo fans are still complaining about their injuries this morning, some are even blaming the Miami Dolphins for making the Bills play football in the sun. The Dolphin’s defense however only gets better when defensive starters like Byron Jones and Raekwon Davis return in the next two weeks.
Defensive Standouts– Melvin Ingram 2 Sacks, Jevon Holland 1.5 sacks + Force Fumble
Dolphins Offense Does Enough
The Miami Dolphins offense was firing on all cylinders in the fourth quarter of last week’s victory over Baltimore. That quarter alone left fans wanting more over the past week and apparently, it was impressive enough for the Bills to gameplan around it. Josh Allen threw 63 (SIXTY-THREE!) passes yesterday and most of that was in the dink and dunk game. They held onto the ball for nearly 41 of the 60 minutes in the game, and only managed 17 points. By the end of the game, they had offensive starters down on the field with heat exhaustion.
Tua took a late hit from Bill linebacker Matt Milano late in the second quarter and went into concussion protocol. It ended up being released that it was actually a back injury, and Tua came out and started the second half for the Fins.
While it sounds great to tire out the defense, I think someone should have taken into consideration that the Dolphins live and train in the weather, and Buffalo’s offensive starters do not. Keeping the ball out of Tua’s hot hand, and away from Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill is a heck of gameplan if you plan on scoring more than 17 points.
The Offense did have consecutive three and outs in to start the second half, and that won’t suffice going down the stretch. They need to seize those opportunities and put points on the board when the opposing team isn’t making the most of their possessions.
Offensive Standouts: Terron Armstead for putting Von Miller in a box, Jaylen Waddle for 4 Rec + 102 yards, and this beautiful post route on third and 22:
The Miami Dolphins “upset” the Buffalo Bills, though Fin fans everywhere had every reason to believe they would win this game. Fins win, 21-19.